Google Home/Assistant Help


(Squatting Hen) #1

I am extremely frustrated at trying to have my smart devices work correctly with Google Home/Assistant.

I have numerous devices all setup with Smartthings, including ceiling fans, 6 or so lamps, outlets, and 7 or so light switches that all work with voice commands.

I have been using Alexa for a while now and have not had any issues operating my smart devices, but I did purchase 6 Google Home Minis, with the intention of moving form Amazon to Google. Unfortunately, if what I am experiencing can’t be corrected, I will have to abandon Google Home for Smart Home/Smart Devices.

What I am experiencing is that Google is grouping all of my “lights” “lamps” “outlets” together. This needs to be optional, or we need the option to be able to select which lights/lamps/outlets we would want in this group.

For us, if someone says to turn on the lamp and accidentally forgets to use the name of the lamp, all the lamps turn on. Same with a lights, they all turn on or off. Completely unacceptable.

People sleeping are being woken up because of this. We have kids and if they say turn on my lamp instead of the name of the lamp then all the lamps/lights turn on. All of them. With Alexa, if you don’t say the name (or group you create) it will let you know more than one device shares that name, which one did you want? You can then clarify. With that, no unwanted lights turn on or off.

Is there something I am missing? This can’t be right? If so, Google developers must not utilize smart home devices. Or the only have one of each device.


(Scott Chapman) #2

No that’s right, they basically let you group things together and control by naming convention.

One thing you can do, which may not be super intuitive, is to put devices into rooms, and use that for grouping. For example, I have all my living room lights in the “Living Room” room, I can control them by saying “turn on the living room”.

Google Home Assignment


(Squatting Hen) #3

That is awful. As an example for the living room we have a Living Room Lamp, Living room fan, and a Living room light. If I say turn on the living room light, google turns on the lamp and the light. I tried rooms in google and that was worse. The problem really lies in Google grouping light, lamps or whatever all together. My son does fine with Alexa, but if he says the wrong thing to google or just asks to turn his light off instead of using the lights official name, the entire house goes dark. Same if he says to turn his light on, all the lights and lamps come on.

I seriously can’t believe it works like this, and that it can’t be changed. I never want all my lights in my entire house on or off at the same time. If I did, it should allow , turn All the lights on. It shouldn’t turn everything on when someone says turn the light on or turn the lamp on.
All of our devices have names but if google doesn’t hear the name correctly or if someone forgets to say the name (kid, guest) then every light and lamp should not react.

Thanks for the reply. It just appears Google didn’t think this through at all.


(Scott Chapman) #4

…or create a shortcut which is super easy.

THere is a long way to go with these assistants. The good news is that there is an existential competition going on between Amazon and Google so I expect pretty rapid improvements.

IMHO I think Google has a leg up because they have a more complete ecosystem of data globally and about you. That’s why I went exclusively with them.


(Squatting Hen) #5

Basically, I just don’t want all the lights and lamps to turn on or off in the entire house when someone forgets to use the correct name of the lamp. Last night my three year old asked to turn his light off instead of the name of his lamp, and the entire house went dark.

Google may become more dominant and useful, but as of today there are a few limitations that we have already experienced between the two. Right now, Alexa is much more useful for music, smart devices, and calendars.

I just can’t use SmartThings or any smart devices with google if they lump all your lights together.


(Bob) #6

Some people, including myself, have defined virtual switches. These can then turn groups of lights off via webCoRE.
You can then say something like like ‘Turn off Virtual Lounge’ to turn off lounge lights.
Not ideal I know but with a bit of thinking through it works OK.


(Squatting Hen) #7

I want the exact opposite. I do not want a group of lights to be turned on or off. Just one. But if you don’t say the name accidentally google turns them all on or off.


(Scott Chapman) #8

Oh! You could buy some z-wave buttons and place them on the wall near the lights. That way you could press the button and have it turn on the light of your choice!
</sarcasm>

Seriously though I understand exactly what you are saying. It look me a while to get used to it, but I understand how it all works. There are lots of options for customizing your experience, it all depends on how much you want to invest.

I suspect these things will be getting simpler over time, but right now they are a little bit of a tinkering project which personally I am OK with.


(Squatting Hen) #9

The difficult part is, it works fine with Alexa. I assumed Google would have been the same. I still have 7 Alexa devices along with the 6 Google home. Really don’t one both in every room. I guess I could use Alexa for SmartThings.


(Bob) #10

You do not have to group lights. I was just making the point that an option is to define a virtual switch with a unique name do do what you want using GH and webCoRE.
You could define a virtual switch called ‘Thunderbox’.
When you say to GH ‘Turn on/off thunderbox’ a specific toilet light turns on/off.
This way if you say ‘Turn On/Off toilet light’ all you various toilet lights do not turn on/off.
This is not an ideal answer I know but could be a work round to get what you want.


(Peter Awad) #11

The hen is right, I just tried it with mine and everything turned on when I said “hey Google, turn on THE light”.
This is a bug and I would suggest reporting it to Google.


