76

Well, the alarms issue is gone. My alarms work as expected.

Is there a way to check what's new when the Google Assistant is updated? I love that you can easily check with Alexa and haven't found a way with Google. I can view the firmware version from the Google Home app, but nothing else.

Grab my Adventure at C: stages Right here.

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77

It's about the same for the Echo, all of these digital assistants are dependant on WiFi because all of their intelligence is in the cloud.

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78

One thing I've noticed about the Max over the Echo is that the Max doesn't seem as sensitive to my voice as the Echo was despite both having this far field technology. With the Echo I could get its attention by saying "Alexa" at a normal conversational level, but with the Max, I find I need to raise my voice a little above what I'd call a conversational level to get its attention. Kind of like, you have to shout at it.

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79

Try out Audio Escape Room! Its a fun game!

Kingdom of Loathing name JB77

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80

Well, when I got my Max back from the exchange when I thought the first one was defective, the first thing it did was a firmware update. I now know two things that have changed.

The first is that if nothing is playing, adjusting the volume now plays beeps at each volume level change so you can hear at what level you are setting the volume to. A nice touch.

A not so nice touch is what they did to the default speaker feature. Before the firmware update, both the Max and the Echo behaved the same. I have a small bettery powered, water resistant, Bluetooth speaker I keep in the shower so I can listen to music while showering. Before the firmware update, after set up, turning on the speaker would cause audio output to switch to the shower speaker, and turning it off would switch the audio back to the device's main speaker, perfect!

But now, after the update, turning off the shower speaker causes the Max to reset the default speaker setting back to its own speaker so that turning on the shower speaker again doesn't cause audio to switch to it. Instead you have to go back into the Google Home app and redo the default speaker set up, only to have it reset back to the main speaker when the shower speaker is turned off again.

Thanks a lot, Google! You just made my shower speaker worthless.

So now I can add that feature to the growing list of features and functions that don't work with the Google Home assistant that do work with Alexa and the Echo.

I may end up boxing up the Google Home Max and going back to the Echo and Alexa, then wait a year before trying it again to see if Google has fixed their problems.

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81

You can activate the bluetooth by voice, you know. They don't really document that feature very well. But activate bluetooth allows it to search for a device, and pair bluetooth turns on pairing mode on the speaker.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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82 (edited by Jeffb 2018-04-26 21:18:08)

I'm pritty sure you just have to say hey google play music on shower speaker. Beeps at each volume level is nothing new. Its done that since I got my home at Christmas. Maybe this is new for the max though but I don't see why it would be.

Kingdom of Loathing name JB77

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83 (edited by Orko 2018-04-27 00:19:13)

Maybe so, but before I didn't have to say anything, just step into the shower and turn on the speaker and, viola! Music!

Now though, even with voice control, I'd have to go into the shower, turn on the speaker, then go to where the Max can hear me and tell it to play through the shower speaker, then go back to the shower, ridiculous! These smart speakers or digital assistants are supposed to make things easier, not harder.

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84

This is true. The default music speaker setting in the google home app is supposedly what you need to use, but if even that isn't working then we've got a problem. You can put your max on the beta channel so that if you report it to google you are bound to get preview firmware that could possibly have fixed that bug before the general update comes.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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85

That's exactly what I was using, I'd set the shower speaker to be the default so that when it is on, the Max plays through it, but if it's off the Max will play through its own speaker. This works in the updated firmware except that when you turn off the shower speaker, instead of leaving the default speaker setting alone and just playing through its own speaker, the Max now changes the default speaker setting back to its own speaker, so that turning on the shower speaker doesn't result in the Max playing through it. In a nutshell, if you use the default speaker option, the new default speaker must remain on at all times, which isn't practical for a battery operated speaker, or a shower speaker that you only need while you are taking a shower.

