Smart speaker Nest Audio from Google put to the test

WIf you want to upgrade your home with a networked loudspeaker, want to control the music playback via smartphone or tablet and want to fill all rooms of the home with a single system, you are spoiled for choice between different systems and manufacturers. Sonos used to be way ahead in this area, but now a number of competitors score points above all with better software and voice assistants. For die-hard friends of Apple, the Homepod Mini has been replenished since last week: You can test the small ball here.

And now it’s turn to Nest Audio from Google. For more than three years, Google has presented a new speaker every fall. The loudspeakers are a vehicle that the company needs for its assistant. As Apple listens to Siri and Amazon Echo to Alexa, the speech recognition software and the underlying algorithm wake up with access to powerful databases when “Hey Google” is called into the room. Compared to the closed Apple cosmos, the assistant is already in many headphones, speakers and smartphones and thus binds users to Google’s services without having to do a lot in Mountain View.

Nevertheless, Google insists on consistently offering its own smart loudspeaker. The new one is called Nest Audio and follows the Nest Mini from last year. Why the name “Nest”? Six years ago, Google bought the manufacturer of the same name for 3.2 billion dollars. He specializes in the smart versions of thermostats, smoke detectors and video doorbells. The new loudspeaker for just under 100 euros should also network these devices with one another with the help of the Google Assistant as a command receiver and thus simplify their operation for the user.

When Google's smart speaker is listening, the four LEDs light up.



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In the test
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Nest Audio

The devices are managed via the Google Home app. The installation of a loudspeaker like Nest Audio is simple: supply the device with power, open the app, give it a name and assign a room. Now it can start. Nest Audio receives commands in two ways. On the one hand, you wake up the loudspeaker with the words “Hey Google”, followed by the words “Play Jump by Van Halen”. Then Google plays the song from a preset streaming service like Spotify or Youtube Music. On the other hand, the loudspeaker can be operated via the Google Home app. Then you tap on “play music”. If several loudspeakers are distributed in the apartment, you can control each one individually or form groups. A playback device can also be a TV connected to Google Chromecast. Then one command is enough for a group to play music in the kitchen and living room at the same time.

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