For Christmas last year, I got our household a Google Home.
Before last year, I had been totally against the idea of getting one. I thought it sounded completely ridiculous to talk to a piece of plastic, and ask it the weather.
My mind started to change when I stayed with family for a few weeks. They had a Google Home in their kitchen and were regularly using it and I just had to get one for our home.
After living with Google for 6 months, let me share with you the Pros and Cons of owning a Google Home, so you can decide if it’s a good investment for your household.
Pros of Google Home
Google Home has the ability to determine who is speaking, based on their voice.
If I were to ask Google who I am, it would tell me I am Jess.
(When my fiance askes Google who he is, it replies with “The Master” because that is the name he has given it for himself.)
When you set up your Google Home, other people in the house can connect to it using their own accounts.
Through their accounts they then connect their own services – Netflix, YouTube, Spotify etc.
Because Google has the ability to determine who is who, when you say “Google, Play music”, it will play music from the speakers Spotify.
Why is this so great? Because it means that Spotify won’t recommend music my fiance likes to me, and when I say “Hey Google, Like this song”, it will save the song to my personal account.
Another great thing about the voice recognition is reminder setting.
When you set a reminder for a specific event, an alarm goes off when it is time. However, Google won’t tell anyone what the reminder is for, unless they are the one who created it.
For such a handy little thing, it is actually quite affordable.
We got ours for $109 in Australia.
Google Home devices come in 3 sizes, which means you are bound to find the right one for your home!
Incredibly helpful with small children
This device has saved my sanity so many times.
There have been times when I have been trying to juggle dinner, hands full and a toddler clinging to my legs.
Because our Google Home sits on our kitchen bench, I can say things like “hey google, play peppa pig on youtube” or “hey google, play the wiggles” and it will cast a show/play music that gives me some breathing space.
All without having to use my already full hands.
Plus a cute bonus, my little girl thinks that Google has feelings.
It once fell off the bench, and she insisted it got a bandaid – too cute!
Decent sound quality for such a small device
Google doesn’t look like much. She is a white cylinder sitting on a grey speaker (you can customise this look, more on this later!).
For such a simple little thing, it actually sounds pretty good! It isn’t as bass-y as I would like, though.
Google Home can play games
You can never be bored with Google.
She knows a huge range of games, from Trivia to Spoken RPG quests based off Dungeons and Dragons.
My favourite is Song Quiz. It plays snippets of songs from your chosen decade and you can either play against people in your house or randomly chosen players from around the world.
I play this when I am cleaning, it keeps me entertained enough to enjoy doing the dishes.
Huge knowledge base
When you want to know something, your first thought is probably to “Google it”.
Google Home is, well, Google.
It is connected to everything Google is connected to, knows everything Google knows. So when you are asking her questions, she sources the answer from millions and millions of websites.
Connectivity – Google Chrome, Etc
If you are a Android user or have other Google devices in your home (Such as a Chromecast), then Google Home is fantastic for connectivity.
She connects to most things with ease, and they all work together in unisense.
It also easily connects to other smart objects, such as Phillips WiFi lightbulbs.
Customise your Google Home
Don’t like the white and grey look of your Google Home? That’s fine, there are plenty of alternative options out there!
You can get decals, or slide on cases similar to the one pictured.
It isn’t a subscription service
Everything is a subscription service these days, and it is slowly becoming an issue.
When you have 20 subscriptions for $10 a month, that is $200 a month on subscriptions. Adobe, Microsoft Office, Netflix.. all subscriptions.
Google Home doesn’t have this, thankfully! Once you buy her, she is yours to use without any additional cost.
Of course, if you want something like Netflix, you need to pay for that. But the usage of Google Home is free after you purchase your device.
It has a mute button
If you are feeling unsure about the idea of Google always listening, there is a mute button on the device.
This does make it a bit less interactive, as you need to unmute her every time you want to use her – but it adds some peace of mind
Broadcasting from one Google Home to another
Broadcasting basically means that you can send a spoken message from the Google Home app or device, and have it played on another device in your house.
My fiance mostly use this to annoy each other, sending each other messages while in seperate rooms. But it is a great feature for a normal family too!
Google Home can find your phone – even if its on silent!
When you lose your phone (daily occurance for me), you can ask your Google Home device to call your phone.
Even if it is on silent, she will make it ring at full volume.
If you only bought a Google Home for this feature, it would 100% be worth it!
This, unfortunately, doesn’t work for iPhone users (yet).
Luckily for me, I am an Android user!
Cons of Google Home
“The Lazy Factor“
With convenience comes the feeling of being lazy.
I do feel that I have become lazier in some ways.
Take broadcasting for example, while yes – I do love tormenting my fiance from afar. It does stop me from getting off my ass and walking to the other end of the house as often.
The Google Home app can be frustrating
I personally find the Google Home app to be frustrating sometimes.
Not everything is as easy to find as one would hope.
For example, my account was for some unknown reason connected to my brothers Spotify, so I needed to update it.
To update connected apps (such as Spotify), you need to do it through the Google Assistant App, which is a separate app that can also be accessed through the Google Home Settings.
Can sometimes have difficulty hearing and understanding
Sometimes I wonder if Google needs her hearing checked.
It doesn’t always hear you, or hear correctly.
She also doesn’t always understand what you are trying to say. In a lot of situations, your wording needs to be completely clear and concise.
This is mostly down to a communication barrier, however, it can be frustrating when you need to reword a question 4 times and you end up yelling “H-E-Y G-O-O-G-L-EEEE!”
No wireless option (Needs to be plugged into the wall)
The cable for Google Home is quite decent in length, but it would still be much nicer to have a battery option/back up so she can be moved around.
You can purchase a portable battery base for them, but it would be nice if this was standard.
If the idea of a portable Google Home entices you, make sure you check out these stylish ones from Nintey7!
Limited iPhone capibility
Our Google Home can connect to iphones fine, but options are more limited.
From my Chrome browser on my Android, I can stream just about anything.
On my fiances iPhone, his Chrome browser has no option to cast videos or his screen.
Not a huge biggie, but still worth noting.
Google Home sometimes turns itself on
If you get a Google Virtual Assistant, I highly recommend you turn on the feature that forces Google to make noise whenever she is “listening”
We have noticed that a few times during the evening she will randomly turn herself on and then back off after a few seconds.
The only reason we have noticed this is because we turned on the sound that indicates she is listening.
If anyone knows why this actually happens, we’d love to know!
While not perfect, Google Home is a really useful device to add to your home.
From timers to weather reports, Google Home can help improve small areas of your life for the most part.
Whether you’re an individual or a family, Google Home fits right in. She can solve debates with fact-finding and settle who does the dishes with a coin flip.
Overall, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. It will bring more music to your home and allow you to be more hands on with your high energy children.
Want to learn more ways to use your Google Home?
Where to buy
If you’re in Australia, you can pick one up at most electronic stores such as Jb HiFi or Harvey Norman.