Google Home Mini

Discussion in 'Google Stuff' started by Overmind One, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    I am chomping at the bit for one of these. Only $49.95.

    google_home_mini.jpg
    It's Google's answer to Amazon's Echo Dot (I have one of those right now). It didn't want to be an answer, it wanted to be the statement, but Amazon beat them to it and there are a bazillion of them (Echo Dots) being sold. I really like mine a lot, but there is the "ecosystem" problem. My Echo Dot can do some amazing things:

    Set alarms by voice, timers, reminders and now even make calls or send texts to contacts in my phone. Unfortunately, the setup process is not seamless and it remains limited. It can do limited searches of wikipedia, it can tune into internet radio stations and search any enabled stations for specific tunes. It has features which can be enabled called "skills", and that expands what it can do. But it is still limited in ways the Google Home Mini will not be.

    Amazon lets you roam freely within it's world with it's partners. The Google Home Mini is in the same universe as Android and Google Search, and all your Google Apps enabled features. For me it's a hands down winner and I am getting one. If it can do what I think it can do, my Amazon Echo Dot will be mothballed.

     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
  2. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    People who use Google don't "get" it. They don't understand that Google is a complete solution and not just a search engine. Sure, they might have a gmail account, and of course they use YouTube. But all the truly wonderful stuff Google is offering for free gets overlooked because nobody "gets" it.

    Is nobody here leveraging their Google stuff?
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
  3. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    The Google Home Mini does not have an external audio jack? It can't send sound out over speakers over a wire like the Dot can. But it can do it via Bluetooth. Still not a dealbreaker. Everyone is saying the sound from the built in speaker is louder and clearer. The main selling point for me is the Google connectivity. I can use my Echo Dot to put things on my Google calendar, send texts and such, but it lacks wide search for answers to questions. Too many things have to be done on the Alexa app to make things work the way I want them to.

    I already use Google Assistant on my phone to get directions, call numbers, get answers to questions or to play media. With the Google Home Mini, I bring that capability to my TVs, computers and also it is synced with my phone and Google Apps for Business. The features and command guide is here:

    https://support.google.com/googlehome/answer/7071994
     
  4. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Two more freakin days till I can buy it! I am even getting a newer phone for the occasion...a new brand for me: Huawei. I just went for the Honor 6X.

    My goal here is hyper-connectivity. I want my business experience as an independent to be seamless and efficient. I want to be able to just tell my "stuff" to set appointments, remind me of stuff, wake me up, and when I need to know something...be able to tell me. I want to know where a place is, then how far away, then tell my phone to get directions and guide me there turn by turn. I want to be able to work on my documents and access my files without having to take my laptop everywhere I go. Google's ecosystem allows me to do all of that very very easily, and the Google Home (or mini) is going to allow me to do all of that, Star Trek style. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
  5. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Update on this. :) I installed Google Assistant on my Honor 6X and you know what? Why do I need the Google Home if I can do literally everything it can do by using it on my phone? I can still ask it do do whatever I want, and also it will communicate with my Chromecast. So, I still want it, but my Amazon Echo fills the blank in terms of the always-on Assistant I ask for the time, for weather and setting timers and so forth. The only drawback with Assistant on the phone is that it only listens when unlocked and on a screen. The Amazon Echo Dot is always listening.
     
  6. heisenberg

    heisenberg Earl Grey Staff Member

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    This thing is freaky - holy fucking shit. It knows that the person is there.

     
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  7. Rac80

    Rac80 The Belle of the Ball

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    You do realise Echo (&Alexa) record everything said around it and store it on the cloud?
     
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  8. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    YES, and I have an Echo Dot and I have gone online and seen every phrase it records. After having it a year, I am positive the Google Home Mini is going to be my main unit. I have been using my Echo to play music, get the weather and set laundry timers and alarms and reminders. But the Google Home Mini will do all of that plus TONS more and will not record my phrases in the cloud.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
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  9. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Yes, and it can do all sorts of other cool shit. :)
     
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  10. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Okay, I have one of these things now. It's freakin AWESOME! :joy:

    There are some truly baffling limitations I can't understand about it:

    • It can't send texts yet
    • It can't access or read my email or my calendar (huh? Even my Echo can do that)
    • It has no external speaker jack, but the onboard speaker is VASTLY superior to that on the Amazon Echo Dot.
    I think Google will add these capabilities to it later, and until then I still have my Echo Dot connected so I can add calendar entries using my voice from that device.

    Other than those two minor things, it's truly awesome. It can answer the most obscure of questions, give step by step instructions on things, read recipes as you cook, and perhaps one of the coolest things is that you can tell it to remember things. For instance, you can hide something somewhere, then tell your GHM to remember the location (you tell it). Way later, you can ask it "Where is my _______"? And it will tell you. It can give you directions, find locations, and even send the directions to your phone.

