• How Does Google Get a Microphone into Every Home? With Free Donuts, Of Course!

    This post isn't really about mobile tech, but Google's "AI" Assistant is also available on Android phones. So there's that.

    Last night, on a post-dinner stroll past The Eaton Centre, the girlfriend and I happened upon this pop-up Google Home Mini Donut Shop. It was closed for the night but will be open again today if you're planning a visit to downtown Toronto. If you are then there's two things you should know: (1) the foodie verdict is that the donut supplier, Jelly Modern Doughnuts, is terrible, with baked goods better suited to Instagram than your actual mouth; (2) what's ultimately being peddled here is of dubious value to you and I.

    The upside for Google is obvious. Their cheap and cheerful Home Mini plants a permanent microphone where you live that's always listening—at least for the trigger phrase that activates its software assistant. Massive implications for your privacy aside, I just don't get the point of Google Assistant at all, if there even is one. Like I said, I've got it on my phone, and to me so far it seems like a more cumbersome version of voice search. I don't really need my phone talking back at me when there's already a beautiful HD screen in front of my face that can show me the same information in a better way.

    It took the better part of a decade to sway people from talking on their phones to typing on them. In that way Google Assistant—and Siri, too, for that matter—feels like a regression.

    Back to Google Home, I've an old high school friend who swears by his. He's constantly telling it to set reminders, read him the news, change the volume on his Google Home... Hearing him gush over it honestly perplexes me, and certainly keeps me from wanting to drop by his place for a visit. I suppose I could see some value in it for people with mobility issues, but here's a thought: the more people rely on these things the more they risk ending up with mobility issues of their own making, if you get what I'm saying.

    So someone, anyone, please enlighten me as to what I'm not getting about Google Home. Or Google Assistant. Or HomePod, Alexa or whatever else. And in the meantime enjoy your free donuts in Austin, Brooklyn, Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Madison, Manhattan, Oklahoma City, San Francisco, St. Louis and Toronto. Check the Android Police link below for dates and times.

    Links: Android Police, blogTO

    This article was originally published in forum thread: How Does Google Get a Microphone into Every Home? With Free Donuts, Of Course! started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. schultzter's Avatar
      schultzter -
      Yeah! All we wanted was hover boards and flying cars!

      Instead we got omniscient talking pocket super computers!!!

      But seriously, in a family household having a shared device that anyone can access without physically having it is attractive. And without the pain of having to watch someone hunt & peck on a keyboard that's desperately trying to guess which word they're spelling (incorrectly)!!!
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      So what do you access on it, exactly?
    1. sims's Avatar
      sims -
      Most frequently? The weather. I have a google home at work and a amazon echo at home.

      I prefer the echo as it has a variety of skills you can add to it. I ended up adding a skill called big sky that i use for very specific weather information like "what will the temperature be at 5AM tomorrow?" Google currently can't do that and there isn't a way to add it.

      However google wins by far in general knowledge go ahead ask it a stupid question it can probably tell you the answer. I think echo has a Wikipedia skill that I've yet to try but that's not really the same.

      Oh and you can call people with them they link into your phone contacts for names and numbers (if allowed) so you can say call "name of contact in your phone" and it will do it. You can also ask it to dial a number or call any local buisness.

      Music the echo is linked into spotify so it can play nearly any song on request.
      Iirc the google home can also be linked into spotify.

      Controlling the tv might be a good feature althought it can't really hear that well over the tv or over itself when playing music for that matter.
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