My Favourite Smart Thing

Google Home Mini an easy path to 'Dance Party'

Image of a Google Home Mini smart speaker
The Google Home Mini, like other smart speakers, can become an indispensable new member of the household: the virtual assistant.

Easy to set up, smart speaker launches a lot of fun at home

Janelle Comeau

Every day our lives get busier and technology advances. It's time to put down your day planner and pick up a virtual assistant instead.

A few months ago I was gifted a Google Home Mini. I'm not going to lie; I was both excited and scared. I'm no stranger to technology but I was worried about what it would take to set up. After putting it off for a few months, I finally decided that it was time.

It was easy. This is all it takes:

  1. Plug the device into power
  2. Download the Google Home app (available on any app store – Android or iPhone)
  3. Connect the device to your Wi-Fi network
  4. Play

Now when I say Play, the idea here is to take some time and play around inside of the Google Home app, as it's the basis and hub for everything. You set rooms or destinations in your home, train it to recognize your voice, link it to your Google account, and start pairing devices.

And that's when I learned something that will save you time (and money). When purchasing smart products to pair with your Google Home, make sure those bulbs and other smart products are compatible with the Google Home app. Our first time setting it up had us making a run to Wal-Mart to purchase another set of smart bulbs.

After set-up, the fun begins

The possibilities seem endless, but I couldn't resist making my first command: "Hey Google, Dance Party". And I was ecstatic when all my lights turned purple and 'Janelle's Spotify dance mix' began to play.

After that, I started programing the smart speaker as my virtual assistant (Google Assistant). For example when I wake up in the morning I say "Hey Google, good morning" and with its voice recognition software, it recognizes me and runs through my morning routine. It turns on my lights, gets me weather info, lets me know what traffic is like on the way to work, and runs through the day's schedule. You can even have it make lists for you or set reminders and timers.

In the beginning, the hardest thing about Google Home is remembering that it's there. I'd walk into the living room and ask my husband to turn on the lights and he'd respond with "why don't you ask Google to do it?" And now, I don't know how I managed life before Google Home.

Interested in joining our smart speaker trial?

If you're interested in purchasing a smart speaker for yourself, why don't you join our smart speaker trial? To participate in the trial, you'll need to own one of the two most popular smart speakers (from Amazon or Google).

We're looking for ways that technology can also help us reduce our energy usage – as well as our energy bills. Learn more about the trial, and register if you're interested.

Janelle Comeau is a member of BC Hydro's community team.