Google House: The Virtual Home Takeover

We were recently invited to ‘Google House’ where we were shown the Google way to run our home – from voice command to useful apps and futuristic glasses! Upon arrival at the impressive Georgian townhouse we were greeted by a large gold ‘G’ door knocker set under glass panes in the distinctive Google colours.

Throughout the many rooms of Google House we were shown how the new voice search can be used in a variety of contexts. From cooking to travel, navigation to lifestyle, this advanced voice recognition software can be used in every aspect of your life.

Ben and Jamie from SORTED Food, a YouTube cooking channel with over half a million subscribers, showed us how Google voice search can be used in the kitchen with a delicious lemon Madeleine demonstration.

You can ask for all sorts of information, such as nutritional facts, recipe ideas and advice, without getting your ingredients or sticky fingers on your device.

You can also set location based reminders, for example, by instructing your device to: ‘remind me to buy lemons next time I am at Waitrose’, it will register your request and alert you when you are in the vicinity of your nearest Waitrose. Clever!

Google Chromecast, the invisible fight for the remote

In the living room we were introduced to the Google Chromecast, a dongle that is currently only available in the USA. Once connected to your HDTV, Chromecast connects individual devices to the TV, allowing users to push the content from their personal tablet or smart phone to the big screen.

Chromecast enables you to watch YouTube videos, Internet content and music videos on your own television – no more huddling around a small screen.

Google Glass, looking to the future

In one room, we couldn’t help but notice several people wearing strange looking lense-less glasses, the Google Glass. The Glass projects a small virtual screen when you glance upwards, displaying any information requested by the wearer.

Once the novelty had worn off, I did think, however, that the skeletal frame might not wash in fashion terms.

Walking through Google House, we consumed a lot of information in a relatively short space of time; here are some more features that stuck in my mind as particularly unique:

Google Translate

I was impressed with just how advanced the Google Translate App is. I am usually very sceptical about machine translation but this is very accurate. You can even take a photo of a menu and highlight the words to be translated – being lost in translation on holiday will soon be a distant memory.

Auto Awesome

Auto Awesome on the Google+ Photos App and Google Drive is a fun feature that creates edited versions of your photos without you having to lift a finger. It can delete duplicates, enhance photos, merge group shots so everyone is smiling and even creates short animations set to music.

Google Art Project

Google has collaborated with some of the most acclaimed art institutions, putting tens of thousands of art works online with Google Art Project.

Street view covers 60 museums, giving virtual tours of galleries and paintings, perfect for the leisurely perusal of famous artworks minus the people dodging at busy galleries.

A couple of hours at Google house showed just how much technology can influence and help in our daily lives. If only the voice command could action “can you do the washing up please…”