I’ve been testing a Google Home for about a month now. It’s a great little piece of technology, but since it lives outside of my digital ecosystem, my use cases are fairly limited. Google Home integrates with exactly three things in my home: Sonos, Hue and Spotify. The former only thanks to a Sonos bridge and a ChromeCast, the latter thanks to a Spotify family account my parents have.
But, even with only those three use cases, and the occasional timer or search query, I really love the idea of speaking instead of typing.
OK Google, stream Vee-Ar-Tee Studio Brussels on Sonos please. Hey Google, turn on the Slaåpkåmér-lights. Hey Google, play Nothing Else Matters on Sonos.
Yes, the syntax is cumbersome. Yes, sometimes it’s faster to grab an iPhone and use control center, or look outside and check the weather myself. And yes, when music is playing loudly she doesn’t here me. But then again, who does.
The real power of a digital assistant lies with its integrations. And since I live in an iOS and iCloud world, Google Home (or Alexa for that matter) doesn’t really integrate at all with Apple’s services. I can hack IFTTT and its recent iOS integrations to create appointments, but the Apple TV, Apple Music, my reminders, email, messages, FaceTime? Non existing if you ask Google Home.
Now, we all dream. So let’s dream big, by going back to 2006. Apple released the iPod Hi-Fi, their first and only speaker. Great sound, big, heavy and soooo beautiful.
What I’d like is a new iPod Hi-Fi called Siri. A big decent speaker, with integrated microphones, Wi-Fi, bluetooth and all the things needed to add the Siri experience to a speaker.
Hey Siri, play Led Zeppelin. Hey Siri, FaceTime Audio my mom. Hey Siri, remind me to buy Duvel when I get to the mall.
It integrated with iOS and iCloud. It can use continuity to hand-off complex queries to my iPhone or iPad. It does AirPlay, and acts as a HomeKit bridge.
Not that farfetched I think?