home

"I told a smart speaker to find Mariah and a chicken recipe. Here's what it did."

This post is not sponsored, and no Mariah Carey songs were played during the course of it being written.

I introduced a new piece of tech into my home recently and feel smart.

No, I don’t have a swanky smart home just yet, like those people who operate light switches, air conditioning and check security cameras on their phones.

But I do appreciate when technology can add something to your home life. I took a baby step into this world when my partner and I trialled a smart speaker, promising to become a silent partner in our relationship.

LG smart speaker

Meet the LG WK7 Smart AI ThinQ Speaker, the brand's first voice assistant smart speaker with an in-built Google Assistant. Once connected to a Google Home app you can download for free, this thing is capable of telling you the weather, finding you a dinner recipe, and sourcing ’90s R‘n’B playlists (featuring Destiny’s Child). All you have to do is "say my name". Or say Google’s name (“Hey Google”). Shhh, don't tell Siri.

It can do a lot of things. I almost expected it to be able to solve arguments, too. Alas, this artificial intelligence isn’t there for emotional intelligence – it’s there to make life easier, faster and use your time smarter. Which, in turn, actually solves arguments, right?

Here are five things we asked it to do and how it responded:

“Hey Google, play Mariah Carey on Spotify”

So, here’s one big disclaimer I need to make upfront: The ThinQ Speaker is exclusively set up with Google products. For example, it won’t access your calendar unless you use Google Calendar. And the ThinQ Speaker is connected to YouTube and YouTube Music, as well as Spotify. So, it’s going to work best for music if you have a subscription with YouTube Music or Spotify Premium.

I’ve got an Apple Music subscription and only a free Spotify account. When I asked the speaker to play Mariah Carey, it said “Here’s a Spotify station featuring Mariah Carey” and delivered me ‘Bleeding Love’ by Leona Lewis, ‘All Cried Out’ by Allure and 112, and ‘No Scrubs’ by TLC. Great songs! But no Mariah. Why no Mariah? Because if I wanted to choose a particular playlist or album, I’d need to have Spotify Premium. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by the songs on the station playlist, and the high-fidelity audio (using Meridian Technology) makes these bass-heavy tracks throb, as they should.

This meme could not be more accurate right now. 

“Hey Google, I want a recipe for roast chicken”

“OK, I’ve got a recipe for roast chicken for you from RecipeTinEats that serves five and takes one hour and 45 minutes to make.” This is actually really nifty. And if it serves a roast chicken recipe you don’t like, you can just revert to Googling one on your phone (old-school style, with fingers) and send it to your Google Home app so it can guide you through on the speaker. It’s a lot easier than running back to your phone, iPad or that written recipe on a greasy scrap fished out of your pile of papers constantly.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Hey Google, is Bambini Wine Trust open on a Monday morning?”

My partner’s got a meeting in the city and wants to go to Bambini Wine Trust. Google Assistant gives us the opening hours in a heartbeat. About 15 seconds of traditional Googling saved. He's happy, I'm happy, we're happy.

“Hey Google, what’s the weather in Sydney tomorrow?

“In Sydney tomorrow, it’ll be partly cloudy with a high of 19 and a low of 14. If you ever want to know what time it is, just ask.” This saves me checking my weather app in the morning, so I’m cool with this. I also like the prompt about the fact you can ask the Google Assistant for the time, any time. The offshoot of having a product like this is that I won’t need to check my phone as often for the time. Note: You can set up to six family members to have their voices recognised by the Google Assistant on the LG ThinQ Speaker – I can see how something like this would be really helpful for a big family, or the head of a big family, who’s multitasking.

“Hey Google, what’s the speed limit on the Sydney Harbour Bridge?”

Before we leave the house to go visit our parents, my partner interrupts our Spotify station listening (no sign of Mariah 15 songs in, but we made it to 15 songs so...) to ask another burning question.

Google Assistant draws upon information from Transport NSW’s Roads & Maritime Services website. Good place to start… until it tells us the speed limit is 15 knots. Don’t we measure in kilometres per hour? OH. It’s talking about boats going under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sorry, Google Assistant, that’s not exactly what we were wanted to know. But if it ever comes up in a trivia night, I’ll be scoring a point for my team.

Actually my ride, I'm real discreet. 

The verdict?

The Google Assistant still has a few kinks to iron out, but the LG ThinQ Speaker lives up to its promise of delivering superior audio and making life easier for that never-ending list of tasks that stack up when you’re trying to run a home (and your life).

You don’t get to really experience the full benefits without the bells and whistles of Google compatible products. I have Apple TV and no Chrome Cast so, as an Apple / IOS junkie, the LG ThinQ is a bit tricky. But if you’re an Android user and Google is your life, this is your new best friend – and it’s an even better friend if you have ovens, fridges and kitchen appliances that work with Google Assistant.

What's your experience with smart homes or smart products? Share with us below.

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???