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Did you guys ever see that Disney Channel original movie Smart House from the early 2000s? That was one of my favorite Disney Channel movies even thought it was incredibly cheesy. So, when my husband started talking about wanting a smart house, I just brushed it off – I wasn’t about to be controlled by a crazy Katey Sagal. So I brushed it off and we went about our lives.
Until recently. As many of you probably don’t know, we have been having some issues with some family members and my husband has been frantically trying to update our home security as a safety precaution. We ended up getting some NEST security equipment, including the NEST doorbell (which I’ll be doing a post on in the future, so if you’re interested, make sure you’re subscribed!). Well, long story short we had to hire someone to help us install the damn thing. The gentleman who installed it was telling us about how the doorbell is compatible with the Google Home system – and he just so happened to have a Google Home Mini in his truck, which he ever so kindly threw in with our installation.
And thus my friends is when the madness began. We started with one Google Home Mini in Chalk. One. My husband quickly discovered everything it could do and now we have one Google Home and seven Google Home Minis. How. This has led further into a descent of madness in which apparently we have to upgrade several things in our home to solidify our “Smart Status”. And that’s how we ended up here, where I’m writing a blog post about 8 reasons why you need this – because I do admit the little buggers are pretty damn cool. This is the beginning of yet another series where I talk about the “Smart Home” products we have and why they’re worth the dough. Let’s get started!
Google Home – White ($129)
This is the main unit that is used to control the smaller units. We keep this one in our dining room.
Google Home Mini – Chalk ($49.00)
These are the little baby units that we have throughout our house.
- They are voice and phone controlled.
You control these by saying “Hey, Google” or “OK, Google” and then your request, just like Siri on the iPhone. You can also use the Google Home app on your phone and control it from anywhere – Kylor particularly enjoys giving it commands while he is at work to freak the rest of us out.
- You can “broadcast”.
Broadcasting with a Google Home is basically making any Google Homes within your house a giant intercom system. You can have it “broadcast” anything, which means it will relay the voice message over any Google Home on your Home Network. You can also broadcast simple messages, like “Hey Google, broadcast It’s Time For Dinner” and Google will play a horn and say (in her own voice) “It’s Dinner Time!”
- You can play music.
This is pretty cool. Google Home works as a bluetooth speaker. You can play Youtube Red, Spotify, Pandora, Google Music and preloaded music sounds. We have these in the kids rooms and have actually replaced their sound machines with these. We play music on Spotify for Gibson and “lullabies” that are built into the Google Home for Monroe. Ramsey will probably get White Noise (also built into the Google Home) when she starts sleeping in her own room. I like to listen to Youtube Red and Pandora when I’m cooking or cleaning.
- You can set alarms.
Google Home can replace your alarm clock! When you tell Google “Goodnight”, she will go through your “nighttime” routine, which is set up in your personal settings. One of the things that we use it for is to set an alarm for the next morning – which you can turn off by yelling “OK GOOGLE SHUT UP”, which is particularly pleasing on early mornings.
- You can have a cooking buddy.
Yeah, she’ll help you cook. All you have to do is ask for a ____ recipe (whatever you want). She will give you suggestions based on a Google search and once you select a recipe, she will give you the ingredient list (you control the speed by telling her “next” when you’re ready for the next item) and then she will walk you step-by-step through the recipe, waiting for your “Next Step” command before proceeding. What I love about this is that I can listen to music and after long stretches of time ask for the next step and she always picks up right where we left off – and then goes straight back to the music until I ask for the next step again!
- You can change your thermostat.
If you have a compatible thermostat (our newest addition), you can have Google change the temperature for you. I hate using the thermostat and I always seem to mess up the temperature settings, which causes Kylor to FREAK OUT, so it’s great to just ask Google to set it to 74 degrees and have it be done!
- You can control your lights.
We have a couple of Philips Hue lights in our home. We can just ask Google to turn them on or off and we can ask her to change the color! It’s great for the kids, they love it! Kylor also has it set up so that when his voice says goodnight, part of his “nighttime routine” is having the lights in the hallway turned off.
- You can ask it any question that you would ask the Google search engine.
I mean, this is probably self explanatory, but it’s a really nice feature. It’s especially helpful when you’re debating with your husband and need to prove you’re the correct one.
I have really fallen in love with these things. They’re totally pompous, but they really are convenient. They offer a ton of features – I just chose my favorite 8. I really do think these are worth the cost and you can choose how many or few you want in your home so you can customize the cost to your needs. It’s a great way to dip your toes into the Smart Home pond. Just be warned – it’s quite the rabbit hole.
Do you have any Google Homes? Where would you put these in your house?