Google Home Mini Smart Speaker
The first time I saw devices like the Google Home Mini Smart Speaker on the market, I thought it was just a gimmick. Besides, what will I do with it?
I do have Windows 10 after all, and it does come with Cortana that could already perform all these functions to my mind.
But when I started to add some home automation devices just as a hobby and because it interests me, I realised and understood that I can actually connect all these devices to Google Home or a similar device that would give me voice control over all my home automation devices.
I honestly didn’t expect much from the Google Home Mini but, even with my regional limitations, it honestly blew me away with its functionality. So much so that I have bought a second one!
What Makes The Google Home Mini Smart Speaker So Great?
I have home automation devices from varied companies and Google Home could integrate with each one of them already. This allowed me to control all my home automation devices by voice and also set up routines for these devices with one voice command.
Apart from integrating with home automation devices, Google Home also integrates with other services I use. For example: Spotify
Now I can play any song from Spotify by simply asking the Google Home Mini Smart Speaker to play the song for me. I was also impressed by the sound quality coming from the speaker.
But if the sound is not adequate for you then you can just enable the Bluetooth of the Google Home Mini Smart Speaker and connect it to a Bluetooth speaker off your choice.
I am privileged enough to have a 5.1 surround sound Samsung sound bar to which it connects effortlessly.
The way it understands me when I speak is also amazing as I am not from the United States and have an accent and yet it rarely misses a word I’m saying.
The usefulness and functionality of it is also astounding and I almost feel like I cannot live without my little Google Home Mini Smart Speaker.
From the many functions you can perform from Google Home using the Google Home Mini Smart Speaker, there are a few that I use regularly:
One of the functions would be to remind me in an audible voice to drink my blood pressure tablets in the evening.
I do cook as well every evening and because the timer on my stove broke, I now simply ask my little speaker to set a timer for me and an alarm goes off when the time expires.
And apart from playing my playlist through Spotify using my voice and controlling my home automation devices by voice, I ask my little speaker to add items to my shopping list as I cook or go through the fridge and see that I ran out of an ingredient or two.
The shopping list is available on my phone so it’s easy to tick off the items as I do my shopping.
I also ask Google Home to remind me where I’ve put things and now, I don’t search for something I need that often.
Another regular function I use is the relaxing sounds which forms part of my routine when I go to bed. Just by saying ‘Bed time’, My lights, My TV, my Xbox and everything I want switched off will switch off and she will set an alarm for me on the time I specify and then starts playing calming background noises of which ‘Thunderstorm’ is my favourite.
There are so many more things that you can ask her to do whether it is reading the news, finding a recipe online, making a phone call or doing basic maths but for the functions I use it for I cannot fault the Google Home Mini Speaker at all.
Even the range it picks my voice up from is quite good. This will also depend on the time of day though and how much noise is going on.
You can manually set the volume on the sides but why do that if you can just control the volume of the speaker with your voice?
I understand that I am talking about the Google Home Mini Speaker specifically and all of this are functions of Google Home. But as I do not own any of the other smart speakers, I can only comment on what I get from this device.
It is small, robust, affordable, got good voice recognition with an adequate speaker which all-in-all is just brilliant to me.
Is the Google Home Mini Smart Speaker Useful?
I find it very useful and here is a small list of useful things I can say I use regularly:
- Whatever you can type into Google search you can ask your Google Home Mini Smart Speaker.
- It can do basic maths.
- It can play your favorite songs.
- You can use it to make phone calls.
- you can set up reminders, alarms, and timers.
- It announces activities if set up.
- You can add routines that do multiple functions with one voice command.
- Finally, it gives you voice control over all your smart devices.
In many respects The Google Home Mini Smart Speaker can be a life saver for the visually impaired at a very affordable price.
Just like you there were a few things that I needed to Google in order to find out how I set up certain functions for the Google Home Mini Smart Speaker.
Let me show you how to use certain services on your new Google Home Mini Smart Speaker. These were some of the things I had to find out myself and perhaps you have the same questions:
How do I make a phone call?
This is as simple as saying: ‘Hey Google call [ contact you want to phone]’
It is sometimes difficult for Google to understand names especially from non-USA countries. So, the best work around would be to give your contact a nickname and that would be the contact name you give Google to phone.
As an example, I edited my wife’s contact nickname as ‘my wife’ and this makes it easy to just say: ‘Hey Google. Phone my wife’
This works perfectly every time and is convenient when you are busy with something else.
By default this will make use of your Google Duo account or you can add other phone services For Google to use.
How do I make Google say something?
It is easy to set a reminder on your Google Home Mini Smart Speaker by simply saying: ‘Hey Google remind me to take my tablet at 12:00 PM’
But Google Home will only let you know that there is a reminder for you, it will not say what the reminder is for.
This is where Routines come into play:
- Open the Google Home app on your phone
- Click on ‘Routines’
- Then click on the big plus button in the bottom right corner to add a new routine.
It is compulsory to add a voice command for the routine and I will just put any command in there because I will not use it.
But for the optional ‘Set A Time And Day’, I will set up my reminder and repeat schedules so that when it reaches that day in time, the action will activate.
In the next step you will add an action under ‘Assistant will’ and for Google Home to say something this is what you type:
Say “[whatever you want her to speak]” (quotes must be included)
So, for Google Home to say anything audibly, the command is: ‘say’
How do I enable Bluetooth?
I’m not sure where you can do this in the settings, but you can simply say: ‘Hey Google. Enable Bluetooth’ or ‘Hey Google. Turn on Bluetooth’
The same is true if you want to switch it off. Simply say: ‘Hey Google. Turn off Bluetooth’ or ‘Hey Google. Switch off Bluetooth’
When Bluetooth is enabled it will search for paired Bluetooth devices so as an example, I will show you how to connect your Bluetooth speaker with Your Google Home app.
How do I connect a Bluetooth speaker to Google Home?
Firstly, you will open your Google Home app on your phone and then you will look for the Google Home Mini Speaker icon and tap that.
Now click on the gear icon in the top right of the application and select ‘Default music speaker’.
Make sure your Bluetooth speaker is on and then tap the ‘Pair Bluetooth speaker’ icon.
This will search for all your Bluetooth devices and once you have paired your Bluetooth speaker you are also able to set it as your default music speaker.
These are some of the functions that I had to Google and I hope this helps you as well.
Is the Google Home Mini Smart Speaker a necessity?
People have long since lived without any smart speaker, but so did they live without the Internet or mobile phones as well.
I believe this is the future of communication with devices and one step closer to the goal of foregoing with the old keyboard and mouse as input devices.
It can be very useful, time saving and provide increased productivity especially around the home when integrating home automation devices.
All-in-all I think it is a brilliant device, works well and can only improve your quality of life. I do not believe it takes away from anything.
Above all, it is affordable and can perform tasks of multiple devices. So, my only question would be: Why not use it?