A Google Home? Why Have a Google Powered Home Automation System?
Google home is one of the most popular voice-activated assistants for all of the connected things in your house.
You can wake up your Google home simply by saying the words “OK Google”, or “Hey Google!” and then just ask a question.
You’ll hear a human like voice respond. The voice can be a voice you choose, or just the defualt Google voice.
And you’ll hear the voice (as though it’s speaking from heaven) from whichever speakers you’ve set up with Google home.
Whatever your request is, Google Home does its best to fulfill it.
This can really be anything in your house, as long as it is connected to your Google home system.
This can include things like:
- turning your sprinklers on and off,
- setting a timer for the oven,
- turning the oven on (assuming you’ve purchased a smart oven)
- controlling your wifi-enabled thermostat
- and more.
Of course, all of these really cool Star Trek worthy features are becoming a little bit ho-hum.
Like “Yeah guys. I already know all of that. It’s no big deal for me that I can control my home with nothing but my voice. Tell me something I didn’t know.”
Okay. We will.
Here are a few smart ways you could use your Google home device, if you have set things up properly in your home.
I am (kind of) frequently asking my wife where my keys are.
But if I walked into the house every day and said, “OK Google, remember that I set my keys on the couch.”
Then, when I forget where they are later, I can simply ask Google where they are.
Keys might not be the best example, so let’s use this for something more valuable.
Let’s say, for example, I want to remember where I put my passport.
You could simply tell Google where you put your passport.
You can even set a date for Google to remind you (automatically) where you put your passport.
So maybe on the day before your big trip to Europe, you’ll hear a voice come through the speaker to say
Google Home: “Would you like to hear your reminder for today?”
Me: “Ummm… ok?”
Google Home:“You’re leaving for Europe tomorrow. Your passport is under the silverware in the kitchen.”
Me: “Wow. I put it there? Crazy. Guess I should pack too.”
Me: “Thanks Google!”
Google Home: “You’re welcome!”
Just recently, I was at a friend’s house, where they had a home automation system setup, and their five-year-old was sort of obsessed with asking the home automation to sing Happy Birthday. It was cute and funny, up until about the 16th time, but it also made me realize just how powerful the technology is, when you can simply ask a device like this to play your song, and it can’t. You can even ask Google home to sing you a song, or to serenade you. And if you’re getting into beatboxing, or wrapping, all you have to do is say “OK Google, Beatbox.” And it will lay down some serious beats for you to practice for your next Epic Rap Battle.
I like to travel a lot, and you could simply ask Google to find your flight prices for you. You could say something like “OK Google, how much does it cost to fly from Houston to Paris, if I leave tomorrow, and return on Monday August 24th?” Google will go out to the internet, find you the lowest round-trip cost, and tell you how much it is. You can even set a reminder for Google to keep track of cheapest flights based on a date range, and you could even ask it to email the results to your Gmail account.
We touched on this briefly with the entertainment topic above, but you can use Google to automate something that you might otherwise have to push several buttons for. You could say, OK Google, Play Six Feet Under on Netflix, on my bedroom TV. or, even slightly creepy, if you have uploaded your photos to Google photos, you could say, OK Google, show me my photos of my trip to Japan on my office TV. And it will pull any pictures if things are relevant from your Google photos and display them on that television.
let’s say you want to set up a rule, where when you say OK Google, good morning! And it can know that that means to turn on all lights in all bedrooms to 45%. That’s just an example, and if you are a slow Waker like me, you may not want that sort of feature, but you could also have it say OK Google, lights off, and that means turn off all the lights in the house.
Two people can ask Google the exact same question, and get different results. That’s because Google can be trained to recognize different voices. So it might be different for me to ask how long it will take me to get to work, as opposed to my wife asking the same question. That would be because Google home would know that I was a different person asking the same question, but expecting a different result. Google home would know this, simply by the sound of my voice.
Math is a problem
I’m okay at math. But it has never been my strong suit. For example, if you ask me to divide 728 by 19, my brain freezes. I think it’s not this way for everyone, but I would simply pull out a calculator to find the answer for a question like that. Well, I don’t have to pull out the calculator, all I have to do is ask Google to do the math for me. Is that cheating? I don’t know. At this point in life, it doesn’t matter that much to me to figure out those kinds of complex math problems. But let’s do a more practical application and say that you want to do three fourths of a recipe, because you only have 3 eggs instead of 4. Rather than figuring out 75% of each ingredient, you can just ask Google. Or, what if you’re just really bad at spelling, and you want to write a nice card to someone, but you can’t remember if congratulations is spelled with a D or a t. Just ask Google how to spell congratulations. You could even ask something silly or simple, like OK Google, search for facts about monkeys and giraffes.
Getting back to travel, because I always love talking about travel, let’s say you are going to Mexico in 4 days, and you’re already thinking about packing. Simply ask Google, Ok Google, what will the weather be like in Cancun, four days from now? And Google will go hunt that down for you and tell you. Or, you can say, OK Google, what will the weather be like in The Woodlands, over the next 4 days? And Google will tell you. No more typing or swiping for weather forecast, all you have to do is ask. The future is here, and it’s pretty awesome.
Magic 8 ball
Google has a feature called Crystal Ball. You simply say OK Google, crystal ball. You’re basically opening the magic eight ball at that point, and you can ask Google in a yes or no question. It will return answers like the Magic 8-Ball of yesteryear used to do.
You can ask questions about what your day looks like, and Google can help you to either schedule events, or tell you what you forgot you were supposed to be doing today.
Asking a question like, “OK Google, what meetings do I have today?”
You could also add events, by saying something like “OK Google, add lunch with Mom tomorrow at noon to my calendar.”
It’s possible to simply say, “OK Google, tell me about my day”, and Google can return all kinds of information, including weather, news, the time and date it currently is, what the weather is like, what the weather is going to be like, and a whole bunch of other things.
You can even select your news sources, (if you want to be biased to the left or the right), or you can look to better news sources to find something a little more factual.
I love scheduled vacuuming.
Often, my wife and I will be somewhere, and I will say:
“You know what I’m doing right now? I’m vacuuming!”
Well, with Google home, I wouldn’t even have to worry about scheduling the vacuuming, if I don’t want to.
I could simply say, “OK Google, ask my Roomba to start cleaning!” And Roomba would start cleaning, regardless of where I was. (I could be vacuuming at home while on vacation in Mexico!
So, hopefully this gives you some ideas of ways that you can use home automation Technologies, like Google Home, to make life pretty amazing.
Now I just need to find my keys.
What Google Home Says
What good would it do to have Google Home installed at your home or office?
Google is here to show you all the ways that, like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home can make your life easier.
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