Smart Home

Our 110 year-old house has been getting smarter over the last couple years. It started when we got a Google Home for Christmas 2017 and we could ask it questions, set timers, remind us about things, add events to our calendar, etc. Google added Spotify so we used it to play music and I added Chromecasts to play music over the home audio system. We added smart devices every so often as new things came out that worked with Google Assistant.

Two years later and we have 10 Google Home Minis, one original Google Home and a Google Home Hub scattered around the house. There’s hardly any place in the house we can’t talk to one. Most of them I either got free or discounted as Google aggressively marketed them to compete with Alexa.

The kids are woken up for school by the Mini in their rooms. Music can be played in any room simply by asking Google to do it. We can turn many lights on, off or dimmed with our voice. Some lights are programmed to go on and off automatically — the heat lamps for Lemon, Eva’s leopard gecko, for example. Our basement door is automatically locked (and openable without a key). We can read and set the thermostats in each area of the house. Our doorbell alerts us when someone comes to the door, even announcing who it is if it recognizes them, and can show us a video of the door so we know if it’s a solicitor we don’t want to interact with, a delivery person dropping off a package and leaving or someone we do want to see before we bother going to the door. Our garage doors can be opened and closed by voice so they’re opened before we get to the garage and we get notified if they are open too long. We can turn the TVs on off. When I go to bed I say goodnight to Google and it runs its routine to turn most lights off and dims others, make sure the basement door is locked, turns on the security system, tells me tomorrow’s weather and what is on my calendar tomorrow and asks me what time to set the alarm to wake me in the morning. In the morning, I can ask it to show me the news and I get a few news broadcasts about the news of the day. And everything can be controlled by our iPhones too, of course, if either we don’t want to talk or want to control things when not at home.

It keeps getting better… today I replaced 6 normal Lutron dimmers with smart Lutron RadioRA2 dimmers to control more lights.

Google Assistant isn’t without its problems but Google has steadily improved it and fixed most annoyances. All in all, I feel like I’m living in the future!

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