doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Need to know more

Right off the bat, I’ll admit that I don’t own a dedicated personal digital assistant. That doesn’t mean that I’m not interested; I just don’t have a need right now. At least, one that I know of. That can always change.

If I’m within listening range, I can say “Hey, Google” and the Assistant comes to life on my phone. I would estimate that I use 1/1,000,000 of the possibilities that it offers. My needs typically are to ask questions. Like last night when Clint Black was on the ACM awards show, my wife wanted to know how old he was.

I could have started typing but it was just so much easier to ask my phone. I turned up the volume so that we could both hear the answer and then move back to watching the show.

The Google Assistant is certainly in a number of places.

But, what else can it do? Curiosity got the best of me so I went looking. A gold mine of ideas can be found here.

Not every option is available on every device, so this is helpful.

There’s lots to poke around with and to learn.

What’s your favourite use of the Google Assistant?

I’d really be interested is ways that people are using the Google Assistant in the classroom.


2 responses to “Need to know more”

  1. Good morning Doug!

    First of all, I don’t currently have a Google assistant in my classroom, although my students are always keen to hear what Siri has to say. We did put together one of the Google cardboard AI voice assistant raspberry pi projects a couple years ago, but it was difficult to keep it connected to the school network.

    At home, I typically use both a Google Home Mini and an Apple HomePod to have the Google Assistant and Siri help me out with things like the time, the weather, and living in an ST:TNG world where I can turn the lights on and off with my voice.

    • Hey Siri, what is the weather today?
    It’s currently cloudy and 4° in Belleville. Expect rain and cloudy skies starting in the morning. Today’s high will be 8°C, and the low will be 2°C.

    • Hey Siri what time is it?
    It’s 6:45 AM

    • Hey Google turn off all my lights.
    You got it, turning three lights off. Sorry, there was an error for My Big Light.

    • Hey Google, may I move my dogface to the banana patch? (William Robins reference)
    Sorry, I’m not sure how to help with that.

    • Hey Siri, may I move my dogface to the banana patch? ( maybe Siri can help?)
    I can’t get the answer to that on HomePod.

    And now, my personal favourite:

    • Hey Google in what year did Coventry City last win the FA cup? ( The question was asked in a skit written by Monty Python. It was, in fact, a trick question at the time. Coventry city had never won the FA Cup.)
    1987. Here’s a summary from the website The 1987 FA cup final took place on 16 May, 1987.

    In closing, this is one that I throw at Siri every now and then:
    • Hey Siri where are my scissors?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to use Cortana on my phone from time to time. I now have an Android phone but haven’t asked it anything. At home were have an Amazon Echo Dot and I mostly ask Alexa about the weather. Just not in to using it. I know it can do more but I can’t be bothered to set it up. I can always turn the lights off as I leave the room.


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