In this digital age, one of my biggest guilts as a parent, is the amount of time spent on my phone, tablet or Mac. I seriously should have shares in some tech company! This is even worse since becoming a blogger due to the amount of social media activity and constant online work. Whether it’s researching our next holiday or writing about our last, anything to get me away from the screen is a win. Being a mum, I want to be more present, especially when the little ones are around. We were recently gifted a Google Home hands-free smart speaker to try.
By using the phrase ‘Hey Google’ or ‘OK Google’ you can pretty much ask the speaker anything. From the weather to the price of flights or to tell you a joke, Google Home is definitely pretty clever and high tech! Whilst of course it’s not a necessary gadget, I do love the fact it reduces screen time. The associated hashtag of moreinthemoment couldn’t be more fitting.
Of course, the device is not completely fool proof and does sometimes get it wrong, especially when I speak in my strong Irish accent. Nonetheless, here are a few ways I have found the Google Home smart speaker to be super useful in our chaotic lives.
Google Home – how can it help a travel mad family?
Ask Google Home to look up flights
As a ‘Travel Mad Mum’ one of my favourite pastimes is to look up and find affordable flights to different destinations. Its kind of addictive, right? I can spend hours on Skyscanner and other search engines. By simply asking Google Home what the cheapest flight is to and from a destination, it will give you a price. Google Home asks if you would like an email notification when the price changes. Only this morning, I got an email telling me a flight to Vancouver we were interested in had dropped in price. I was quite impressed.
Set events in calendar
Google Home can input events in your Google calendar. I find this quite useful when I suddenly remember something. Of course it’s totally not necessary and I could just whip out my computer and do it myself but, why, when I can simply ask Google Home to do it?
Road trip planning
I am notorious for running out the door and quickly trying to set up the sat nav to get to my destination. Unfortunately my sat nav is not always clever enough to divert around busy areas and get me to the end point the quickest way. Google Home is great when asking for some last minute directions on my way out the door with toddler on one hip, bag on the other.
Although Google Home cannot book a hotel (yet), it can cleverly make recommendations. By asking ‘hey Google what is the best hotel in Vancouver?’ or ‘what is the cheapest hotel in Vancouver?’ Google assistant can make recommendations. Whilst I think I would always do a lot more research on hotels, it provides a nice taster for the price range.
Can assist with finding activities for trips
Keeping with the Vancouver theme (can you tell where my next holiday will be?) I asked Google Home for a list of family friendly activities. I was impressed with the detail provided, albeit an overview, it was helpful to say the least. Again, I think with time the technology will evolve and allow us to book tickets etc.
It’s a portable size
We love music in this house and always bring a speaker with us when travelling. The Google Home speaker is portable and a size that is easy to pack in the suitcase. It would only work where there is WIFI and power, just something to keep in mind.
And all the non-travel specific features
Besides from all the things we love about it for travel, there are plenty more features relevant to the home. Being travel enthusiasts, we haven’t had much time to put them to use. However here is what I do know:
Chrome cast is a USB stick that goes into the TV. It allows Google Home to connect with Netflix and You Tube. You can fast forward or rewind whatever you are watching. I guess the most impressive function is it can link in with your house electrics, allowing you to control your lighting and heating with your voice.
Lots more features to come
Google Home is very much in its infancy and has so many other cool features on the horizon. The US version is already more advanced with features such as online shopping. Other great ideas such as booking a taxi are also on the cards. I imagine as it gains momentum with different features it will become as popular as the TV in every household. It’s definitely the direction in which technology is moving.
I was surprised to learn they retail for only £129GBP. I had expected it to be more when I first attended its launch. The one hidden cost is a subscription to Google Play which is £10GBP per month. Its necessary to subscribe to be able to play your favourite song or artist from the Google Play library.
Disclaimer: Google gifted us the Google Home speaker. There was no obligation to write or share any information about the product. All views expressed are my own.
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