#12

You can do that without webcore by simply nicknaming the light what you would have on the virtual switch. I think the point of the OP is that he doesn’t want to have to remember to say the name of a particular light just to turn it off or on.


(Squatting Hen) #13

Thank you. Glad someone else can see the issue.


(Squatting Hen) #14

I have no problem saying the specific name. Hey Google turn on the Living Room Light (this is for the light on the ceiling fan). When I say that though, Google SHOULD NOT also turn on the Living Room Lamp…but it does.

I am good with then names, but kids have messed up and said it more natural, just saying hey Google turn of my/the light. What that does is turn everything off. That should not happen.


#15

It has actually been a known issue for some time now.

https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/googlehome/9zLpLRvhDRA/YkUckMk1AwAJ

My only point was that there is no need to create virtual switches in webcore to give a special name to a light. You can do that already in the google home app by using the nicknames function.

I have given up, and renamed all of my lights/light groups and removed the word “light” from the names and gotten used to not using the word lights. The thing that helped us was naming them something fun but descriptive (ie, the basement light group is the “dungeon”) Kids might even find that more fun and remember the names better that way.

Also, if you look at the devices authorized in Google Home, you will notice that Google thinks some outlets/plugs are lights too. My wife accidentally said turn off lights once… She learned her lesson when it also cut off the smart plug I was using for the laundry monitor. Six hours later, she remembered she had started the washing machine and it never finished.(I am laughing now… but at the time she made it painful for me)


(Squatting Hen) #16

Thanks for the notes. We shouldn’t have to do that though. Alexa works perfectly in this regard.

We have lamps and lights in most of the rooms. So I would have to change names to things like “the corner” " sitting area" “eating area” “corner table”. You don’t turn on a corner, you turn on a lamp or a light or a fan or…

When you have just a few lights maybe it isn’t a big deal. As it stands though, it is a terrible attempt at smart home integration. You would think Google would be able to utilize critical and forward thinking, but apparently not.

I was with my son last night doing bedtime. He said, Hey Google, turn of “John Doe’s lamp” (real name not used) Google said, okay, turning off 12 devices. Guess Google didn’t hear the name of the lamp correctly.

As it works, it is extremely dangerous. What if we have our fireplace connected to a switch and someone says to turn on a light, or a lamp and the downstairs fireplace comes on without the damper being opened?

What if a hair dryer or curling iron or coffee maker is on a plug…

This is extremely dangerous and absurd.


#17

No Argument there

Again, I agree. I have 114 devices. Of those, I think about 50 were lights (no neutral, and I want to safeguard against outages…) The biggest thing I did was to use trendsetter to group lights, and name them things like Couch(Two Lamps), Momcave (Single lamp in same room as couch), Dungeon (Basement), etc.

Agreed, we found this out with the washer. The other thing you can do is not authorize devices that are critical in GH. For instance, my locks aren’t ever going to be on GH, although my garage door is (But you have to say a special phrase I set up that will give Star Trek buffs a laugh).


#18

I bought a couple of Google Homes hoping to get rid of Alexa’s “I can’t do that yet” and other “I don’t know what the hell you’re asking me” type responses…

But I’ve found the Google Home devices painfully frustrating to use because of Google assumption that you must mean “everything” unless you specifically name a device or a room. This is particularly frustrating when you consider that 1: devices can be assigned to a room. And 2: a Google Home can also be assigned to a room. So if I have a half dozen devices assigned to the living room and I have a Google Home also assigned to the living room, it stands to reason that saying “Hey Google; turn off the lights” (when I’m in the living room) should only turn of the living room lights. The fact the all of the controlled lights in the house go off is insane.

When my wife asks me “Hey honey; turn of the lights” it’s implicitly understood that she means the lights in the room she’s in. I’m pretty sure she’d have me committed if I ran around the house and turned off every single light.

There are hundreds of posts on the Google Home help forum going back for quite some time and Google’s lack of action on this shows an arrogance that reminds me of Apple’s single button mouse ridiculousness.

I’ll be returning the i2 Google Home devices I bought before the holidays and will be picking up a could more Echo Dots. Alexa may not be the brightest bulb in some respects but she usually acts in a predicable manner when it comes to home control.


(Dan) #19

I too use GA. I found that naming conventions were critical. I had a lamp called TV Light and a TV called Samsung TV. If I said TV Light the TV would sometimes turn on. I used nicknames in the GA app for all devices I choose to operate individually. Doing so does not preclude their use in a Room (collection of devices.) The GA system is trying too hard to anticipate so it seems, to me, to get easily distracted when names or nicknames are too similar.

Also, you cannot delete a created room without having to uninstall and reinstall the GA Home App. I learned to be very restrained in creating Rooms.

Hope that helps.


(Matt Behnken) #20

Yeah ill start working on that soon. We’ve got Google minis in most rooms now so location awareness in rooms would be more caprica. Like turn on the lights triggers the lights in the room the request was made. I’ve been wanting this since Christmas when I got all the minis. Maybe webcore and castweb with assistant shortcuts.