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Google Home Review For Parents

I’m not really a tech person. I’m not the type to have the latest device, to be impressed by new features, or to spend my hard-earned money on shiny new machines that get smaller each year.

Last Christmas, I received the new Google Home as a gift.  At first, I was really suspicious about this device. Having a device in your home that is always connected and always listening sounds like a creepy idea to me. After a few weeks, I decided to finally open the box to try it out. Now, I don’t believe the Google Home will ever go back into the box.  

The Google Home is a voice-controlled speaker that allows you to talk to the device and give orders like you’re talking to a human being. It almost feels like you’re talking to a person.

When you want to ask something you simply say  “OK Google” out loud and then complete your sentence with what you would like Google to do for you. For example, you could say “OK Google, could you please play some pop music?”. You don’t have to be so polite here if you don’t want to, you can just say “Play pop music” and Google Home will respond. For me, I prefer the Canadian style here. 🙂

Just to be clear, my review is not from a technical standpoint. As I said earlier, I’m not a tech person. I will describe the pros and the cons from a family point of view. Especially a family with small kids. Also, I’m not recommending any specific brand or type of voice-controlled device; this is a general review of those devices as a concept.

Google Home and your Family: Pros

Frees up your hands.

This voice-controlled speaker will help you if you need to keep your hands free.
While using the Google Home, I thought about the time when I was breastfeeding my LO, and was stuck sitting on the sofa. I would have loved to be able to put on some music or to check my notes.
When you cook you can ask your device to set a timer, play music, or even call someone. Your time will be much more efficiently used once you start using voice commands.

Spend less time staring at a screen

This is a really good one. The voice device will help you to reduce your family screen time. By screen time I mean all the time you spend holding your mobile device to check something, playing Youtube from your TV, or being entertained by your screen.
Now, you can check the weather, play music, set timers, edit your notes, and check your calendar without holding your mobile device.
As a mom, I know that my LO is watching me all the time and I don’t like the fact that I’m staring at my mobile device when she is around me. Unfortunately, this is something that happens all the time. So instead of checking your device or your laptop, you can check something with your voice-controlled speaker.

Weather updates, just when you need it

As a Canadian, I really need weather updates. A few minutes before my LO and I leave the house, we can ask Google for the weather update. With the most updated information, we can easily choose the proper jacket and the boots. Yes, I could have checked on my phone before I got the Google Home, but when you have almost left the house, and you have kids to take care of, the last thing you have is a spare hand.

I also found that my Google home is way faster than my iPhone or my laptop. The Google home provides an answer right away without needing to open an app.

Google Home is good with kids.

Google Home interacts perfectly with kids. You can ask these devices to spell a word, you can ask what a specific animal sounds like, and any other question like How far is the moon from the earth?

Again, I felt there is a great opportunity here to reduce your kids’ screen time. Kids can now talk and be active, instead of being passive in front of the screen.

Google Home and your Family: Cons

Little kids can’t understand the concept of the voice-controlled device.

It is always there, listening to you, and answering our questions. In the first week, My LO was walking around the house and saying “Hey Google, Hey Google” like it was a kind of mantra. She was copying me, but she didn’t understand why I was talking to Google. It was really cute, but I am still undecided about how I feel about that. 🙂

Big Brother is Watching

Google is around us all day long, helping us, but we can’t see it. Sometimes, having a Google Home starts to feel like the novel 1984, and I wonder if Google will be soon the new “God” or the “Big Brother” for those kids.
I don’t know how I feel about a device that is always listening to us no matter what we’re doing.

The Voice-Controlled Devices Require Wifi

Once, when I set an alarm for the next day, our Wifi went down during the night. No Wifi, no Google Home, and no alarm, 🙁

So keep that in mind, you can’t really trust the device if your Wifi shuts down from time to time (We can thank our ISP,  Rogers, for that unpleasant phenomenon).

Be careful about the playlists you choose (and the F-word)

Once you ask for music, Google will play a playlist from Google play music.
More than once, an inappropriate song would begin playing a few songs into the playlist. These songs were definitely not something I would want my LO to hear at home.
There is an option to create your own playlists and ask Google to play your playlists only. I thought that this is something that I should mention to you here.

The bottom line is that now that I have my Google Home, I know how much these devices make my life easier. It is now my official Mommy helper.  More and more companies are working right now to connect their digital assets with the voice-controlled devices like Google Home. In the near future, we will be able to do more tasks with those devices.

I hope I helped you to make your decision about these devices or encouraged you to learn more.

Don’t forget to comment here if you want to add your opinion or ask any questions.

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Google Home and Your Family
Diel Gerber
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