Google Home: What can it actually do?

The opportunities we have with technology now and what is available to do at the touch of a screen is amazing. But it’s recently stepped up a gear, now we can just use our voice… baffling. So I thought I’d use this post to talk about the top things Google Home and Mini actually do and how to make the most of it.

If you buy a Google Home/Mini you will need to connect it to your phone, with the Google Home app. That’s where your base is and how you can control your device.

The main thing to consider is that buying the ‘Google Home’ is just the first step, it’s like buying one ingredient and expecting a meal, you could eat it on it’s own but you need to buy multiple things to get a nice meal, you know?

So for example, without adding anything you can:

  • listen to the radio
  • pause/ change volume and turn off music
  • ask questions like what’s the date/time/latest news stories
  • set alarms (eg remind you to check the oven in 30 mins)
  • calculator, yes you can ask it maths! Hurrah!
  • create a shopping list

All of these things are really handy, especially for a wheelchair user like myself. In pain and can’t turn to see the clock? No probs just shout “Hey Google, what’s the time”. I am lucky enough to have an en suite so when I’m having a bath I can voice control what music I want to play – bliss. Obvs it’s mostly Celine Dion. All of these things are obviously a luxury, but it’s brilliant to just be able to do the odd thing by voice rather than using physical energy.

However, if you want to get a more techy home that’s when you need to buy accessories such as wifi plug sockets and wifi lightbulbs. Here are the plug sockets I have bought – but there are plenty to choose from on Amazon or any electrical appliance shop. Just remember when you are ordering or buying to check in the description if it works with ‘Google Assistant’.

image of white wifi plug connected to a charger and a table with a grey google mini on top

It took me about 10 minutes to set up the wifi plugs and it’s honestly amazing. I think the best thing about them is that you can schedule your plugs. So I have a bright lamp that helps me wake up, the problem before was that I had to get in my wheelchair and go put it on – by then I was already (semi) awake. Now I can schedule for when I want to wake up or I can say ‘Google, turn the lamp on’. Boom, Gem is buzzing.

In our house, we have the Google Home in the Kitchen and a Google Mini in my bedroom. I would say they are both pretty similar. The only real difference I can tell is that the volume goes a little louder at the maximum volume. So if you’re interested in buying one but not too sure which one, I’d say go for the Mini if you don’t want to have booming volume.

A funny trick you can do if you have multiple Google’s is ‘broadcast’ a message to other Google devices in the house. So, for example, you can say ‘Ok Google, broadcast’ then it will ask ‘ok what is your message’ then you speak your message eg ‘food is ready!’. I’ve had A LOT of fun with this, especially pretending I’m speaking on a supermarket tannoy. Haha. But on a serious note, it is comforting to know that I can shout a message to the house if anything happens like I fall or anything.

So there we go, that’s just a little insight into what the Google Home/Mini does! I would say it’s completely worth it if you have the money to buy one. It has honestly changed the way I do things for the better and has become part of my daily routine so I wanted to share to any fellow disabled friends and readers too. However, I would say it’s a shame that it is so expensive. I would love to fill the house with WiFi sockets but that’s just not something I can do. If you’re thinking to purchase this, I hope this post has helped in some way.

Feature photo credit: @nicklbaert

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