hey google…what’s up?

We took our first steps toward home automation. After returning from a visit to a friend’s place, I found myself really interested in the Phillips Hue lights. I like the idea of controlling the lights from a phone, and of course that they could be color changing. My partner pushed back, after mentioning that it seemed to be more work to turn on lights from your phone rather than walking in and flipping a switch. I suddenly realized that his point was valid, especially if we had no voice assistant like Amazon Echo or Google Home. So I started researching more, and decided my implementation of home automation would look something like this:

  1. Purchase a device — was leaning toward an Amazon device at the time, but did not discount the Google Home device.
  2. Purchase smart lights.
  3. Purchase a smart-tv device (either Firestick or Chromecast) to make our upstairs older/not-so-smart TV smarter. I will be leaning toward Chromecast after reading a few articles like this one.
  4. Purchase a start thermostat, like a Nest or Ecobee.

Ultimately,  I decided on a Google Home along with a Google Home Mini. Why? As for the non-researched, purely gut-reaction reasons…

  • While I liked the connectedness of the Echo to my Amazon account, I decided to limit myself so that I couldn’t voice order shit off of Amazon.
  • I thought about brand loyalty and decided that I’m not an Apple fangirl. If there is a brand I could stand with, it would be either Amazon or Google, and quite simply, my perception of Google is higher than it is of Amazon. I could definitely see streamlining all my brands to be more Google-centric, since I have had sneaking thoughts of switching from the iPhone over to a Pixel 2 next time my contract is up for renewal.
  • I’m not sure why (I’ll think on it more), but I believe I trust Google a smidge more with my data than I do Amazon. No logical reason here, just a gut feeling (yes, you can throw this in my face when we all see a headline in the future about how Google has hoarded everyone’s data for nefarious purposes and caused the apocalypse).
  • For Mother’s Day, Google was having a promotion where bundling a Home + Home Mini was $113… compared to Amazon’s Echo Plus which is $150. I knew I’d need at least two devices to cover our floors to make home automation worthwhile, so the Home + Home Mini idea edged out Amazon.

You can find endless lists from folks all around the web comparing the two devices and their merits, and I read quite a number of them. These were just my reasons, and taking into account some of the reviews and specifics I’d read, what influenced my choice to get on board the Google Home train.

I purchased the devices on a Tuesday, and they had been delivered by Friday morning. No extra or express shipping purchased or anything! Impressive. And by Friday evening, I’d set the Home downstairs in the living room (although I will need to play with its placement), and the Home Mini upstairs on one of the nightstands. Since while upstairs, we spend most of our time in the bedroom, this seemed the most logical place for it.

Despite initial resistance and bemusement from my partner, by the next day, I heard him interacting with the device! Hey Google, he called upstairs to the Home Mini, play Spotify.

So for now, it seems that my plan has worked and that there is general acceptance of the device. The next steps will be continuing with the device-implementing process, and refining the commands for Google Home and tying it into the things we do every day.