back to article The Google Home Mini: Great, right up until you want to smash it in fury

At first, it wasn't entirely clear whether it would be worthwhile doing a review of the new Google Home Mini. The new, cut-down version of the digital assistant could probably have been summed up in a tweet. Something like: "Home Mini: smaller, cheaper, sound worse but still fine." But then, and it's not entirely clear how or …

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Gimp

So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

Sounded like a s**t idea when I first heard of it.

Still does.

AIUI The excuse for the always on internet requirement is the "cloud" based voice recognition, but TBH this sounds pretty s**t.

So it's a voice activated, wireless linked (I'm presuming otherwise you'd have to lay cable to it) media player that syncs with your diary and can have triggerable alarms.

That might be a product I'd want to buy, without the always on link stuff everything I say to a remote server site.

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Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

Sounds like you're describing a pebble time without the speaker.

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Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

"Always on" is really bad. I know Google want to know absolutely everything about you, but perhaps it would be easier to sell a gadget with enough on-board processing so that it recognises the (user-defined) safe trigger word locally, and only then needs to connect to decipher more complex things. And ideally it should be able to handle common commands without phoning home - perhaps a local copy of contacts to manage 'phone xxx' requests or 'play xxx'.

And the contacts needs to cope with aliases - who includes an entry in their contacts for 'my wife'? Anne-Marie or Snookums, possibly...

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Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

It does - voice is only sent once the trigger phrase has been detected

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Big Brother

That is what they want us to think.

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Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

According to a presentation from Amazon I attended, the Echo does process the trigger word locally using a cyclic 20 second buffer and then passes the remaining sentence to the cloud to process.

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Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

'Sounds like you're describing a pebble time without the speaker.'

Or say my phone, which does all that stuff already and can be linked by bluetooth to speakers which are not tinny and shit.

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Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

linked by bluetooth to speakers which are not NECESSARILY tinny and shit.But probably are.

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Flame

Re: According to a presentation

Why would I believe a marketing presentation, EVER. Especially one from a Tech Giant.

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Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

Sounds like my Amazon phone, except I denied the Google App permission to access the microphone, so saying 'OK Google' has no effect. But I have a multitimer app which is great. I use it a lot when cooking. At Xmas I was kitchen major domo, timing mutliple dishes.

In my previous Android phone running the older OS I managed to disable the entire Google App with no bad effects, the search bar vanished but that was good, I always use the Startpage shortcut. I tried hard to replace the bar with a startpage shortcut but it wouldn't go there.

In this latest phone when I disabled Google App it bricked the phone requiring a factory restart. No biggie, I'd only just set it up but it disturbs me. Isn't this the sort of thing the EU went after Microsoft for when they tried to bake Explorer into the OS?

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Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

'linked by bluetooth to speakers which are not NECESSARILY tinny and shit.But probably are.'

Oh, my av receiver has a bluetooth in so they're pretty good. But I agree a lot of bluetooth speakers aren't much better than the ones you get in a laptop.

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Re: av receiver has a bluetooth in

But direct 3.5mm cable is actually better quality and lower latency than Bluetooth, which is an extra pair of codecs.

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Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

Who on earth has their spouse in their phone under the name "My Wife"? I ask my Google home to "call <firstname>" and that's exactly what happens. It calls folk anywhere in the world at the first time of asking. And my accent is one from the lesser-populated northern regions of the UK, so it's not a "you need to speak slowly and clearly" thing.

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Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

>>> Isn't this the sort of thing the EU went after Microsoft for when they tried to bake Explorer into the OS?

When the EU went after Microsoft, they were probably making the OS for more than 9 in every 10 computers sold. iOS has >30% of the UK smartphone market, so there's not the same competition concerns.

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Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

>>> And the contacts needs to cope with aliases - who includes an entry in their contacts for 'my wife'? Anne-Marie or Snookums, possibly...

They already do. Google contacts has support for nicknames and phonetic spellings so that an unusual or non-English name can be correctly recognized.

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Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

> Who on earth has their spouse in their phone under the name "My Wife"?

You don't need to. On the phone, at least, if you ask to call your wife, mother, sister, etc. it will ask you who that is, then assign that information to them (I think in the "nickname" field of the contacts), so it will work in future.

I don't have a Google Home to test with, but it works fine on the phone or through Android Auto.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

"Who on earth has their spouse in their phone under the name "My Wife"? I ask my Google home to "call <firstname>"....And my accent is one from the lesser-populated northern regions of the UK..."

Aye 'appen as though wife's name int phone is under "Old Bag".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So, plays tunes you own, alarm clocks stuff you set and listens to everything you say 24/7

The idiot reviewer WANTED it to record all the time (you need to wake it with OK google).

I suspect this wish to have it record 24x7 with no wakeup command is to allow the writing of a click bait it records everything story...

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Re: av receiver has a bluetooth in

'But direct 3.5mm cable is actually better quality and lower latency than Bluetooth, which is an extra pair of codecs.'

True, but that rather limits my ability to place the phone where I want, i.e. in reach of me, rather than on the other side of the room.

