Computers & Electronics

How do you have your Google Home Minis or Nest Minis set up at home?

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  • Dec 23rd, 2019 10:01 pm
[OP]
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Jun 5, 2010
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How do you have your Google Home Minis or Nest Minis set up at home?

Based on how some of the hottest threads in the deals section of RFD have been growing, it's safe to assume a lot of people have been getting some Google smart speakers. Maybe you have the Google Home, or the Google Nest Hub. Likely not the Google Home Max... (haven't seen anyone posting that they picked that up)

But most likely you grabbed Google Home Mini or Next Mini. Maybe free through the Youtube Music deal, or cheap through the Spotify deal, etc.

My question is: How do you (specifically) use your GHM or NM? Do you have multiple of them? How do you have them set up? Do you have any tips or tricks to get the most out of them?
I'm interested in hearing some ideas. It will probably inform me on how or what I should buy in the future. Thanks!
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[OP]
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Personally, I have 3 Google Home Minis and 2 Nest Minis.

I used to have the 3 GHMs (1 per floor of my house), but just recently bought the Nest Minis. I replaced the GHMs in my kitchen and upstairs hallway with the NMs, and plan on moving one GHM to the garage and one GHM to the dining room.

I like to make a speaker group with everything, this way when I'm doing chores around the house, I can play the same music everywhere.

I'm hoping that the GHM will survive in the garage. I heard it's only rated to temps down to 0 Celsius, and obviously our winters get much colder than that. So we'll see.

The upstairs speaker I also use as an alarm clock for myself and the kids. I set a routine to play one of my Spotify playlists bright and early. It's always been very hard for me to get out of bed, especially now that it's dark when waking up.

I don't have one setup in the bedroom. I'm not overly concerned about privacy, but for me, that was a bridge too far.
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Jan 21, 2018
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There are many long previous threads about this going back a couple of years. Lately most arguing about whether convenience is worth the invasion of privacy. But leaving that aside, it mostly falls under these categories:

1. General queries:

Google Assistant is quite good at answering general queries, certainly better than any of the competition. It surprises you with a relevant answer to a random query slightly more often than it disappoints you with a mistaken answer.

2. Daily routine queries:

Good for verbal checking of calendar, weather, traffic, latest news, reminders. Surprisingly it can't do notifications or email checking. Alexa can check your Gmail, while Google can't. Go figure!

3. Daily-use tool:

Setting timers and reminders, for example kitchen cooking timers, reminder to check something later. Sadly Google Home does not have very well thought-out reminders - they sound once, maybe while you are out of earshot, then disappear almost without a trace (there's a small light for a few minutes). Audio intercom/announcement system. Free speakerphone calls throughout North America.

4. Media player

The Mini isn't a great speaker, but it's fine for radio and background music selected by verbal command. And you can cast media to another better speaker (like Sonos, or a larger Google speaker - or use a Bluetooth speaker) if you have one. It works with several online music and radio services, although there's a learning curve to how to say your command to get the right musical selection (what, you didn't want the Inverness Bagpipes cover version of that top 10 pop tune?).

5. Home Automation

Most home automation devices and systems will now work with Google Home, allowing you to control things like lights, switches, thermostats etc. by verbal command. Google doesn't provide much support as an output device for home automation systems except their own Nest devices, but using your own services like Home Assistant or OpenHab you can get Google speakers to output announcements or sound clips. Mine announce when a door/window opens, or when motion is detected at the front door for example, even though the sensors aren't Google Nest devices. I also have one of mine acting as a chiming clock, chiming out the hours (from Home Assistant).

A concern about using Google Home for home automation is that Google is trying to build a closed one-way system: they support control of many other brands of home automation devices from Google Home, but Google is shutting down outside access to Google Nest devices from other home automation systems (e.g., Nest thermostats and Nest Protect alarm sensors).
[OP]
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Ya, I figured there's probably a bunch of threads on this already. I searched specifically though for ones concerning the mini and didn't see anything in the past couple months. So thought it might be worth discussing again since a lot of people will be picking one up this holiday season.

Personally, I bought both a mini and echo dot at the same time. And leaned towards the mini because I preferred the assistant to Alexa. Simply the more natural way of speaking.

I don't use it for updates on calendars, traffic, etc. Never got around to it.

Multiple timers in the kitchen is great. Use it often. Used to use the timer on the stove, then the one on the microwave, and then time things with my watch... Haven't tried reminders. Maybe I will.

It's been noted often that it's a bad speaker. I find it "good enough". I listen to music on it everyday. I don't find it bad at all. But perhaps if I actually listened to a good speaker to compare, I might change my mind. In the mean time, I'm happy with it. It's true though that once in a while it has issues understanding my music selection. I've spent time putting together playlists on Spotify, so it's annoying when it keeps playing the wrong playlist.

