It was cool because Google Assistant was cool. You could do things like asking about the weather or the current time in some other city, but it also could access your digital Google life and tell you about your calendar, remind you of upcoming events, or even do a web search and read you a condensed version from a Wikipedia page. It was more of a robot assistant than anything we had ever seen before, and it sold really well.
In 2020, that original Google Home is no longer being made and is hard to find through an online retailer unless you're buying used. Unlike other Google products that we actually miss, though, nobody needs to buy a Google Home in 2020 or beyond. That's because Google Assistant has become one of those ubiquitous features that you can find in all sorts of products.
You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a standalone smart speaker that has Google Assistant built right in, either. Heck, the Nest Mini is Google's own answer for a cheaper alternative that doesn't suck, and you'll like it every bit as much as you would its older and more expensive cousin. It works exactly the same — plop it on an end table or a counter, talk to it by saying "Hey Google," and it talks back. Or it can play music, podcasts, or even audiobooks.
Or you can go the other direction and get a Google Assistant speaker with a display. The Nest Hub has a 7-inch display that can show you photos or video (or even a live feed from a smart camera system), and it costs less than the original Google Home did. Now that's what I call progress.
Heck, there are even all sorts of ways to get the full-blown Google Assistant experience without needing an old product staying on the shelves. Headphones? Check — Sony, JBL, Bose, and even Google itself offer Bluetooth headphones that work seamlessly with Assistant and require no button tapping or fiddling. Premium sound? You betcha, and you'll find companies like Sonos with it's Sonos Beam and Sonos Move ready to give you a better-sounding Assistant than Google's old fabric and plastic models could ever offer.
None of this means your original Google Home is going to stop working or that you should toss it into a recycle bin somewhere. But if you're looking for a replacement or just want to try the smartest assistant for the first time, you have so many other and better options.
Google Nest Mini
It's small, but it still packs the same punch as the original, and even comes in a color to match just about any room.
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