One too many Googles, not enough control

I’ve got a lot of connected products into my Google Home/Assistant universe. Far too many. Part of this has to do with being in an old house without a lot of outlets and power options however.

TL;DR – Paul trying to track down Error 521 on new host decides to complain about google while refreshing repeatedly and saving drafts. What you get is half an argument for granular control and mostly a diagnostic for trying to figure out where the disconnect it.

Something most modern house owners don’t ever have to consider is how do you do a living room with two plate outlets and no light controlling switches, or an exterior area where the lighting power involves going underneath a deck and plugging in a cord. Or a 700 square foot basement that has two plugs, one light switch, and two bulbs. You get creative with smart lighting and connected devices, or you get an electrician who can work on 1940’s plaster walls without creating huge messes.

So, I’ve got a lot of lights. Each in their own rooms. And due to the nature of my work I’ve got a lot of Google Home devices. My kids fall asleep in their rooms with music playing, as neither is particularly good at telling time we’ve got smart lights that change color based on how much longer they should be asleep (the 5yo tends to wake up at 1am and think it’s school time,) and I’ve got the deep dark dank basement that gets lit.

With all things, the Goog, lights in an area are controlled by the Home unit in the room. I’m in the basement and say “turn on the lights” it turns on the lights with the knock-off Home unit that lives in sadness. I’m in the little kid’s room, the mini hears a request to turn off the lights and just that room goes dark.

But what’s happening more and more is a kid, loudly will say “hey google, turn on the lights” and instead of the google they’ve just overloaded the microphone on managing to hear the wakeup call, a phone will pick it up, or another Home unit will trigger in the middle of a conversation and decide it’s time to turn every light in the house on.

Some nights I’ve woken up to my bedroom being purple. I know that this was the fault of my oldest, Google hears something and set all the color changing lights in the house purple as opposed to just hers, or somehow all things labeled “light” get turned on or off which has lead to creative naming of switches I don’t want turned on or off.

Some lights I’ve moved virtually to work just to protect them from accidental kiddy clobbering. It seems if they’re in Smart Life and not assigned a particular location as long as they’re named they’re accessible.

Google really needs to incorporate a setting in the lights of “can not be controlled as part of a group” or “can only be controlled by specific naming” so I don’t wake up with the string of deck lights, basement lights, 10 or so lights scattered throughout the house all on because it either misheard my kiddo, or didn’t hear my kids on the Home and instead heard on a phone and decided to do everything.

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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