For as long as AI devices like and have been on the market, I've resisted bringing one into my house. Despite being well-versed in all things smart technology, I just never really felt the need to own one. After all, I've been turning on my own Christmas lights, pressing play on music, and Googling the answers to random questions with my own two thumbs for years. So yeah, I had a little bit of the, "If it ain't broke," mentality going on.
But I'm here to tell you that's all changed, and I finally understand why so many Americans are grabbing the (GHH) off store shelves. It does all the things I didn't think I needed, and while I can open my Spotify app, scroll for my Christmas Songs playlist, and hit play, I admit it's much nicer to simply tell my machine to do all that.
I've also realized just how manageable life has felt these days, despite being smack in the middle of holiday season — a.k.a the craziest, busiest, most stressful time of year for many, myself included. And I'm not the only one who's sought out an AI device to help make life more manageable: a recent Google consumer survey found that 55% of respondents rely on smart technology to prep for holiday meals, and half use it to entertain friends and kids at holiday parties.
No idea whether an AI device is right for your home? Let me enlighten you even further as to why 33% of those survey respondents said they wished they had an AI assistant to help 'em out with holiday prep — and why I'm so glad I now do:
1. I can actually follow a recipe while my hands are covered in cookie batter.
I'll be really honest here: I don't really enjoy cooking all that much, so when it comes to prepping an awesome Christmas dinner, I leave that magic to my mother (or mother-in-law!). But baking? Now that's my jam. The more Christmas cookies, holiday bark, and cake pops I can whip up, the more holiday spirit I feel.
But unlike cooking, baking is about science — meaning you can't just wing it with your measurements. (Trust me, I've tried.) So it's super frustrating when I'm in the middle of a recipe, my hands covered in flour or sticky with dough, and all of a sudden my cell phone screen goes black. That doesn't happen with GHH — not only can I have it read the step-by-step instructions to me out loud at any time via the voice control feature, but I can also read the recipe myself now that the Hub has a display screen. And if I don't have the same measurement tool as the one listed in the recipe, I can always ask Google to do a quick conversion.
2. Speaking of recipes, I can easily save them in one spot now.
While my mother grew up using actual cookbooks and filling out recipe cards, I have always pulled from the internet. I'm also one of those people who, whenever I want to try a new recipe, leaves the tab open on my phone or computer so I remember to actually make it one night. As I'm sure you can imagine, this leads to an insanely high number of open tabs, the majority of which then promptly get ignored because it gets overwhelming, fast.
Enter the Google Assistant's My Cookbook feature to save the day. Once I have the recipe I want to try, I simply tell GHH to "save the recipe." That way I can scroll through all of my saved recipes in one spot — to cue them up, I just say, "Hey Google, show my cookbook" — without having to remember which website it originally came from.
3. I can order wrapping paper, tape, or labels without going to the store.
There's nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of a gift-wrapping spree and realizing I'm out of tape (or paper, or gift tags). Or being prepped and ready to whip up a holiday cocktail, only to notice I forgot to grab the key ingredient that really makes it sing. Instead of putting my coat back on and schlepping to the store, I can simply tell GHH "buy wrapping paper" and it'll pull up options from the store. Or, when my husband uses the Broadcast feature to tell me he's on his way home from work, I can reply and tell him to pick it up on the way. Genius.
4. I can get lit.
The kids may be tossing out this phrase when they're in the mood to party, but thanks to the Google Assistant's I'm actually just talking about turning on my Christmas lights. Google has six pre-made routines available already, so that when you say a single phrase it activates a series of actions. Take their "good morning" routine, for example. Once I say that phrase, the GHH automatically tells me about today's weather, commute, and any events on my calendar before pressing play on my "ready for work" playlist on Spotify.
Since it's the holidays, I decided my house needed to feel festive as soon as I walked through the door. So I created a custom Routine — aptly named "let's get lit" — so that once I say it, my Christmas tree and the white twinkly lights on my windows turn on. And no, these aren't fancy, uber-expensive Christmas lights. All I had to do was buy a and it turned my ordinary lights into ones that are smart-tech compatible.
5. I can remember gifts on the go.
For some reason, the greatest ideas come at the most inconvenient times — usually when I'm in the shower, driving, or doing something where I can't take a minute to write the idea down. The other day, for example, I decided I wanted to get my goddaughter a pair of insanely cute Christmas jammies while I was on my way to get my flu shot. Thanks to GHH's Notes and Lists feature, instead of repeating the idea over and over in my head until I had a chance to write it down, all I had to do was open my (those with a Pixel don't even have to open an app) and say, "Add Baby Shark Christmas Jammies for Kassidy to my gift list." Voila — it was added to my ongoing shopping list, no memory games required.