Saturday, November 24, 2018

Google Home Hub

I picked up the Google Home Hub from Wal-Mart during their Black Friday sale. It was selling for $99 which is down from it's usual retail price of $149. Also, Wal-Mart was offering a $10 Vudu movie credit along with the purchase. Now that I've sat with it for about 24 hours, what do I think?

At the very least, Google Home Hub makes a great digital picture frame. When it's idle, I have it showing a stream of my best pictures. But what makes for a "best" picture? What are the criteria? I don't know. They're hand selected by Google's algorithm. In Google We Trust!

But, what else can it do? Well, first off, I purchased a number of Merkury Innovations Color Smart A21 Light Bulbs to integrate with Google Home so that I can say "Hey Google, turn off the living room lights" or "Hey Google, turn on my bedroom lights". Turning the lights on or off with the voice command is a pretty neat trick, especially when I'm waking up, going to sleep, or walking into the house when it's dark out and the living room lights are out. I'm also fond of having Google read me the news on command. The speaker is decent enough where I'm not noticing any issues with sound quality. The display, however, is smaller than I would like, which is an issue when I'm trying to follow a recipe on video. Google Home can also play your Google Play Music playlists, and that's where you'll notice that the speaker on the Google Home Hub sounds a little flat.

We haven't quite mastered the shared aspects of Google Home yet. When someone in the house asks to add an item to the shopping list, Google Home adds it to their own individual shopping list rather than a shopping list belonging to the entire house. I'm sure there's a way around that. One of the neater things I can do is leave a voice note on Google Home Hub saying, for example "Don't forget to feed the dog" and when a Google Home device is next accessed, the message will play using my own voice.

I guess my ultimate verdict on Google Home Hub right now is "So far, so good". I'm waiting to integrate more services into it like a Nest Thermostat and a Nest Doorbell before making a final decision.

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