A chiming clock like an old grand father clock? That's very interesting! I also have a Nest thermostat. I rarely change the temperature by voice command though. Often opting for the phone app.
[OP]
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Anyone else find the Nest Minis quieter than the Home Minis? Probably has to do with the base being better. So more focus on that I guess.

I usually listen to music at 20-30% volume. But both GHMs that I replaced with the Nest Minis, I need it at 40%.
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Skilas wrote: I usually listen to music at 20-30% volume. But both GHMs that I replaced with the Nest Minis, I need it at 40%.
Unfortunately volume varies considerably depending on the source and content, so you can only compare if playing the same source and content to both speakers.

There is still no reliable standard for setting a consistent volume between different sources. The most common complaint of GH users is that the voice response is much louder than media playback, so you get "Hey Google, play some light jazz music" - "OK, PLAYING LIGHT JAZZ MUSIC", followed music so quiet you can hardly hear it after that deafening blast.
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how about the nest hub. I have a nest thermostat and outdoor cameras that i didnt install yet. I got one of the hubs for $70 from staples but have not used it yet and thinking if i need it or not
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Scote64 wrote: Unfortunately volume varies considerably depending on the source and content, so you can only compare if playing the same source and content to both speakers.

There is still no reliable standard for setting a consistent volume between different sources. The most common complaint of GH users is that the voice response is much louder than media playback, so you get "Hey Google, play some light jazz music" - "OK, PLAYING LIGHT JAZZ MUSIC", followed music so quiet you can hardly hear it after that deafening blast.
That makes sense. But I've been comparing with the same source, and same music. I made a Spotify play list that I listen to everyday. So it was noticeable the first day I plugged in my Nest Mini and felt like I could barely hear at my typical sound level. But that could be just what I'm used to. Isn't a big deal if I need to get used to saying 10% higher for volume.
Newbie
Oct 9, 2008
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I have a Home, a mini and a Lenovo alarm clock.
All set up in same group called "at home".

Why is it I can turn on my Christmas tree (smart plug) from most home devices and cellphone except the mini?
Newbie
Oct 29, 2008
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I have 4 Google Mini's in my house. Set up as 'home" group. 1 each in my 2 oldest kids room, 1 in the master bedroom and 1 in the family room.

I love the broadcast function. Don't need to yell from downstairs to upstairs.

We have a few smart plugs in the kids rooms, attached to their lamps (they read before going to bed, and can turn off the lamp "Turn off KidX's lamp".

Have spotify attached to it so we can play music throughout the house.
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riseagainstthemachine wrote: how about the nest hub. I have a nest thermostat and outdoor cameras that i didnt install yet. I got one of the hubs for $70 from staples but have not used it yet and thinking if i need it or not
bought the Nest Hub and returned it 2 hrs later. Was just a glorified Assistant in my opinion, can do the same things as our tablets/cell phones
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redsfan wrote: bought the Nest Hub and returned it 2 hrs later. Was just a glorified Assistant in my opinion, can do the same things as our tablets/cell phones
I just picked up the nest hello. I think it will be ok to keep in the bedroom for my wife to see the front door. ill test it out.
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I have a Nest Hub, still in box, I am unsure if I want to open it. I use my Mini daily, but I feel like two extra Minis might find more use than one regular Nest Hub. The Nest Hub would go in the kitchen where it'll be used as a kitchen tool and audio speaker. I can see myself using the screen, but I think the Hub's Assisstant screen info is really lacking and doesn't offer as much variety. For example, asking for a recipe or cooking instructions will only show what the Assistant thinks is relevant. Same for Youtube casting videos, you can't really browse as easily. But at least the option is there and you don't need to fetch the phone and constantly keep the screen from sleeping and forgetting where you last left it. My SO and I are always in the kitchen, her for baking and me for cooking. I just really hope Google doesn't do their Googly thing and drop development mid life cycle like they have for some of their products and services.


I am not sure. I got it for a great price so I am very much considering keeping it mainly cause it was so cheap.
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riseagainstthemachine wrote: I just picked up the nest hello. I think it will be ok to keep in the bedroom for my wife to see the front door. ill test it out.
we have Rogers Smart Home Monitoring and looking for something that acts as a second touchpad to see our camears, and thought these types of things would work, and they don't.
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May 23, 2017
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redsfan wrote: we have Rogers Smart Home Monitoring and looking for something that acts as a second touchpad to see our camears, and thought these types of things would work, and they don't.
ah got ya. i have nest camera so in theory they should work.

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