A couple of days ago I picked up an Insignia Speaker with Google Assistant built in. They were $80 off on some doorbuster deal and I thought it might be useful to replace the setup in my 5yo’s room (clock to teach her time, Google Home Mini to play bedtime music,) with one little compact dealio.
TL;DR – story about kids and a device leaving the house.
There’s also that I wanted to review one for Pocketables. But mostly I wanted to minimize the wiring mess in Maggie’s room.
So I took down the Google Mini and told Maggie that we were switching it out for the Insignia and it was still the same Google she was used to talking to. I told her if she didn’t like it I’d switch things back.
The Insignia fired up, clocked kicked on, and Maggie asked the Google lady if she knew what her name was. Google replied with “Maggie Trash” because that’s what Maggie wanted Google to call her at one point when she was hanging out in a box that was destined for recycling.
She’s also been known as “butt,” and “Magnolia,” and “pooooh”. She’s 5.
Maggie was now convinced this was the same Google lady she’s known for a long time and asked “her” to play some song. I left her and her sister playing and took her old Google Home Mini and placed it last week on my pile of stuff to eventually take to the office.
Goodbye Google Home
Today was the day for the Mini to leave and as we were heading out the door Maggie and her sister grabbed it and kept saying “hey google” trying to get the unplugged mini to respond. Her sister, 3 currently asked anxiously if Google was dead and I said that no, she just didn’t have juice but was going to my office.
Maggie asked if I was actually just throwing away a dead family member and I had to assure her Google was going to be hanging out in my office to keep me company and let me broadcast messages home.
She made me promise I wasn’t mad at her, nor throwing Google away. I promised her that, and that Mini was as alive as she ever was, just not talking due to no power.
I initially viewed this in the light of technology dependence, seeing something inanimate as a family member negatively and was a bit worried about the future, but…
Then I realized this is her music that she can launch without having to read (side note, last two months she learned to read pretty well, whoo hoo)
…This is her dictionary when I can’t answer what a word means “hey google, what does so and so mean?” (about two hours a day I’m still on call while she’s with me)
…This tells her a story through Story Nory? that she and her sister act out with Barbies.
…The littlest asks what the weather is every morning. She doesn’t know what the temperature means but will tell me whether it’s raining or sunny with great enthusiasm.
…Maggie will broadcast “I love you” when she needs to at bedtime as opposed to getting up, wandering out, and telling everyone she loves them individually (ok, this sounds bad, but when a kid gets up because they have to express their feeling they tend to stay up)
The Google Home Mini has been an empowering device, and now it’s teaching her to ask for things nicely (unfortunately she’s asking machines and strangers nicely – parents not so much).
So when the kids saw their old friend leaving after laying there, not responding, there was real concern.
So yeah, the 5yo is coming to my office later today for unrelated reasons but was quite happy to know that she would see that her Mini was both alive, and well and being used.