CHOICE membership

Have you bought a Google Home?


#1

Smart devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo Alexa (Australian version launching soon) are tools to manage smart devices in the home or browse online.

If you have one, we’d like to hear how you are using the device. For example, do you use it to find out news or sports? To create a shopping list or read a recipe? We’d also like to know if the device performs as you expect or if in reality it falls short.

Tell us your thoughts or experiences in the comments below.


#4

The silence is deafening. Surprising as I thought our tech savvy members would have been using these.


#5

We have friends (he is in iT) whi have bought a Google one for the home…he showed us how it worked auch as setting timers, asking the time, streaming music and asking questions about anything. Based on his demonstration, we are unlikely to buy one ourselves as it has limited value to us.

He also said he mainly bought it to have a play just in case one of his clients purchased one…so he could provide support if necessary.


#6

A couple of times I’ve thought I might need one … will it interface to my Thermomix? because I don’t have one of them either …

Not entirely sure I want it listening to every word I say, but then my phone already does that …


#7

I was gifted one for Christmas (a Home Mini), and I’ve played a little with it a little.

I found it useful for cooking timers etc however without subscriptions to streaming services etc I often just use it as a bluetooth speaker to play music.

I tried to hook it into our home automation server only to discover I could only have the Home trigger events, not react to events other things had triggered.

It can control our lights, power points etc easily enough with a cloud service like IFTTT however my home automation is designed to work with no internet (which was recently put to the test - thanks NBN Co), and the Home is decidedly Not.


#8

Wow - now as silly as this might sound - I’d love that :slight_smile: its an expensive cooking timer, but hey…

It’s a bit disappointing that it doesn’t support external speakers. I just had a quick look at the specs though, and one update they have done is for multiple accounts. That was missing for a while, and a big sore point for many users for a while - one of the reasons I haven’t got one yet - but it seems it has had this feature for a while now, 6+ months or so …

Hmm :slight_smile:


#9

There’s a few others of this type - like the Sony LFS50G - it seems they are probably in the same mix …


#10

I was just thinking, Google, Amazon, Sony etc are a bit late to the game. Samsung has made products, which in effect do the same, for years.


#11

Just after Christmas, I purchased two Google Home Mini’s during the 2 for 1 sale that was on at just about every retailer (The Good Guys, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman). Would not have purchased except the sale made them less than $40 each.

We have one in the bedroom and one in the loungeroom. My wife was less than impressed and could see no use for it at all. However, she now uses it more than I do and loves it.

We have set up smart bulbs in a three bulb lamp that we love, but hardly ever used due to it being difficult to get to the switch. It is now constantly used, including timers for when we are away. The fact that we can now dim the lights, change the light colours and choose 1, 2 or 3 bulbs to be on only adds to its usability - all things it was never designed to do.

We have also set up smart switches on other devices, such as the light on the fish tank, which allow us more flexibility.

One of the best uses we have found is the ability to put events in each other’s diaries by merely speaking them. Another useful tool we have seen is the ability to add items to our shopping list be asking Google to add them when we realise we need them. Nothing is forgotten.

Being in a regional area, we often find ourselves using TuneIn radio to listen to our favourite radio stations from around Australia. By setting shortcuts up in the Google app on our phones/tablets, this is a straightforward thing to do.

In fact, we have found that the key to getting good use from our Google Home Mini is to take a few minutes to set up the shortcuts for all of the different things we wish to control. This has been very easy and only took 15-20 minutes searching on the internet to understand how to do this.

We can see ourselves adding more and more items to our home automation as they become available in Australia. We have not considered using IFTTT commands yet, but I am sure they would be useful as well.

We have gone with TP-Link bulbs and smart plugs as we were able to source them online much cheaper than some other brands and have not experienced any problems once we got them set up (should have read the instructions - but where is the fun in that).

One last fun thing is the broadcast function. This allows you to command one Google Home speaker to say something on another. Great for speaking to each other when in different parts of the house.

Overall, we have enjoyed the first month of using Google Home and are finding more and more uses for it all the time. At $40 each, they were well worth it.


#12

Cooking timer: The clock/alarm app on your phone does a great job of this.

Google Home: So if I understand correctly, you pay Google $40 to install a microphone in your home that’s always on and is connected via the internet to Google HQ. To save you the effort of walking over to one of your devices and pushing it with your finger.


#13

I have had a google home for about a year. I must say I am disappointed with it. Too often she says I can’t help you with that. You type the same question into google on your PC and it answers you straight away. Why is that, very frustrating. So I don’t use it much. Great for finding our the time or weather in a far flung city or country. Other than that…


#14

… except I often leave my phone in another room, on silent, on charge, away from where I might interact with it, for good reason. Unlike a lot of people, I spend most of each day without a mobile phone - at work I never have my mobile phone with me and never see another person with a mobile phone …

I remember getting up to change channels on the television also - not many people do that anymore - but then I don’t watch television either :wink:


#15

We got a Google home mini via a Woolworths promotion. We also purchased a Logitech harmony smart control. The Google home is used most frequently to mute the adverts with a “hey Google, mute” shortcut. This is short for hey Google, ask harmony to mute the tv, which takes longer to process.
We use it for very little else and I’m trying this to pick up tips to use it more.


#16

Not a huge fan of Google ever since using the Chrome browser on my PC became a constant fight with ads and junkmail (even with multiple ad blockers, etc.). Chrome had a nice little habit of blocking web pages from appearing unless I turned off the adblocker, and when I was using my VPN it wouldn’t load anything at all. Paying to let Google have a direct line into my house? LOL. I’ve given Facebook a miss for a while now for the same reasons, people don’t get enough privacy as it is these days.


#17

There are two types of people with regard to privacy - those who think its still possible and those who know it isn’t.
There is one type of privacy available these days - none :slight_smile:
… and that’s the optimistic view I feel …


#18

I’m a glass “half-listened to” type of guy. Do I believe that privacy is still possible? Yes on my 6 acres with my phone turned off and me inside my house lol. When walking down the main street of Tamworth? Hell no, with all the “safety cameras” and stuff around, government departments and corporations know where me and the rest of the Tamworth population are going before we even know ourselves! LMAO


#19

Didn’t buy it, but did get one through a promotion from Woolies everyday rewards. Can’t say I’ve found a use for it, pretty useless energy munching device.


#20

I have a combination of Fibaro Home Center Lite and an Aeotec Smart Switch 6 (Z wave).

They were advertised as working together, part of a ‘Z Wave family’ of compatible devices (including home security detectors, wireless light switches, fire/flood detectors, curtain motors etc) and they have been a staggering disappointment. The Smart Switches DO NOT work. No amount of resetting and re-syncing has fixed the issue. The Home Center picks them up (twice per device), does not differentiate the signals very well and the switches do not respond to on/off commands.

I got discouraged and put the whole box away instead of seeking a refund, hoping I could tackle it again another day. That day hasn’t yet come, eight months later. It’s a real shame because I mostly did it in aid of reducing my overall power consumption.


#21

In my experience, Chrome does not block anything if using blocking apps. Individual web sites block you getting their pages unless you turn the ad blockers off. Ad blockers impinge on the web site’s revenue stream.


#22

Yeah as @meltam advised these websites use Anti adblockers such as provided by Ooyala and BlockAdBlock or code provided by their advertisers such as from ReviveAds and PropellerAds to curtail the use of adblockers on their sites. Most of us use adblockers not because we don’t like ads (though some hate them) but to stop tracking/data collection and improve page readability and response. If you disturb a website’s income too much it may disappear, possibly to your detriment. Unfortunately many of us are loathe to help fund these websites by direct payment so they rely on Ads to fund them.