Technology // Surviving the Summer Holidays with Google Home
A few months ago, I was invited to attend the most wonderful dinner, hosted by Google, in London. It was to celebrate the launch of their new product ‘Google Home’, and we were each sent our own Google Home a couple of weeks later to put to the test.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Google Home has changed our lives. So much so that when we go and stay elsewhere, Nick and I catch ourselves saying “Ok, Google!” only to realise that we’re not at home! It’s most definitely a time saver – and I also love that it means we don’t have to be glued to our phones; if we need information – or fancy playing a song, we can just say “Hey, Google?” or “Ok, Google!” without any extra technology.
The Google Home has been a total sanity saver during the long soggy summer holiday afternoons this year…! And it’s a big hit during playdates too – although there’s usually only one song that gets played on repeat (well, that was until H-Bear discovered we could play the Thomas the Tank Engine theme tune through it…).
We’ve made a little video about how it’s saved our days when the weather has been more than a little pants:
It has SO many features that there’s no way I’ll be able to go into them all in this post. However, I wanted to highlight twelve that we use regularly in our household – and I’m sure you can guess which one is H-Bear’s favourite from the video above.
1. “What sounds does a … make?”
This one is the biggest hit in our household (as you may have guessed). Trains, it’s always trains.
2. “Play <insert song>”
I love that we can link it up to Spotify and don’t have to spend ages scrolling on the computer to find a song we want. It’s been a godsend during the summer holidays when the children have wanted to dance to nursery rhymes and the Frozen soundtrack! The speakers are very impressive too – we’ve used it during birthday parties and BBQs when everyone has been outside, and the sound quality is fantastic.
3. “What is the weather doing today?”
Another extremely useful feature – I ask Google this at least twice a day!
4. “What are the headlines this morning?”
Not one for the children, but I love being able to listen to the news while I make a cup of tea in the morning.
5. “When is the next train from … to … ?”
Again this is a feature that I use at least once a week when I need to catch the train into town.
Other features we use regularly:
- The alarm or timer (great for when you have lots of things cooking that require different times)
- “How long will it take us to drive to…?” We use this when we’re about to embark on a journey to Nick’s parents or somewhere further afield.
- “What is the capital of…?”
- “What is the weather like in…?” (Busby loves this one!)
- “Sing Happy Birthday to me!”
- “Tell us a joke”
- Streaming the radio. I love being able to jump from radio station to radio station, without having to twiddle any knobs!
Last week, Google sent us a deck of cards to try with our Google Home, so I’m looking forward to exploring them a bit more once we’re back from the Lake District!
Another fantastic feature, is that you can use the Google Home (with a Chromecast) to turn the television on, watch YouTube clips through it and even Netflix and iPlayer. I have to admit that it’s not something we’ve used much, but it would be so useful if we had a TV in the kitchen and could watch recipe videos!
The Google Home is very aesthetically pleasing; it’s small, smart and strong. Bases can be bought separately for the Google Home, and come in a range of colours (from copper to teal). I opted for the copper base as thought it went well with our decor.
Returning to the ‘strong’ from above. Living in a house with two very active, slightly manic (at times) children, the Google Home has been knocked over onto the floor a few times now – and it has survived each fall (it has received a little dent in the base, but that is all). It’s a hardy little gadget – and perfectly suited for family life!
The Google Home retails at £129, with the bases costing around £18 extra. We have all been so impressed with this nifty gadget, and I honestly can’t recommend it enough for family life. I’ve barely touched the surface regarding everything it can do, and I can’t wait to continue exploring its capabilities.