The main feature of Google Home which doesn’t work in the UK is YouTube Red, and that’s because the service has yet to launch here.
YouTube Red, which is currently available in the States, is a US$10 a month service which removes ads on YouTube, and allows users to save videos on their smartphones for offline viewing, as well as giving them the option to purely stream the audio, to save data.
As an added bonus, YouTube Red subscribers can enjoy background playback, which means that audio will continue playing outside of the YouTube app, even when the screen is off. Though we have found a few ways around that.
If you’re a Google Play Music or Spotify subscriber though, the lack of YouTube Red shouldn’t be a deal breaker, as you can still listen to music through your chosen music service.
For us, we tend to go to YouTube if we want to hear less common songs like DJ mashups, which aren’t available on mainstream music services. Ask Home to play songs by mashup artists The White Panda, for example, and it it won’t find any results on Play Music or Spotify.
If you ask it to play The White Panda on YouTube on your Chromecast or Chromecast Audio connected device though – which could be a TV or a speaker – then you’ll be able to listen to it via YouTube.
However – if you don’t have YouTube Red, you’ll only be able to do this by playing the YouTube video on a TV, as non-YouTube Red users don’t have the option to listen to YouTube audio alone.
It’s a very specific problem, and one that shouldn’t affect most people 99% of the time, as long as they’ve got a Chromecast-connected TV. If you’re really desperate, you could also set up router-level VPN access to trick your Home that you’re in the US, but this can be a bit fiddly and will affect all of your other devices too. It probably isn’t worth the hassle for most people.
The only other main issue we found with the Home was a lack of UK-specific and local news services. Currently, if we ask Home for a news update, we’re bombarded with US news channels, though BBC World News is at least an option.