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"According to a presentation from Amazon I attended, the Echo does process the trigger word locally

using a cyclic 20 second buffer "

Well that does sound reassuring.

Except that Googles implementation sometimes doesn't quite match their stated goals.

Remember the driverless cars and their ability to collect WiFi network IDs as well?

They didn't happen to mention how long the raw voice data is retained for, did they? Or how long it keeps recording before it cuts off, deciding you are no longer talking to it?

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They can't do the job and they're a privacy nightmare. Who in their right mind would buy something lime this?

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Devil

... and the more they can force you to talk, the more data they can gather...

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So that's why they can't seem to understand things on the first go??

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Alert

Yeah, I spent 50 quid because although I would like to to speak to you, the desire wasn't strong enough to get me to hold a phone.

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sheeple. in their unwashed hoards I would think.

The same ones that twatter every breath they take, post to people they've never talked to on facepuke, and see nothing wrong with store loyalty cards, google, and every other big brother poc out there.

it will no doubt be a roaring success...

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"They can't do the job and they're a privacy nightmare. Who in their right mind would buy something lime this?"

Well, the Feds are still placing contracts with Equifax and the UK government employs Capita.

Oh, did you mean something else?

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"the Feds are still placing contracts with Equifax"

I read that they're rethinking that so maybe there's still hope.

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TRT
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Just wait until they learn to lipread.

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> Just wait until they learn to lipread

No, that's your Smart TV's job, but don't worry - the individual tech spies will be conferring soon so all the data will get back to it's intended destination. One way or another.

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lipread...

Open the garage door, Hal.

Hal, open the garage doors, goddam you!

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Who in their right mind would buy something lime this?

This is comparing apples and oranges.

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Big Brother

"sheeple. in their unwashed hoards I would think."

I love a good bit of tech, think the idea is great but too much like the "TeleScreen" for me. People where I work banging on about how great their Echo thing is , "We asked it the time!", "The kids can ask it things for homework.".

Whoopy-flipping-do! No need to have a discussion with your kids about sharing knowledge. One reason I don't let my kids just automatically jump on the internet when they have homework, we sit down and discuss ideas, concepts. If we're unclear then we both sit down and try to understand it together, then they get to hear someone else's interpretation not just the plain fact, which may or may not be right.

God forbid we allow people to communicate, they may revolt and will not buy services and products we demand they buy. Generations to come will be born never knowing the joy of human communication, "All hail the almighty conglomerate of Amazon and Google.", then genuflect the sign of the A and G in front of their sacred devices.

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Anonymous Coward

1:1 pricing

"(and £49 because in the tech world the dollar and pound have 1:1 parity),"

Yes that makes good copy but you are not alone in forgetting that US prices are always before sales tax and ours aren't. So, to use a simplistic 1:1 is a cheap trick.

It does not take much to work out the real price given the exchange rate and the 20% VAT now does it?

But in reality, this device is a bit crap isn't it? This seems to be the norm for a lot of stuff that Google put out. Nice idea but never finished and then withdrawn because no one was using it.

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Re: 1:1 pricing

1:1 pricing with sterling so weak isn't bad, we've had 1:1 pricing in the tech world since, well forever.

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Re: 1:1 pricing

£1:1 dime soon

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Re: 1:1 pricing

So at today's exchange rate it should be 44.60 GBP.

But Google could only do that if Sterling was stable. You guys should maybe stop doing things like voting for Brexit.

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"You guys should maybe stop doing things like voting for Brexit."

but

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FAIL

Silly Valley

Completely unable to make a non-beta product that can cope with a household of more than one person.

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gv

Re: Silly Valley

Until somebody builds the equivalent of Orac, I'm not parting with my money.

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Why does everyone always link to YouTube ? Can't anyone read any more ?

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Re: Silly Valley

Orac? I want Masaq'.

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Re: Silly Valley

Orac was a bit wilful though. And mean.

You: "Orac, phone my wife"

Transparent blinky cube: "I am too busy to deal with your petty concerns at the moment. And for your information, your wife is currently in a bar with co-workers and doesn't want to be interrupted by you."

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Re: Silly Valley

Orac and Avon, it was always funny watching them spar.

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Re: Silly Valley

"Until somebody builds the equivalent of Orac, I'm not parting with my money."

And when somebody does it will just take your money anyway.

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Re: Silly Valley

Orac's recalcitrant attitude was a theme in that series. Zen also had a function built-in by the creators to prevent it being of too much use and thus making the crew lazy. Perhaps Google is doing the same.

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Happy

Re: Silly Valley

..and the last thing Zen ever said was "I'm sorry".

Nearly made me cry, that did :-/

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Re: Silly Valley

Speech circuits had decayed at that point. What he REALLY said was an explanation of why he had been less than helpful over their past adventures; "I'm Siri".

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Re: Silly Valley

Completely unable to make a non-beta product that can cope with a household of more than one person.

Well of course not. Most of those nerds haven't bought a trophy wife yet.

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