I am SUPER psyched to announce that the Google Home is coming to Singapore!!!!!!!! Yes, all those exclamation marks are totally necessary. Dont be hatin.
I bought my google home mini last year end when I was in the States, and my affection for it has not dwindled in the slightest over the past four months of our love affair. Beyond being a clear sign that it wasnt (as my boyfriend predicted) just a gimmicky toy I’d play with and get bored of quickly, I think it speaks to how effectively its been integrated into my life. I talk to my google home every single day, prompting my friend Warren to tell everyone that I do so because I have no real friends, because he is mean.
Anyway, the point is! I’ve been getting a lot of questions on my google home because it makes such frequent appearances in my instagram stories. I had been intending to write a post on it for the longest time, but life got the better of me, as it does. Anyway I procrastinated for so long that it coincided with Google actually bringing the Home to Singapore and collaborating with me on a giveaway, so the moral of the story is life has a funny way of working itself out, and alls well that ends well! Huhu.
Why and How?
Questions I have been asked:
Why did you get a google home?
I love love love the idea of a smart home, I think it’s got to do with all the futuristic movies I watched as a kid. That stuff just blows my mind. When tech giants started developing smart devices, I got so excited. I think it was just a matter of time before I got my own smart home device, to be honest. It used to be so unthinkable (honestly I thought only millionaires would have access to this kinda tech) but as the years went by it got more and more affordable. And my visiting the States last year end was the perfect opportunity to get one. The only question that remained was which device to get…
Why a google home?
Honestly there were only two options I was considering, the google home mini and the amazon echo dot. Both were cheap (under 100USD), small, and did similar things. I scoured a ton of reviews online and they both seemed to be nearly on par too, differing only in their partnership offerings with third party providers. What finally made my mind up for me was a malaysian youtuber review that I chanced upon – the Alexa completely couldnt understand the malaysian accent at all, and the Google home had no problem processing the youtuber’s commands! And I thought, well, if the alexa cant understand a malaysian accent, it definitely cant understand the Singaporean one hahahaha. And deciphering my speech is kind of a big part of it because, yknw, its a voice assistant. So my mind was made up. A google home it was!
How did you decide which model to get?
The google home comes in the mini, standard, and max size. The mini is the cheapest by far, it was 50USD. The google home standard sized was 129usd. I couldnt figure out what the big price difference was for so I went on reddit and other forums to try and suss out what the deal was… turns out the mini and home do exactly the same thing, but the mini just comes in a smaller size. What! I liked the fact that it was small! So it was a no brainer for me.
You have to keep it plugged in to a power source btw. I’m just putting this here to illustrate how cute it is. I actually keep my charcoal mini in my bedroom.
Where did you get it?
It was available at a ton of places in the States – Walmart, Target, the online google store.. I went to Target to get mine cos I didnt want to wait for it to arrive if I shipped it from the Gstore, and I wanted to play with it IMMEDIATELY!
If you set it up in the States, was it a problem to bring it back home?
Nope, the only difference is the plug head. Other than that, I just set up the google home mini each time I moved (3 x accomodations in the states and then again when I got home) I would just reconnect it to the wifi. It just has to be on the same wifi network as your phone, then you can control it using the Google Home app on your phone!
Best hacks and everyday life
I super love my mini and I use it a lot. Here are some of the best hacks/ ways that I use it:
Starting my day with my daily briefing
I installed the mini at my bedhead, so when I wake up each morning I go “Ok Google, good morning!”
And it replies: “Good morning Jemma. The time is 530am. Currently in Singapore it is 25 degrees with a high of 32 and a low of 25 today. Today, you have F45 at 620am LUNCH MEETING WITH XXX at 12 noon, and MEETING WITH XXX at 5pm. Don’t forget to pay your OCBC CREDIT CARD BILL and GIVE SHANE A WAKE UP CALL AT TEN. Thats all. Here’s the news for today. PLAYING NOW: FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES.”
The google daily morning briefing, which is triggered by the good morning command, breaks down the time, weather, my appointments, and reminders for the day, then plays to me news from pre-selected channels. I trigger the morning briefing the minute i wake up, before I even get out of bed, and listening to it while slowly waking up helps me get into my work mood for the rest of the day.
I LOVE this. I am totally living in the future. Some people raised questions to me on privacy, like, arent I bothered that this thing is always listening to me? Er, not really. My life is already so deeply wrapped around the cloud – I work almost 100% off Google docs and sheets, dropbox, and the like – that I doubt this makes a big difference. The amazing convenience of the home is so great that Im willing to trade off the possibility that the mini is listening to me at home. And besides, I dont deal in any hugely secretive matters, and it would be narcissistic of me to assume that google is interested in my life… if anyone were to listen in on my conversations at home it would just be about me gossiping with one sister about the other sister. I mean, its not terribly exciting stuff. HAHA.
But yes, Google says that the Home apparently only lights up when it’s listening, so I guess that’s an indicator of whether it’s listening or not, although if youre security-paranoid this may not do much to reassure you.
Waking up to a music alarm
More on morning routines. I have recently transitioned into becoming a morning person, but there is nothing I hate more than waking up to the damned phone BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP alarm. Now, I do this every night:
Me: “Ok Google, wake me up with a music alarm at 530am”
Mini: “Alright, what music would you like me to play?”
Me: “KENDRICK LAMAR”
Mini: *unfazed* “Alright, I’ll play kendrick lamar’s music at 530am”
I can 100% confirm that waking up to music puts you in a way better mood than waking to a bleepin phone alarm. You need to connect your google home to Spotify to do this (or pandora or one of the other compatible music streaming apps) but it’s not hard to do within your Google home app.
