There’s no doubt that smart speakers are annoying. I don’t care if Siri, Alexa or Google locks my front door. I asked them to do it and I expect that to happen. We’ll mark the fact that it does not always perform this action. Google’s announcement this week , that it is taking more steps to prevent its Google Assistant from chatting away to you each time you send a Nest smart speakers a command, is a welcomed one.
When you ask the Assistant to turn off the lights in the room where you are, it already keeps a low profile. It sends a soft chime as if to confirm that it has been successful. You know, just in case the lights turning off didn’t make you aware of this. It still enjoys a chat with you when you ask it for something as simple as changing the thermostat temperature. “Okay, set the AC in your living room to 76 degrees.”
When you ask the speaker to control smart devices, it will instead chime rather than start a conversation.
According to a blog post on the community page of Google this new change will be rolled out in the coming weeks. The speaker will chime rather than start a conversation when asked to control smart devices such as switches, plugs and blinds.
This is only applicable to the room that you and the speaker share. When I ask my Nest Hub in the evening to turn off lights in the living room, it still responds loudly, “TURNING ON LIVING ROOM LUMINESS.
They have all failed.
Every other smart speaker maker has figured out how to know when it’s time to go silent. Google, as usual in the smart home world, is behind. Apple’s HomePods or Amazon’s Echo are both capable of not responding to you when you ask them to manage smart home devices in any room. Outside of this use case, though, there are no guarantees.
However, none of them has cracked the failure nut. Back to the pin. All voice assistants respond with a manual of instructions to explain what’s wrong, how to fix it or list all it can’t do. It’s infuriating.
It’s easy. Here’s some free advice for Google, Amazon and Apple. A nice chime when the command works (although that may not be strictly necessary), and a gentle buzz if it doesn’t (think Family Feud), with troubleshooting information sent to your smartphone or smart display for you to handle, should you care.