Dear makers of Google Home,
I use Google Home every day. To my surprise, my wife uses it just as often. We mostly use it to play music. However, asking Knowledge Graph-based questions is slowly becoming our killer app for the device.
While I love my Google Home, it is not yet perfect. The device is off to a great start but I’m hoping for a lot more. In this article, I share my top Google Home suggested improvements. While I suspect many of them are already in the works, I hope some of the unique ideas presented below will be considered as well.
Image Source: Forbes
Google Home Suggested Improvements
Below I list my suggested changes for Google Home. Use the comments section to let me know if you agree with my suggestions, or if you have suggestions of your own.
Most Requested Changes
- Release all new features to all countries. The biggest complaint we see in the Facebook Group is new features not being available in all regions. when simultaneous releases are not possible, it would be nice if Google could provide a release schedule for each region.
- Ability to change the “Hey Google” launch phrase. Motorola already supports this capability with its phones. It would be awesome if this could be added to Google Home.
- Intercom to specific speakers. Yes, we have the broadcast feature but we also want to be able to have 2-wap communication between speakers.
Google Home Hardware
- Include an alarm clock. If Google Home had an alarm clock, I would put a Google Home in every bedroom. There should be dedicated hardware for the alarm clock so that GH firmware updates or internet outages do not impact the alarm clock’s operation. A backup battery should allow the alarm clock to fully function.
- Include physical buttons. Changing the volume using the touch interface is too finicky for my taste. Physical button would allow precise control over volume and playback. Physical buttons would allow people who are unfamiliar with the device to quickly see how to control the device.
- Add additional microphones. In my experience, Google Home doesn’t hear me as well as Amazon Echo in loud environments. A few more mics could make up the difference.
- Add an audio-out port. Instead of making us buy a separate Chromecast Audio, please add an audio-port on the Google Home. If you are concerned about losing sales, sell some Google-branded speakers that will work with Home. I’d buy them if they are good.
- Allow the next Google tablet to function like a Google Home. Give it a charging dock (preferably wireless). Allow it to display pretty search results on the screen such as recipes, celebrity bios, stats for athletes, menus for local restaurants, etc. Give it dual speakers, plus premium audio for hooking up to external speakers.
- Allow for separate volume control for voice and media playback.
- Provide a release schedule for firmware updates. It would be nice to see a roadmap upcoming new features by country, and by device, including third-party hardware.
- Provide release notes for each firmware update.
- Allow Google Home to state whether it has the current firmware update. Allow Google Home to say what’s in the most recent update.
Google Home Accessories
- Create a Bluetooth remote that can be used to control Google Home. The remote could allow you to ask Google Home questions without using the launch phrase. Volume, audio playback, and videocasting playback could be controlled with this remote. Perhaps the device could have programmable buttons that launch routines.
- Create a Bluetooth headset and/or headphones that have a dedicated Google Home button. The device should allow you to issue commands, make hands-free calls with the GH, and listen to GH streaming audio.
- Create a wearable that can control Google Home. It could be a watch or a comm badge that has dedicated GH buttons.
- Create a new version of Chromecast. The new version could feature video pass-through, allowing it to overlay TV broadcasts. Since the unit will serve as the input to our video sources, we will no longer have to switch the video source on our TV.
- Create a smart hub to compete with other brands.
- Cast video to Google Chrome. Instead of casting to my TV, I’d like to cast to a new tab in Google Chrome.
- Verbally add time to a timer to extend timers.
- Verbally check off items on to-do list and shopping lists.
- Ask if a particular item is on a shopping list.
- Voice Memo Recording. It would be cool to be able to record voice memos that become available in the Google Home app and in Google Keep.
Events and Entertainment
- Add movie theater and showtime support. I’d like to be able to ask, “what’s playing at the AMC Hoffman movie theater”, followed by “what are the showtimes for ‘Die Hard 6’?”
- Add support for questions about local events. Sample questions include, “What concerts are happening this weekend?” or “what plays can I see next weekend?”
- Allows movie trailers to be easily displayed via Chromecast. I’d like to be able to ask, “Show me top movie trailers on Chromecast” or “Show new movie trailers on Chromecast”.
- Add the ability to announce new movies on DVD or Netflix. Sample questions: “What’s new on DVD?” and “What’s popular on Netflix?”.
- Tivo integration. I would love to be able to search Tivo for movies and shows using my Google Home. Btw, I think Google should buy Tivo before Amazon does. 😉
- Add support for satellite radio. Sample commands: “Play Howard Stern on satellite radio” and “Play Shady 45 on satellite radio”.
- Add support for playing music stored on a local computer. Not everyone has Spotify.
Health and Fitness
- Add the ability to cast recipes to Chromecast. Chromecast could display static recipes from top recipe sites. I’d like to be able to ask, “what should I cook tonight”, “suggest a green smoothie recipe”, or “what should I cook for my next dinner party?”.
- Add the ability to easily cast curated workout videos to Chromecast. These videos can be on YouTube but perhaps there should be curated videos available. Perhaps we could specify videos from our saved videos or playlists.
- Add the ability to play curated guided audio workouts. I’d like to be able to say, “start seven-minute workout”.
Smart Home Commands
- Ability to “Undo” the Last Action. For instance, if I turned on the wrong groups of lights, I could tell Google Home to “undo” the last action.
- Location-Based Commands. For example, if I have Google Home + Chromecast in multiple rooms, if I ask GH to cast something, it should by default cast to the Chromecast in the same room. Likewise, if I have GHs and lights in multiple rooms, the command “turn off the lights” should turn off the lights in the room I’m in by default. To avoid confusion, we should need to enable this functionality.
- Associate Accessories to a Specific Speaker. Similar to the previous suggestion, perhaps we can associate accessories to default speakers.
Google Home App
- Improve the Ease of Use. One complaint I hear all of the time is that the Google Home App is not easy to use.
- Add the ability to manage alarms. It would be nice to be able to manage all alarms on all speakers via the Google Home App.
- Allow support for sending and checking email. I’d like to be able to say, “Do I have email?”, “Is there new email for Tech Ranker?”, or “send an email to my boss, ‘The client loved my slide deck!”.
- Allow support for sending and checking text messages. Sample commands: “Send text to my wife, ‘Please pick up milk'” and “Read my unread text messages”.
- Add the ability to define aliases for people and groups. I’d like to use aliases such as wife, boss, mom, kids, bowling team, close friends, etc. I’d like to be able to ask, “read messages from bowling team”.
- Add the ability to play Google Voice messages. Perhaps Google Home can blink if I have new voicemail and allow me to play them back.
Share your Google Home Suggested Improvements
Do you have any features you want added to Google Home? Are there any hardware suggestions you want to suggest for the next version of the device? Use the comments section to share your thoughts.
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