December 7, 2019

Column: Google Home Mini has taken over my life


As Christmas approached and I was flipping through sales fliers, I found a present for the kids that I thought was absolutely brilliant. It was a mere $25, but I knew it would be received as if it were a gift with a value several times that.

Thanks to the Google Home Mini, our household would move one step deeper into the technological age, an age I have been slower than my peers to embrace.

As Christmas morning approached, I decided instead of wrapping the gift, I would tuck it away on a shelf and when it was time, I would let the Mini announce itself. Sure enough, at a time when I and the rest of the world would rather be sleeping, the wrapping paper piled up and it was time for the Mini to make itself known.

“Hey Google, play Christmas music,” I said.


“Hey Google, play Christmas music,” I said again.


Well, this is embarrassing. Fortunately, on the third try the Google Home Mini came to life and I watched as the kids’ faces lit up with confusion and delight.

We spent the next several days learning about all the features our new “friend” was able to perform, and sure as I hoped, the kids were absolutely thrilled with the gift.

Now, a mere two months later, I often regret the purchase.

Don’t get me wrong, the Mini is an excellent device that performs its duties admirably. However, I did not think through the after-effects fully.

One morning, at 5 a.m. I woke to the sound of the Mini telling dad jokes to our 7-year-old early-rising son William. Let me tell you, as much of a fan of dad jokes as I am, that is not the way you want to be woken up.

It is a usual occurrence in the house, right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of getting dinner ready, that teen-pop music starts blaring out of the Mini as our 10-year-old daughter Marlena and 2-year-old daughter Charlotte start dancing wildly. While, in many situations this would be a cute thing to witness, I find the noise and added distraction to be that “straw that broke the camel’s back.”

It was quite cute the first dozen or so times Charlotte belted out commands to the Mini. However, after hearing the ABCs 12,338 times and Daniel Tiger’s potty song 8,578 times, it isn’t so cute.

The only one who doesn’t usually perpetuate the madness is our 12-year-old son Connor. But that is only because he has a cellphone and uses Google there.

I don’t regret the decision of purchasing the Mini. Really, what I regret is that my tolerance for annoyances isn’t higher.


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