Google wants to make knowledge accessible to the world. Then Google’s new speaker, Nest Audio, should be able to answer the question this column asks every week. “Hey Google, do they need you?” A woman’s voice wants to help: “All right. This is ‘I need you’ from KC Rebell.” The German rapper’s song begins promptly. A full beat sets in, the small loudspeaker covers the whole room. But he doesn’t answer the question. Too bad.

This experience sums up what to expect from Nest Audio. The speaker sounds balanced, from jazz to rap, every genre is fun. Compared to its predecessor, Google Home, everything is gone. If you are looking for a loudspeaker that can be controlled by voice and plays music in reasonable quality, the Nest Audio is a good choice. For just under 100 euros, it is better than the Google Home in every way.

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The Google Assistant, which is the heart of the Nest Audio, remains limited. He doesn’t know the answer to some questions or simply reads the first Google search result that he comes across. As a universal life advisor, the personal assistant is just as useful as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. To do this, it answers simple questions about the weather or the next appointment in the Google calendar and serves as a control center for linked smart home devices.

The Nest Audio also reliably fulfills its most important purpose: from Deezer to Spotify to Youtube Music, many streaming services can be easily integrated. Only Google is less fond of direct competition: If you use Amazon or Apple Music, you cannot start playback via the voice assistant, but have to stream from your mobile phone via Bluetooth.

The Nest Audio fits in well with Google’s range of products. Its little brother, the Nest Mini, costs around half as much, but sounds worse and is not really suitable for the living room. For large rooms, the Google Home Max remains the best choice. At 300 euros, however, it is significantly more expensive and could soon have a successor. Then it is better to connect two Nest audio devices together to form a stereo pair. If you are concerned about your privacy, you can permanently deactivate the microphone with a switch on the back – but then you could also buy a normal loudspeaker.

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