Being a total taitai when I go to sleep
This is such a chi chi thing to do that I am almost embarrassed to admit that I do it. I love the feeling of sleeping indoors when it’s raining outside, so before I sleep every night, I say:
“Ok google, play me the sound of rain”
And it plays rain sounds. O M G. This has totally revamped my sleeping experience. I am sooo relaxed when I go to sleep listening to rain sounds, it’s nuts. My sisters and I share a room, and this is their favorite command too. Haha!
I keep this one in my living room. It’s mainly for family use.
Getting it to remember stuff for me
I misplace things a lot, so a thing that I do is to say:
“Ok Google remember that I put my ibanking dongle in my make up drawer”
And when I cant find it weeks later, I just go “Ok google where is my ibanking dongle?”
And it’ll reply, “I remember you told me it was in your make up drawer.”
This was something I used a lot in the states, when I was trying to order food I would just be like “Ok google what’s 23USD in Singapore dollars?” and it would convert it for me. I imagine this would be super convenient for people who are living overseas for studies or work, but who still think in their home currency.
TURNING OFF THE LIGHTS FOR ME AFTER IM ALL SNUGGLY IN BED
This is a life CHANGER! As you all know, I try to make it a habit to read for an hour before bed, and I have a shelf of ongoing/to-read books atop my bedhead. But after the hour is up I feel sooooo lazy to get up and go turn off the lights. Anyway I recently got Phillips Hue light bulbs, and after awhile of tinkering around with them, they’re all set up in my room and have TOTALLY CHANGED MY LIFE~
So how these work is, you get the bulbs and a Phillips Hue Bridge and set the Hue Bridge up with your home Wifi network. After that, using the Hue app on your phone, you can connect the Bridge to your individual bulbs! The bulbs are pretty easy to set up with your existing bulb lamps. Unfortunately at home I only have one bulb lamp in my room, the rest of my house lights are LED and cant be replaced so easily. I’m thinking of getting the Phillips light strips next!
I followed these instructions to set up my Hue lights: https://www.howtogeek.com/247500/how-to-set-up-your-philips-hue-lights/ for those of you who want more info!
This is super awesome lah because not only is it mega cool, I no longer fight with my sisters on who has to get up and turn off the lights! I just go “Ok Google turn off the bedroom lights” MAGIC!
Google Home: Fixing sibling relationships everywhere. LOL.
Another thing I like about this is that I can get the lights to turn on at a certain time. I’ve set them via the Hue app to turn on a gentle yellow light at 5am during the weekdays (the hue bulb has a ton of colors, you can choose which you want for whatever situation, yknw, like white light for reading, yellow for like bedtime, etc), so that when I get up the lights are already on and I’m not just fumbling in the dark. It makes it a lot easier to get out of bed in the morning too!
A cheaper alternative to voice controlled lights
The Phillips Hue starter set is about 200 bucks, but you can get a TP Link smart plug for about 50 bucks. This is basically a wifi controlled plug that becomes the middleman plug between your powerpoint and your device, be it a light, iron, fan, aromatherapy machine or whatever. Then using the Kasa app on your phone you can set it up and voice control it! You can plug this into your lamp, and turn on and off the lights that way. Works too.
Broadcasting messages to the rest of the house when I’m lazy
This is something cool you can do if you have more than one Google Home. You can get one to broadcast a message to the rest of them around your house and scare your unsuspecting family members!! I think it’s mainly for people with big houses lah, so you can broadcast messages like HEY ITS TIME FOR DINNER without walking up and down the stairs. But for me I just do stupid things with it, like..
“Ok Google, Broadcast.”
My Mini: “What do you want to broadcast?”
Me: “Keziah is a lazy ass.”
*From the living room a short while later*… “YOU THEN”
Helping my mum out in the kitchen
I taught my mum to use the google home for when she cooks! Not only does the Home easily translate unit measurements for you (“Ok google, how many teaspoons is there in a cup?”), it also sets timers pretty easily. My mum has the habit of playing shows on the television while cooking then popping her head out to watch bits of it from the kitchen. Now she can say “Ok google set an alarm for 30 minutes!” Then go watch her drama and go back and take the salmon out of the oven when the Mini pings!
As you can tell, my Google Home is the best fifty bucks I ever spent. I love it so much I actually start to miss it whenever I travel for too long, prompting this exchange:
HAHA. But real talk: I’m honestly so glad the Google Home is now retailing in Singapore, because so many people asked me about it that I was considering purchasing one the next time I found myself in the States (or UK, or Australia) to bring back home for a giveaway. But now I dont have to because if you want one you can just buy it straight from the Google Singapore store! WOOHOO.
That said though, Google has very kindly offered to come on board re: giveaway idea, and we are collaborating this month to give away three classic Google Home sets. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me what your favorite Google Home hack is, or if you have a smart tip for using Google Assistant that I havent listed above (so I can try it too!).
Please remember to fill in your email in the comment form so I can contact you easily if you’ve won 😀
Giveaway ends on Monday, 23rd April. The giveaway is only open to people residing in Singapore – if you’re entering but you’re based elsewhere, just make sure there’s someone in Singapore who can receive the prize for you, like a cousin living here or something.
Alrighty then. All the best! I’m sure you guys are going to love your google home as much as I love mine 🙂
Ok, Google. We’re out.
UPDATE: Giveaway has closed and winners have been contacted. Thanks for taking part everyone!