Alright. I have posted before about the connected house. We’ve got Philips Hue, Nest, Apple TV, and so much more. It’s great. There are occasional hiccups, but overall, it’s fantastic.
Enter Google Home.
Google Home is similar to Alexa from Amazon in that you can ask questions, query about various topics, set timers, and do so much more with this tabletop appliance. Smaller than a football, Google Home plugs in and sits on a table listening for your cues. It’s stylish and allows you to accessorize it, changing out the base with a different color to match your decor.
Not only is it stylish, it’s also functional. The usuals work really well. You can ask Google Home to do simple math problems, set a timer, ask it who stars in a particular movie, play a song or playlist from your favorite music app, and even play games with you. In addition, you can connect it to your other connected home devices, setting up cues that allow you to turn on the lights, adjust the temperature, and more. With the exception of occasionally missing a light (which we hope will be fixed in the near future), it worked as you would expect.
One of the biggest benefits of Google Home is the fact that it works with IFTTT, a utility that lets you define if-then statements to make things happen. IFTTT, or ‘if this then that,’ connects with a variety of apps and websites to make life easier. IFTTT takes a little effort to connect, but once you set things up, it’s great. Ultimately, what happens is you connect Google Assistant with your Google Home device. Once connected, you set up a trigger. This can be a text phrase or a phrase with a text or number modifier. For example, you can have it post a tweet by setting up a trigger that’s activated when you say ‘Post a tweet saying (fill in the blank).’ It’ll connect up to Twitter and post your comment to social media. That’s just one example. There are other utilities that link to your calendar, notifications, fitness tracker, and other connected home devices. Bottom line, it’s super useful.
So what else can Google Home do right out of the box? Instead of me coming up with an entire list on my own, I found a great compilation of shortcuts from c|net. Take a look at a few of my favorites and then click the link below for the full list.
- Roll a die: “OK Google, roll a die” or, “OK Google, roll a 12-sided die.”
- Timer: “OK Google, set a timer for [time].”
- Daily briefing: “OK Google, good morning.” (includes personalized greeting, info on weather, traffic, and curated news stories)
- Weather: “OK Google, how’s the weather today?” or, “Do I need an umbrella today?”
- Play music: “OK Google, play some music” or, “Play some [genre] music.”
- Sports updates: “OK Google, who is [team] playing next?” or “Did the [team] win last night?”
Here’s a link to the full list of shortcuts for Google Home. There are also some Easter eggs that might be fun to try out! One thing that it can’t do yet is set a reminder. I’m hopeful that will be rectified in a future update.
Overall, I get to try a lot of different devices through a partnership with Verizon. This is no different. This, however, is one that I would definitely be interested in buying now that my trial period is over. Google Home, while only several months old at this point, already has a strong position in the market and I’m truly excited to see how it improves.
Bottom Line: You WILL use this device. Even if you don’t think you will, you WILL use this device. It’s convenient and really does make life easier.