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Technology has come a long way hasn’t it? It feels like everything is so advanced nowadays that it can be a little scary. Scary in a wonderful way though. Because we have so many things at our fingertips to help make our lives a little easier, a little more carefree.
Some technological revolutions haven’t been hugely welcomed by me (I am still not happy that new cars don’t come with CD players!), but some…some make me very happy. And one of those things is the ability to have a home assistant! Yes, you guessed it – we recently found ourselves in receipt of a Google Home speaker and assistant, courtesy of More Than who are running a campaign on how a smart home is a safer home.
I didn’t initially realise was what these little machines are capable of. There is of course the obvious stuff. We can use it to play music – I literally only just signed up to Spotify for the first time ever because of it and am loving selecting playlists and dancing with the boys!). We can sync it to our calendars, it can tell us the time, the weather forecast (I ask it several times a day what it’s doing outside!). Heck, we can even ask it to tell us jokes (Zach’s favourite thing), and play trivia games on it (Mum and I have had fun with this on a Friday afternoon!).
The big thing though, the really big thing, is the ways it can help us around the home – doing things for us and making our homes smarter, cooler (or warmer!), and safer.
One thing I use it for quite a lot is the heating. We have a Hive System* in place and I can ask the Google Home what the temperature is in the house and she will tell me. I can also ask it to increase or decrease the temperature from the comfort of my front room. Just like working alongside the Hive control system, if you have a fancy Nest system* in place, it works with that too. And if you have the right set up, you can control the hot water system too!
Something else that works with the Google Home system is the Ring Video Doorbell*, which I have to say, looks super fancy and fab for security. With the Ring Assistant App, you can ask Google to start a new recording, switch your motion alerts on and off, get a health update on your devices and review your last Ring notification. And the doorbell itself allows you to see who is there and it even has a two way sensor so you can talk to whoever is at the door.
Switch it off!
One really cool thing that I have discovered is Smart Plugs*. These bring the ability to automatically power electronics on and off as needed and they even have an away mode which turns your devices on and off at different times to give the appearance that someone is home. Using the wi-fi (so no additional hub needed), you can use the Google Home assistant to do it for you. So if you are downstairs and you remember that you haven’t switched the plug off upstairs, just ask Google!
And then of course there are the Smart Lights. The most popular (and rather expensive because of the need for a hub) is the Philips Hue*. With the Google Home assistant, you can turn the lights on and off, turn the lighting down or up and even change the colour.
“Hey Google, turn the living room red”
I mean, how cool is that? Of course, with this being pretty pricey, it may be out of reach affordability wise so there are alternative products that don’t need the hub, like the TP-Link Smart LED Wi-Fi Light Bulb* which simply works via the Wi-Fi. You can still control the colours, the on-off facility and the scheduling with Google.
We Are Fans
Overall, I am really surprised at just how much you can do with the Google Home, especially the bits that help to keep your home safer and smarter, and I really hope that in time we can add some of these systems to our home.
We do love the product for the general day to day stuff as well. Although Zach gets slightly annoyed when it can’t hear him, and the Google assistant probably gets fed up of telling jokes all the time! It is learning all the time and so the more questions we ask it, or the more things we ask it to do, the better an assistant it will become. It is small, super easy to set up (a matter of plugging it in and downloading an app!), and looks more like an ornament than a piece of technology!
We were very kindly sent the Google Home for the purpose of this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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