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86

Orko wrote:

That's exactly what I was using, I'd set the shower speaker to be the default so that when it is on, the Max plays through it, but if it's off the Max will play through its own speaker. This works in the updated firmware except that when you turn off the shower speaker, instead of leaving the default speaker setting alone and just playing through its own speaker, the Max now changes the default speaker setting back to its own speaker, so that turning on the shower speaker doesn't result in the Max playing through it. In a nutshell, if you use the default speaker option, the new default speaker must remain on at all times, which isn't practical for a battery operated speaker, or a shower speaker that you only need while you are taking a shower.

The other speaker setting is paired speakers, which is for setting up left and right channel speakers, not what I need, or want, for the shower speaker.

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87

Now that I am getting comfortable with the Google Assistant's built in features, though some don't appear to work out of the box, some sort of work around is needed to get them working, and I don't know what they are yet. Specifically alarms and timers, you can set them but they are immediately forgotten, I am beginning to explore what Google calls services, which are what Amazon calls skills. One thing I like about Google's set up is that these services are always available, unlike with Alexa, there is no need to enable the service first, you just use it when you want it, and among all those available services is a ton of games!

If you have an Android device, call you need is the Google Home app to go with your Google Home device, but if you have an iOS device, you need to install both the Google Assistant and Google Home apps.

At present my two favorite games are Akinator, in this game, which is also available as stand alone apps for Android and iOS, you think of a real or fictional character and the assistant will try to guess it by asking you yes or no questions about your character. It's pretty amazing in that I've only been able to stump it once. My other favorite is Star Wars Trivia, it's pretty much like many other trivia games except that it has two modes, story and survival. In story mode you work your way through the Star Wars story starting with episode IV A New Hope and answer trivia questions about the story as your progress through it. I haven't yet tried survival mode so I can't tell you about it yet, but I imagine that survival depends on correctly answering a minimum number of questions.

If anyone figures out how to get alarms and timers to work, I'd love to hear about it. It rather surprises me that Google would allow such an obvious flaw to go unaddressed for very long.

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88

I have no idea what is going on with your clock and alarm, as my google home remembers them just fine.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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89

Oddly enough, I just tried them again and now they all work, the only thing I can think of that has changed is that this time I had the Google Assistant app installed on my phone where I didn't have it when I tried the alarms and timers before when they didn't work. Whether having the Assistant app installed was the solution, I don't know. I'm just happy that the alarms and timers are now working.

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90

Is it possible to reset the data in the Assistant services? This is possible if you disable and enable any Alexa skill, so I wonder if there is an equivalent for Google Assistant?

Grab my Adventure at C: stages Right here.

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91

Since all the data the Google Assistant creates, either by itself or through its services or skills, is part of the data stored in your Google account, I'd suggest looking in your Google account setting for an option to delete data associated with a particular service or skill.

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92

One thing I've noticed, when there is no noise, the Max gets triggered as if its wake phrase had been spoken, then it immediately goes back to sleep. I notice this because I have the accessibility sounds turned on.

I might understand it if something, like the TV, or the radio, was playing, but the room is completely quiet.

Very weird.

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93

One thing I've noticed about the Google Home assistant and that is that either many of the services or skills aren't very well tested or the platform itself has problems, as I've found a number of services with fairly obvious bugs that shouldn't have been allowed to get past testing, assuming that they even bother to test these things. In one service called "What fruit am I?" where you answer some personality oriented questions and it will tell you what kind of fruit best matches the answers you've given, it asks you whether you'd rather fly a plane or a kite, but won't accept either answer forcing you to abort the quiz. The Star Trek trivia game also has similar problems in that some questions won't accept the answer you give it eventually resulting in the game being aborted.

Alexa also had problems, but at least it would say something like, "I can't access that skill right now, please try again later."

I know that Google Assistant is newer than Alexa, but the Google Home has been out for a year now and since Google is a company who's bread and butter is writing web services, you'd think these services for their assistant would be better tested than they appear to be. At least for me most of these services are only a secondary reason for having the digital assistant in the first place, so if if I find a service that is buggy, I just don't use that service any more and give it a low rating in the Google Home app.

Even with the Echo and all of the skills that were available, I got bored with most of the games that were available to the point that the only two games I kept enabled were Question of the Day, which is available on the Google assistant, and Jeopardy, which isn't available on Google, but I don't really miss it, so that's not really a problem.

