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Selling my fiancé on an assistant from the future
“That’s funny,” said my fiancé, Stephanie as the Google Home began playing a Casey Neistat video on the TV. Seconds earlier, I had barked the command across our bedroom, “Play Casey Neistat on my TV!” Almost as quickly as I had said it, our TV began playing the video. Every once in awhile technology truly wows me, and this was one of those moments.
Home automation has always been something that’s intrigued me, but renting an apartment didn’t quite lend itself to spending hundreds of dollars on Internet-connected gadgets when I moved every year. Not to mention an apartment can only be modified so much because at the end of the day you don’t own it.
Thankfully, in August Stephanie and I purchased our first home together. My first thought was, “What in this house can I connect to the Internet?” Hers was much different. “Let’s rip everything out and redo the whole house.” Needless to say she won, and we began working on the house
Fast forward three months and the renovations are coming to a close, meaning the home automation can begin. I knew that I wanted some sort of personal assistant to play music and control things in the house, but I was torn between the Home and the Echo. I paced around Best Buy for a good 20 minutes before finally deciding on the Google Home. Despite its lukewarm reviews and somewhat limited ecosystem, the Home felt like the better bet long term. Not only does Google already know everything about me, but it also has a wealth of information about well — everything.
As with most of my technology purchases, my immediate thought after buying it was “how can I sell Steph on this?” She doesn’t see the value in half of the gadgets I buy and would much rather me spend the money on decorative pillows or something nice for the house. Luckily, she listens to a lot of music and the Home is a good speaker, so this was my in.
After a painful setup process, I managed to get the Google Home connected to our network. For some reason, it initially struggled to connect. Upon further investigation it seems others have shared my frustrations as well. Using the Google Home app on my iPhone, I linked my Spotify account and sat down on the bed next to Steph. This was my moment. As she laid there browing Pinterest, I said the command, “Okay Google, play my Discover Weekly,” and Google Assistant promptly responded, “Sure, playing your Spotify playlist called Discover Weekly.” Steph looked up from her phone.
This brings us back to the beginning of the story when I had the Google Home play Casey Neistat on YouTube. “That’s funny,” Steph said. (Note this functionality requires a Chromecast or Cast-enabled TV). Within minutes she was requesting the Google Assistant to play songs, videos and even tell jokes. She was sold.
The next day at work I received this text:
A little while later:
As you can see, she’s now officially hooked. She even wants to purchase a second Google Home for the living room. Next on the agenda we plan to replace our current light bulbs with Philips Hue bulbs so we can use the Home to control them throughout the house.
Ultimately, the Google Home meets most of my expectations. There have been a few instances where it can’t perform certain tasks and it tells me it’s still learning. For example, it can’t add an item to a to-do list or tell you that Donald Trump won the election, but other than that, it’s a solid first attempt at automating the home. I can’t say how well it compares to the Echo because I’ve never used one, but I can say I’m excited to see where Google takes it from here. For now I’m enjoying my talking speaker — horrible dad jokes and all.