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Tech Dad: Family Assistant of the Future

Google's voice activated assistant for the home.

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The future has always promised a voice activated assistant that responds to our every question and demand. Well, that future is here and it may just be the next great tool for the busy family. It’s called Google Home.

The Home unit, about the size of a family can of SpaghettiOs, looks sleek and the gray base comes in a variety of colors to coordinate with your decor.

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Say “OK Google” and lights on top start spinning, which means Google is listening. Now what? Say “Add cereal to my shopping list” and Google will save that to your shopping list on your iPhone or Android. Kids can ask Home questions too. “How many planets are in the solar system?” or “What is the speed of light?” Cooking dinner? Ask Home, “Set a timer for 10 minutes” or “How many tablespoons in a cup?” The answers are immediate.

Home connects to other Google services, like Google Music, so ask it to play “Kids music” and a playlist designed for the little ones comes on. If you have a $35 Chromecast connected to your TV, the request “Play Wiggles videos in the living room” will start streaming Youtube videos.

Sure, Home isn’t perfect and it often doesn’t know the answer to what seems like a simple question. It also can’t add items to a calendar yet. Among other things, I wish Home could let the kids call me on my cell phone when I’m at work. Not yet. Many features are still being developed. Nonetheless, I think Home is the future of the family hub and a fun addition for any family’s kitchen counter.

Google Home is available at major retail stores and online for $129.

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