Mostly what I used the Echo and now the Google Home Max for is commercial free background music via streaming, information, and alarms and timers.

And now that Amazon has announced that they are yet again raising the price of Prime memberships, that just makes me more determined to stick with my decision to go with the Google Assistant over Alexa. Especially since about the only Prime benefit I was using was two day shipping, which isn't a necessity, and while you don't need Prime to use Alexa or most of its skills, without prime some skills, like Jeopardy, have only limited access, and you can't do voice ordering, and you have no access to music unless you link a Pandora or Spotify account to Alexa. And here Alexa only support Pandora's free account, to link Spotify you have to have a paid account.

At least with Google Home, free music accounts from both Pandora and Spotify are supported as well as free Google Play accounts.

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94

This may happen from time to time with skills being aborted but it’s not a constant. I've played what fruit are you several times and had no issues with it yet. I have however had issues with other skills but nothing to major and nothing that can't be fixed by going back into it. I have had skills close me when I launched them but opening them again fixed the issue. It’s not all going to be 100% perfect and the reason why it probably isn't as tested as Alexa is because it’s more open to developers and anyone that can program can make apps for it. So where I too wish that the skills were less buggy I also love that it has so many skills and games!

Kingdom of Loathing name JB77

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95

Unfortunately that isn't apparently always true, I've tried what fruit three or four times and any time it asks about flying a plane or a kite, the game has to be aborted, it's not an intermittent failure but a rock solid one. The same is true for Star Trek Trivia, any time it asks about the official intoxicant served on ten forward, the game is over because you can't get past the question's failure to accept your answer.

I have encountered the hit or miss problems and those I'm not reporting because they aren't solid failures, but are more like temporary glitches.

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96

I had no problems answering the plane or kite question. If it doesn't understand you the first time try saying it slowly.

Kingdom of Loathing name JB77

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97

I tried that and every thing else I could think of, nothing worked. I might have considered it a hardware problem except that every thing else, including most other skills, works just fine, it is just some skills that refuse to accept what ever answer I give them.

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98

Kinda pissed with Google right now.
I got a mini for my mom for mother's day, she's blind just like me and I wanted to use it to replace her old, incredibly over zealous voice activated talking alarm clock.
It does other stuff which is nice, particularly the fun services, but mostly it was for the amazing voice recognition and the fact that you can talk to it in a conversational tone and it will extrapolate mistakes.
How ever I just found out that for some asinine reason, you can't use media based wakeup alarms in Canada, so those where you can tell it (wake me up with death metal) or [wake me up with the radio] won't work.
This makes no sense seeing as I was able to play songs from the radio and google play easily.
I also can't send emails, even though asking for my last bill or order confirmation works (both email based commands) and again this should have nothing to do with my country.
Additionally, asking it (where am I) and (what's around me) don't work, and though I am in a small area it can still find me specific business types with reasonable accuracy so I'm not sure what's up with that...
I also can't use my phone number through it, because it needs to verify using text, which won't work on my landline, even though GMail can call you just fine...
Pretty bullshit considering they've had over a year of this thing being on the market, at least 4 months of it being in Canada, and half the work was already done by Echo before they even got their.
I know it could be worse true, but for my usage case, not by much, considering I don't have a smart home, use a TV, travel allot, or am located in a large city.
Not worth 80 CAD, maybe 40. At least at this point...

This... -- Is CNN'.
Well Ted, it sure looks like there's been uh, quite a bit of violence around here
"aaoh, that violence was terrible'!"
Yeah it was, pretty bad.

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99

You have to add your location in the home app same with your phone number. Mine can't text yet even with my number added. The wake me up with music thing seems to work in the US you can change the region if you want or send feedback to Google.

Kingdom of Loathing name JB77

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100

Yeah I added my location, do you know how to change region?

This... -- Is CNN'.
Well Ted, it sure looks like there's been uh, quite a bit of violence around here
"aaoh, that violence was terrible'!"
Yeah it was, pretty bad.

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