As we all know, I love technology. Being an engineer and an early adopter, I have always been open to trying and investing in new technology. When I lived in Seattle, I was lucky to have a large of number of friends, like me, who worked in the tech sector and loved to experiment with anything new and innovative. The more we invested, the more products we started adding to our daily life, and the more control we had in how we used our time efficiently. So it’s no surprise that when Google approached me to partner with them for their Google Home and Google Home Mini products, I said yes!
Recently, my husband and I bought our new home. We systematically installed a few NEST Cameras and NEST Thermostats in some of our rooms. It wasn’t long after that we upgraded our blinds and installed Hunter Douglas Powerview Motorized blinds. We also have an android box set up with our tv/home entertainment system and all our televisions use Chrome Cast. Thankfully we didn’t have to do anything with our lights because our home came with Lutron RA2 (basically we have wireless control of the lighting system in our home). We did this to get better control of our lives and optimize how we use our time when it comes to turning on or off various electronic elements in our home.
All of these home automation items were great, but they lack one key thing: integration. Each was controlled by a separate app or a separate remote. Little did we know that all that would change thanks to Google with their Google Home and Google Home Mini, powered by the Google Assistant.
If you have been following me on Instagram and view my Instagram Story, you know our Google Home and Google Home Mini has pretty much become a part of lives. Getting tasks done like turning on the lights before I walk into a room has become so easy with a simple command to my Google Home, “Hey Google, turn on the lights in the nursery”, or opening the blinds when my hands are full,”Hey Google, open the blinds in the family room”
We have been using our Google Home since June and we love it. It was incredibly easy to setup and before you knew it, we were asking our Google Home to turn up or turn down the heat or even turn on the TV by linking with our Harmony remote hub. So it should come as no surprise that we wanted more and added two Google Home Minis to our house, one in the twins’ nursery and the other in my office. Plus we setup numerous shortcuts both through the native Google Home App and through the IFTTT app. With a bit of tweaking, a command like “Hey Google, put the babies to bed” will play their favorite station, close the blinds in the nursery and turn off the lights in their nursery to help them go to sleep.
When I’m in my office, my Google Home Mini is the dream assistant. In fact, it’s powered by Google Assistant. It can tell me what I have on my agenda for the day, help me catch up with the news, tell me what traffic is like before I head off to a meeting, and my favorite, find my phone when I can’t remember where I placed my Pixel 2 XL! I can even rely on my Google Home Mini to help me complete a few tasks like call my mom (yes it makes phone calls for you), answer tough questions and play my playlist from Google Play Music and Spotify on the one speaker. Music on the Google Home Mini works well for personal listening; whereas the Google Home has a superior speaker for high quality music playback that fills the room with rich tones. When I’m having writers block, I can have fun with my Google Home Mini and play a game by saying “Hey Google, let’s play a game” or my play 20 questions by calling out, “Hey Google, talk to Akinator”. It seriously is a lot of fun that our Google Home Mini has become the ultimate party guest when we have friends over.
Being a mom of twins and running around the city for events and meetings, my time can be stretched pretty thin. On my days off (if you can call it that), you will see me in my pajamas, running around the house and trying to do all my chores. So when it comes to meal planning or cooking, I sometimes don’t have the time to look on Pinterest or scan through my recipe books to come up with an idea about what to make for dinner. Lately I have been calling out to Google to give me recipes of my favorite dishes and help me by guiding me on how to make dinner, even assisting me in making substitutions if I don’t have the items with me on hand. Oh, did I mention that I can also ask Google to add my missing items to my grocery list? Genius right!?
Another genius thing that blows my mind is that I was able to link my husband’s Tesla Model S to my Google Home and Google Home Mini using an app called EV car. I can find out the charge level on his vehicle, lock or unlock the doors, warm up or cool the car down, honk the horn or find out where his car is located by say “Dude where’s my car?”. It’s pretty awesome because the hubby loves it when I’m already outside in the driveway right when he pulls to pick me up for date night. If you are worried about security with features like this, you can like each feature to specific accounts so that only your voice will have access to certain items. This way, when our kids start talking, they won’t have access to the Tesla through google home!
Last night, when I was putting this post together, we found that with both the Google Home and Google Home Mini, we use our time far more efficiently because we are spending less time with our heads buried in our laptop or mobile devices running queries like “What is a polliwog”? Instead, I can call out and say “Hey Google, tell harmony to pause” to pause Stranger Things 2, and ask “Hey Google, what is a polliwog”?. Once my Google assistant tells me that a polliwog is a tadpole, I can ask it to continue Stranger Things 2 by asking harmony to resume. No more unlocking my phone or signing into my laptop to open a search engine and type the question in.
If you have a large home, the Google Home is a great assistant to have in your main area and Google Home Minis can be used in smaller areas in the house. If you have a small room, or a cozy place, the Google Home Mini is perfect. It does exactly the same thing as your Google Home. The only difference is the Google Home Mini is compact in size and has a smaller speaker.