Google Home Mini

Discussion in 'Android OS' started by jigwashere, Dec 9, 2018.

  1. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    Google Home doesn't really have an intercom feature like Alexa has. The feature on Google Home is more like a public address (PA) feature. Say, "OK Google, broadcast <message>" and Google records the message. It then replays the message on all Google Home devices (except smartphones). You can't even select which device to broadcast - it goes to all of them that are on the same WiFi network. People in the house can respond with their own broadcast, but again, it goes to all Home devices. I can initiate the broadcast from my smartphone while away from home, but it's one-way and no one can respond. They would have to call me. The broadcast feature on Google Home will be useful, but Alexa's Drop In is a much superior intercom.
     
  2. headcronie

    headcronie Greyscale. Nuff Said. Super Moderator

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    I've never used the 'intercom' functionality. That would be a nice feature. I could see my in-laws using that feature, if they could hear well enough. As it is right now, if one of them is in the basement, they will use their cell phone to call the house phone for the person upstairs. *facepalm* Mind you, this cellphone is a flip-phone from untold years ago. But that's a completely different story, and parts of which roils me to no end. *deep breath* *walks away from it* *not worth it*

    So I got around to fiddling with the Echo Show a bit more. It could be so much more. "I'm not sure about that." That's a line I've gone bonkers over. I've determined that Alexa is a halfwit. I can't even say "Echo, play Doctor Who, Season 10, Episode one" without getting some messed up result. Echo, open Amazon Video. "Okay." No search. No ability to find something to watch through the visual interface. It's like navigating blind, but you can see. You can of course click on any displayed suggestion for you, but good luck finding anything not already in front of your eyes. That's on Amazon's own video library? Truly disappointing.

    I loaded Hulu on the Echo Show. That's better, but has no way to select who is watching. We've got multiple profiles for Hulu, but that option is nowhere to be seen. That means that my parents feed gets all screwed up if I use it. Sorry Mom and Dad, I tried. Yes, I watched that... that too. :eek: It's their Hulu account, as it is attached to their Sprint family plan, which they have all of us 'big' kids on. :D

    Netflix is a no go. No skill, and neither the Silk browser or Firefox allow to you play anything. Both tell you to get the Android app, which is not possible.

    The daily news brief is nice - same content as was available via the regular Echo, but this time with video. I'll have to show that to my better half, as she laments the fact that she feels out of the loop on news since we cut cable a few years back. In my opinion, sometimes not knowing the news is better for your emotional well-being. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    But, it is managing our smart outlets, it plays Pandora just fine, and usually manages to play my Plex music library. And for a video drop in, it's better than FaceTime, Skype, or the like. It's dead simple. :)

    I'll keep working on this thing. Maybe I can train myself how to use it in a way which it will understand. :D
     
  3. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    Have………you………tried………speaking………really………slowly………? Maybe………that………would………help,………h………c
     
  4. headcronie

    headcronie Greyscale. Nuff Said. Super Moderator

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    I am from southern Minnesota. Place ya gotta go ta. We're the mighty Vikings, ya, sure, you betcha!

    I don't have an accent unless my nose is plugged. The Alexa app gets what I am saying as evidence shows my exact words in the Alexa app, but simply cannot act on those words. It just has far less ability to actually do anything with the input I give it.

    Good point on speaking slower. That certainly could be an issue for some people. But up here in this neck of the woods, we speak fast as molasses in January. :D



    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 using Tapatalk
     
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  5. lelisa13p

    lelisa13p Your Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Have you tried saying "pretty please"? :vbwink:
     
  6. headcronie

    headcronie Greyscale. Nuff Said. Super Moderator

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    *Sigh*

    I'll give that a try today. Who knows... might just work. :eek:
     
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  7. EdmundDantes

    EdmundDantes Mobile Deity

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    Okay, maybe I'm dumb, but what's wrong with calling the house phone with a cellphone? My father and mother do it to each other all the time. Yes they have cordless handsets with intercom (although the latest ones require more steps than the last set); but sometimes the handset is not at hand.

    Intercom functionality is nice. If one can integrate Siri into the Apple Home device that might work for my parents, although (inconveniently) my father is on Android and my mother is on iOS, so one or the other would likely be locked out from using a single assistant.
     
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  8. headcronie

    headcronie Greyscale. Nuff Said. Super Moderator

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    It's not that the concept is bad (intercom), it's the reasoning behind it in this situation. Discussing further... yeah. Nope. :)

    DirtyLaundry.jpg

    So... in Forrest Gump fashion - "That's all I have to say about that."
     
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  9. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    It's been fun and frustrating trying out the Google Home Mini. I was skeptical about it's usefulness, but as I started playing and came across a deal for 2 more very cheap ones, I got excited about the possibilities and ended up with 3 Minis in my collection. Now that I've had some time with them, I'm not very impressed. :) The Mini is a novelty item, and it's already starting to get old. I'll continue trying to make them useful, though. I guess. ;)

    One Mini is in my media room and I've set it up to work with the Harmony Remote to control the TV, cable box, receiver, DVD, and Roku. I can turn the TV on. I can turn the TV off. It's a bit frustrating and awkward, but I can even sometimes get it to change the channel or switch over to the Roku or DVD play. Of course, I always need the remote control handy when the Mini can't figure out what I'm asking and/or the functionality just doesn't exist. Quite frankly, I'm not overly impressed with the always-highly-lauded Harmony Remote, either, but at least it usually gets the job done. The Mini, on the other hand, is pretty useless.

    One Mini is on my desk in my office. I can get it to tell me about my day, read me the news, tell me the weather, and play some music. But, um, my PC already does that for me without the annoying Google Assistant giving me a greeting and/or telling me it can or can't do what I'm asking. Seriously? I don't really need all the feedback. Besides, the cheap PC speakers that came with my computer sound than the Mini.

    The 3rd Mini is on my desk in my office. Haven't plugged it in, yet. :D

    A couple of other issues I have with the Mini:
    1. Anybody can use it. If you walk into my house and say "Hey Google" or "Okay Google," you can control my TV. Apparently there is voice recognition capability, but that only means Google can differentiate between people and should theoretically provide a bit of a barrier from others adding things to my ToDo list, etc.
    2. It's not an intercom - just a PA system that delivers announcements to all devices on the network. No controls.
    So, what does all this mean for my future with Google Home? I'm not sure. Maybe it'll get better with time.

    What about other IoT devices? My home came with 2 Nest thermostats (2 zones), and I like being able to control them remotely. The smoke/carbon monoxide detectors are due for replacement, and I like the Nest Protect Smart Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm. I wouldn't mind getting a smartlock for the passage door between the house and the attached garage (I don't want one for the front door) and some day, a smart garage-door controller (GoGoGate 2?). :newpalm:
     
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  10. headcronie

    headcronie Greyscale. Nuff Said. Super Moderator

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    I am glad that I am not alone in feeling that these things are a novelty. There is some fun to them, but the general utility of them is spotty on things it should do, and a let down for simple tasks it should have been able to do but can't.

    There is hope they will get better with time, but for now they seem more like an unfinished toy.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 using Tapatalk
     
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