Google Home has gotten wickedly bad for us lately

It started sometime early in the pandemic. Google Home would occasionally listen, and just ignore whatever we’d said. You could watch it on either of the smart displays properly translating voice to text and then nothing would come back.

TL;DR – old man shakes fist at cloud.

Turning off our Roku via voice would fire back that the device wasn’t available, or there was an error, but it would still turn the Roku off. Asking for recipes would return interesting results, and then different ones, so yeah good luck getting that thing back.

Custom names for rooms sometimes work, sometimes don’t. I realize Aerin isn’t a common spelling for a name, but most of the time before the past month it got it, lately it’s Aaron it’s trying. It doesn’t match the room when it gets that. It did before.

Location matching has gotten wonky as well – in my living room if I say “Turn on the lights” usually the lights in the living room will turn on. Past couple of weeks I’ve had every light in the house turn on, I’ve attempted to turn on the booze light and had it turn all the color changing lights in the house to blue.

At least with the “booze light” I can get why it gets “blue” but not why every light in the house that’s on turns blue. It’s not like I’m saying “turn all the lights blue” – I’m in a room, it should turn anything in there blue maybe but nope. Anything on. All blue. Going to rename the light to “alcohol light” I guess to fix this.

We’ve got a Vizio Smart Display my wife watches Golden Girls on before bedtime (we’ve been working through old sitcoms, finished Cheers, on to GG,) and the commands have up until recently been fine. “Play Golden Girls on Hulu” worked. Recently it’s started playing music occasionally. Repeating to play Golden Girls will get it up on the Vizio, but the Home will still be playing. Good luck getting that fixed.

None of the commands it misunderstands appear in the history. Same thing happens with my kids. Weird glitches, never recorded. Google ignoring, never recorded.

Tonight my wife asked the Google Home in the bedroom to turn off the Vizio. Every device in the living room turned on – three lights, and the Roku. Like, there’s no room connection to the living room. “Turn off the Vizio” doesn’t sound anything like “turn on the Roku and turn all the living room lights on” and of course, it’s not in history.

I’m generally of the idea at this point that while I really dig what Google has done I’m going to probably limit some of the things it has control over such as the Roku – nice to be able to turn it off if I wandered into another room and am no longer watching something, but I don’t like it when a kid in their room says “play trolls soundtrack” and then the Home mishears somehow and I come in and find the Roku sitting on attempting to rent Trolls.

Er yeah… as my family has adopted Google Home, and we’re here all the time due to social distancing and Nashville having been effectively shut down for 1.5 months at this point, it’s really starting to show the seams splitting.

What I wouldn’t give for an undo, or instant stop. Or just it actually recording what it’s hearing.

We’re at a couple of years in, my wife’s joined account that recognizes her voice, synced with Home, still can’t verify it to call her phone.

My guess is with the quarantine many many many more people are using the service than expected to ever be when they specced everything out, and it’s not a happy camper.

Ah well..

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts