Webs, Weeds and Wisdom | Hey Google, you’re great

I love gadgets and my son’s family gave me a Google Mini for Christmas. I had mentioned that I might buy one as it would be fun to have a play with it, and I hate getting too far behind in technology. There are a number of home assistants on the market, but this one seems fine and the price ($50) is reasonable.

As I write this, I’ve only had it set up for a couple days, but here are my thoughts.

Pros

  • It’s so easy to setup and took less than five minutes
  • The voice recognition is great, even with my mixed up accent.
  • It has responded appropriately to all my commands, such as: play Frank Sinatra on Spotify, set a timer for 10 minutes (always painful to do with gooey hands when cooking), turn volume up or down, what temperature is it, what’s playing at Palace Electric tonight, how far is Wagga, and much more.
  • The digital voice is pleasant, clear and well-paced.
HANDS FREE: Struggling with technology while you're up to your elbows in flour will be a thing of the past, thanks to the new range of voice activated home assistants.

HANDS FREE: Struggling with technology while you're up to your elbows in flour will be a thing of the past, thanks to the new range of voice activated home assistants.

Cons

  • The speaker is okay, but not great for music, and I can’t connect in to my good speaker.
  • If not changed in your google account, you will see a record of your voice interactions with Google Mini and much more at https://myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols. If you don’t want this record and more kept, you can adjust the controls there.
  • You will need an internet connection and a smart phone or tablet to work with Google Mini.

Who’s it good for?

  • Me for so many things.
  • My grandkids for spelling words, adding numbers, answering questions, and more.
  • My friends with limited mobility or dexterity as below.

I think it is really perfect for seniors who have limited keyboard skills and people with limited mobility, dexterity or sight. If you have smart appliances or lights, Google Mini can even operate these.

A whole list of things that are done every morning or night can be programmed once and all you have to say is “Hey Google, good night,” and all will be done. This could include turning off lights, turning off TV, turning down the heater or turning off the air conditioner, setting the alarm for 8am, and giving a reminder for medications that need to be taken. A similar set of instruction could be followed for “Hey Google, good morning”.

It can even be company. “Hey Google, tell me a joke,” and of course if linked to your phone, it could make phone calls (“Hey Google, ring Bec”). I like ‘”Hey Google, find my phone”.  A ring tone is then activated on my phone.

Other digital assistants or voice activated command devices to look at are: Amazon Echo (with Alexa’s voice) is very comprehensive also; Apple’s HomePod (voice answers and music requests), and more.

Future

Now with these gadgets and a fully driverless car (I am still wishing for a Tesla!), I will be able to gracefully move into old age with independence!

https://www.cnet.com/reviews/google-home-preview/

https://www.nursenextdoor.com/blog/google-home-device-perfect-seniors/

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/google-home-complete-list-of-commands-so-far/

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