Today I’m going to be giving you my review of the Google Home Mini that we’ve been using for a little over a month now. I’m going to start off by saying that I’m not sure this is a product that I initially would have ever bought myself. We’ve always been a little wary of them since they are pretty open about the fact that they record the “conversations” you have with the machine. However, we participated in one of those gift exchanges at our annual Christmas party where you can steal gifts from each other and I ended up stealing this one. So I thought why not set it up and give it a try. Plus, I highly doubt I’m saying much that would interest anyone else who may have access to the conversations anyway. Unless you enjoy listening to dance parties with toddlers, then you’ve hit the jackpot Google listeners!
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Here are the product details according to the website:
-Power -5V 1.8A
-Operating system- Android 4.4 and up, iOS 9.1 and up
-Speaker- 360 sound with 40mm driver
The first thing you have to do is download and install the Google Home app. That’s what everything runs through. Right off the bat it makes you sign to acknowledge that your conversations will be recorded. Here is exactly what it says:
“Let friends and family know that their interactions will be stored in your google account unless they link their account. Then they can teach the assistant to recognize their voice. You can view and delete those interactions at myactivity.google.com.”
Next, you get to pick your google voice option. There is a male and a female option. I thought it was pretty cool to be able to choose and you can switch when ever you want.
One important thing to know is that it’s voice activated by the command “Ok, google” or “Hey, google”. I guarantee your kids will remember this quicker than you will.
I’m going to give you a list of the cool things we’ve discovered it can do: (Note that some of these actions require you to link up certain apps in your phone as well, i.e. Uber, Netflix, etc)
-Add items to your shopping list (“Hey Google, add bread to my shopping list”)
-Add events to your calendar (“Ok Google, add dentist to my calendar at noon tomorrow”)You can also ask it commands like “Hey google, what is scheduled for next week?”
-It can look up words in the dictionary (“Ok google, what does sardonic mean?”)
-It can give you a review of your day by asking “Hey google, tell me about my day” and it will give you info from your calendar, the local weather, and a few news updates.
-Read off directions and ingredients of a recipe you’re working on (“Hey Google, start cooking” or “Hey google, start recipe”)
-Tell you weather (“Ok google, whats the weather going to be like today”)
-Tell you what time a particular store in your area opens or closes (“Hey google, what time does the closest Target close”)
-The Google Home Mini can set an alarm or a timer (“Hey google, set an alarm for 8am”)(“Hey google, set a timer for 15 minutes”)
-Will play music you have on your phone (“Ok google, play “Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys on Spotify” or “Ok google, play my classical playlist on Spotify”)
-It can help you find a restaurant nearby(“Ok google, what restaurants are nearby?”) and then when you decide on one say “Ok google, let’s go” and it will send the directions to your phone
-It can tell you a joke based on the wit of Pixar and the onion (“Hey google, tell me a joke”)
-Order you an Uber (“Ok google, get me an Uber”)
-The Google Home Mini will play 20 questions with you (“Hey google, let me talk to Akinator”)
-It will translate another language (“Ok google, how do I say I’m running late in Spanish?”)
-It can do any math for you (“Hey google, what’s 35 x 28” “Hey google, convert 50 USD to pesos”
-It can play different apps on your tv like Netflix or YouTube (“Ok google, watch “Vikings” from Netflix on my tv)
-The Google Home Mini can help you find your lost phone in your house (“Hey google, find/ring my phone”)
-It can call someone in your phone (“Hey google, call Bob”)
I’m sure I’m missing some features but these are the cool ones I’ve discovered so far. Now I’ll give you my pros and cons list:
-The amount of stuff that the the Google Home Mini can do for you is amazing. It saves you the time of stopping and looking everything up yourself. And the voice command is such a handy option when you’re busy cooking or doing something else and don’t want to stop what you’re doing.
-The microphone picks up your voice from far away. It actually shocked me how well it worked.
-I’m not the most tech savvy person but the set up was easy for me. That means pretty much anyone can do it.
-It records and stores your interactions with Google. They can be erased but you have to go in and do it manually.
-Like any other voice activated system, it doesn’t always understand what you’re saying on the first try.
-If you link a credit card for purchasing options just be aware that it will listen to your children if they order something.
Overall I’ve really enjoyed becoming familiar with this product and all it’s features. Now I can’t imagine not being able to just ask a question and have someone ready to give me the correct answer immediately. This brings be a little closer to being ok with robots.