CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Google launches Pixel 5 with 5G Presidential debate 2020 Prime Day tips Chromecast with Google TV revamps Google's dongle Second stimulus check payment schedule Uber wins new London license TikTok ban delay

My 3 biggest Google Home pet peeves and how to fix them

Google is still my favorite at-home assistant, but there are a few things it could do better to make life even easier.

Listen
- 02:58
img-1418

Google Home is great, but it's not perfect -- some tasks require a workaround.

Dale Smith/CNET

In the world of digital voice assistants, I adore my Google Home ($99 at Walmart)I really do , but that doesn't mean our relationship is always coming up roses. At this point you could even say the honeymoon phase is pretty much over. I'm not saying we need counseling just yet, but my list of pet peeves has grown frustratingly long. And worse, it's starting to come across in my attitude when I talk to Google Assistant.

I know you should never expect anyone to change just for you, but that's one of the things I love most about Google Assistant -- Google is constantly evolving the technology. So maybe I can hold out some hope that things will eventually get better.

Until then, here are my top three Google Home pet peeves what I do to work around them.

Google Booth CES 2020

"Hey, Google" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue as easily as, say, "Alexa."

James Martin/CNET

Hey, could I get a better wake word?

The problem: "OK, Google" just feels awkward and clumsy to me, and "Hey, Google" is no better. Don't even get me started on Google being the name of the device (Google Home Mini), the AI (Google Assistant), the technology that powers the AI (Google search and services) and the company that owns it all (Google).

The fix: Even though Google won't let you choose a different wake word, you can manipulate Google Home's imperfect ear by using similar-sounding words to summon Google Assistant. "Hey, Boo Boo" remains my go-to, but I've also used "OK, Frugal," "Egg Noodle," "Go Lay Doo-Doo" and my all-time favorite "Cocaine Poodle."

Where are the Google Home location triggers?

The problem: You can set up a Google Home Routine to do just about anything, but the only way to trigger it is with a voice command. Alexa, on the other hand, lets you craft location-based triggers, so when you leave the house, for example, Alexa can turn off all the lights, set the thermostat to "away" mode and play Mozart for your cats.

google-locaiton-sharing

Google Assistant still cannot trigger a routine based on your location, even though Google always knows where you are if you're using Google Maps.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

The fix: A good assistant should know whether I'm home or not and behave accordingly, so until Google implements location-based triggers I'm furtively using the Alexa app on my iPhone ($699 at Amazon). Whether you have any Amazon Echo ($65 at Google Store) devices or not you can download the Alexa app and set up location triggers on your Android phone or iPhone. 

No stereo output port? That's jacked

The problem: Even though phone-makers have all but eliminated the humble 3.5mm headphone jack from smartphones, Amazon Echo devices still have an audio output port for delivering audio to a more capable stereo system. Google Home devices have no such ports, which means the only way to connect them with an external audio source is with Bluetooth

The fix: I hate to lean on Alexa again, but this works about as well (and for as little money) as anything: I picked up a couple of older second-gen Echo Dots ($40 at Amazon) from Amazon Warehouse Deals, which I plugged into two sets of high-quality speakers. From there it's a breeze to connect your Google Home to the Echo Dot with Bluetooth. 

amazon-echo-aux-out-jack

Unlike any Google Home speakers, Amazon Echo has an aux out port.

Ry Crist/CNET

Just open the Google Home app and tap Settings > Device settings > Default music player > Enable pairing mode. From there, pair your Google speaker with your Amazon speaker to enjoy hi-fidelity sound from your stereo speakers.

Enough with the negativity -- Google Home is still my favorite smart home ecosystem because of the things it does well, like setting timers and alarms and providing accurate up-to-the-minute weather forecasts. And even though you can't connect them to an external stereo, you can pair multiple Google Home smart speakers into a stereo array, which improves their sound tremendously.