    The Chromecast/Home Mini experience is fast and seamless, but severely limited. The "streaming partners" have Netflix, CBS All Access, HBO To Go, but no Amazon Prime. That means I have to keep my Roku connected and have my Chromecast on the second HDMI channel IN on my TV. Using the Google Home Mini and the Chromecast is very slick. I asked my GHM this "Hey Google, play Star Trek Voyager on Netflix". Less than 5 seconds later, it was playing. Once you are watching a show with episodes, you can say "Hey Google, play the next (or previous) episode". You can ask for movies or shows by name, but it still is nowhere near as flexible as the Roku with Voice.

    The sound quality is exceptional for such a small device.. It is far and away superior to that on the Echo Dot. But my Echo Dot is connected to external speakers and that makes it very useful. You can ask it to play from Pandora, Spotify, or if the station you want has an online station, you can just ask it to play the station. The GHM will find it on TuneIn Radio and play it in seconds.

    All in all, GET ONE!

     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  11. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Okay, so I am learning more and more about this thing. There are some things you have to have in order to make it fully useful.

    • Use a gmail account for the email address you set up (even create a unique one if you need to). If you pay for Google Apps for Business and have a domain other than gmail, you will not be able to add calendar entries or use your Maps addresses. But most everything else still works.
    • Get a Chromecast! The experience with a Google Home + Chromecast is seamless and fast, and far better than what you can get with the Amazon Echo which will work with the Fire Stick in a similar way.
    • Speak naturally. Your Mini recognizes YOUR voice, and can distinguish between dozens of voices (after simple training).
    • Learn how it processes your requests. When you want to access streams or music, be specific on where you want it to come from "Play SomaFM Drone Zone on TuneIn" and not "Play Drone Zone". Google wants you to use Google Music, so it will search there if you do not specify the source.
    Google Home Mini now costs only $29.00! There is no reason not to get one. :)
     
  12. Twalet Brash

    Twalet Brash GateFans Cadet

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    The Honor 8 is a nicer phone than the 6X and can be had for very little money right now.
     
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  13. Twalet Brash

    Twalet Brash GateFans Cadet

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    I have one of these and it is really useful and fun to have around. You can throw almost any question or request at it. I've set up smart devices to control my home with it, like turning lights on or off. If I tell Google to play a movie off Netflix, it starts the movie on Netflix via Chromecast. If I request music by title or by genre, it starts playing music.
     
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  14. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    I love my Mini, and I use it for lots of stuff throughout the day. I found how to add apps to it, sorta like my Echo Dot has those Alexa "skills", by going into Explore in the Home app. The Roku can even be controlled by an app called Quick Remote using the Mini.

    The Echo Dot I thought I was going to retire still is a very useful voice activated assistant, but I use it mostly because I have speakers plugged into it's output jack and I can stream music on it separately. What a great little device that Google Home Mini is! I love it.
     
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  15. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    This Honor 6X has impressed me immensely, and for such an inexpensive price, the Honor 8 is really a no-brainer. The Honor 6 battery life is the best I have seen in a phone yet. I frequently run for three days without charging it. It never hangs, and everything is instant and buttery smooth. The camera with the dual rear cameras is superb. If the Honor 6 is that good, the Honor 8 is going to blow me away. :)
     
  16. Twalet Brash

    Twalet Brash GateFans Cadet

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    I have the Honor 8 and it is a fantastic phone. I acquired it at Best Buy on my last trip back home last spring. It was on sale for $250 and included an Honor branded kit with a second charger and selfie stick.
     
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  17. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    As soon as Huawei becomes a "thing", these phones are going to skyrocket in price. We are getting iPhone-like premium performance and features for mid-priced phone prices!
     
  18. Twalet Brash

    Twalet Brash GateFans Cadet

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    Take a look at the Huawei Mate 10 Pro with a dedicated AI chip. The technology stuffed into this phone is astonishing. We already have it out here and I'm saving up to get one but it is slated for a US release some time in February.
     
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  19. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Does the Honor 8 or the Mate 10 have an IR blaster? I know I can look it up...Im babysitting a migration. :(
     
  20. Twalet Brash

    Twalet Brash GateFans Cadet

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    They both do but keep an eye out for the Huawei P11. I'm not sure if the Huawei P10 is available in the US but, if it is, hold it in your hand. It feels identical to an iPhone 7 including the solid build. The P10 is one of the most premium feeling phones on the market and the P11 will be more than an incremental update; it'll be a step up from the Mate 10 Pro.
     
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