The holiday season is fast approaching, and there is always so much to do. So, wouldn’t it be awesome if you had your own personal assistant to help out? Well, I can’t offer you your own personal Man Friday, however I can tell you about how you can get a little help and have happy voice-activated holidays using Google Home
What is Google Home?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or been in a serious coma for the past decade, then you’re familiar with the voice-activated digital assistant software that comes on most smartphones, tablets and computers. You’ve either seen a friend play with theirs or you’ve used yours to find directions or to get some info from the Internet. Press a button on your phone, or say the activation keyphrase, and you can ask for info on the nearest restaurants, or find out who that actor was who played in that movie.
Google Home is just like that, except instead of being your phone’s digital voice-activated assistant, it is for your living space. It’s essentially a “smart” speaker that is connected to the Internet, responds to your voice, and can control a plethora of devices in your home. Now, just imagine how Google Home could come in handy over the holidays. Okay, you don’t really need to imagine, because I’m going to tell you.
Control your Room’s Holiday Spirit with Google Home
There is nothing like the enchanting, warm atmosphere of a living room decorated and full of the Christmas Spirit during the holidays. If you have compatible lights, thermostat, and electrical plugs, you can control the whole serene scene with ease using Google Home. Just say “Okay Google” to activate the speaker, and tell the Google Assistant to dim the lights and turn on the Christmas tree. You can also tell Google Home to lower the thermostat, because you’ve got that roaring fire going in the fireplace. Don’t forget to put it out before bed, though, or Santa won’t be able to come down the chimney!
Track Santa on his Annual Trek with Google Home
One of the most fun things to do in my home on Christmas Eve is to track Santa Claus across the globe as he delivers gifts. NORAD usually provides the service, and you can forgo logging into your computer to surf to NORAD’s website, and instead just say “Hey Google, where’s Santa?” and the Google Assistant will give you the location of the “Jolly Old Elf” as he makes that miraculous journey of goody-giving. So now, instead of you doing the looking up, your kids can have the fun of asking Google Home Santa’s location whenever they want. Can anyone else hear the squeals of excitement and anticipation?
Find the Perfect Holiday Recipe with Google Home
I have a tradition that every year I call my Mom and ask her how to cook a turkey for the holidays. I’ve cooked countless turkey dinners since having a family of my own, and she knows it, however we both kind of acknowledge that it’s just an annual thing for me to call and get cooking advice. But, for those who don’t want to call mom, or want to do it on their own, imagine how great it would be to just ask the Google Assistant how long you need to cook a 14 pound turkey, and not have to wash your hands and pore through some Home Ec. websites. And you can get all your holiday favourites easily, just by saying something like “Hey Google, find me a recipe for pumpkin pie.” If you cook with a slow cooker, you can use a Google Home compatible plug, and even have its assistant take care of turning on the meal at a designated time. That gives you more time to enjoy some egg nog, open gifts, and not worry so much about the festive feast.
Google Home Lets You Play Holiday Music Anytime You Want
What would the holidays be without seasonal music, right? Okay, for me, if it isn’t the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, it just isn’t Christmas. I’ll also accept David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s Little Drummer Boy, or that Run DMC ditty. My daughter is a Holiday Season crazy person, and would play Christmas music year-round if she could. With Google Home, you can get any song, any time (have you tried Spotify? Music on-demand and it’s awesome with Google Home) just by asking. So, it is always easy to set the mood around the tree, or during dinner. And because Google Home is connected to the Internet, you can also ask for lists of Holiday movies to watch, and then tell your compatible home theatre (it synchs with Chromecast and works with streaming services like Netflix) to play your favourite. It’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, isn’t it? You can tell me.
Looks Nice, Sounds Awesome, Comes in Different Sizes
So, as you can see, Google Home lets you control almost anything you want in your home (as long as you have a compatible device, light, plug, etc) easily and just by using your voice, and it connects you in a whole new and personal way to the information you want on the internet, from staying up-to-date about your schedule, commute, flight information, or grocery shopping, to the latest weather, traffic, finance, sports, and much more. It really is like having a virtual assistant you can boss around. You can also have lots of fun with Google Home – believe me.
My daughter actually bought one a while back for her room, and I take great malicious glee in running into her room when she’s reading quietly and yelling “Okay Google, play Led Zeppelin…, LOUD!” and then running away. I tell ya, kids today…no sense of humour.
But aside from its uniquely versatile functionality, Google Home is also pretty sleek looking. It’s a round, little speaker, kind of like a small vase shape, white with grey accents, with some swirly little multi-coloured lights on top. It is just small enough to not really be noticeable, or no more than a small air filter/purifier, or something. The sound is pretty good, too, and it does indeed fill a room nicely when you want to get some party music happening. It also comes in the Google Home Mini flavour, too, which is a little smaller, hockey-puck-like device with the similar functionality. Take a look at all the compatible devices available at Best Buy, and let me know if you would find Google Home handy over the holidays in the comment section below.