Home assistants are going to bring us so many changes to technology over the next couple of years. We can already turn on our lights, adjust our thermostats, see who is at our front door and get the news that we want in the morning. The other thing that we are going to see more of is the integration of these devices. Google, for example, has their smart speaker (and a few variations now), but they also have literally everything else – including the ability to watch TV on a Chromecast device, but they also own YouTube. Do you see where I’m going with this? It’s no longer about just being able to turn something on. It’s becoming about integrating all of these devices into your life so that they can make your life easier.
You can already use your Google Home speaker in order to control regular YouTube videos if you have a Chromecast device. But now you can also use Home to watch YouTube TV. Google has enabled voice control for its cord cutting television service from Home speakers. Which makes it possible to change channels without even touching your remote. This is a great idea, but it also feels a bit lazy doesn’t it? I mean, you could literally just pick up your remote, couldn’t you?
You can ask the Google Assistant to play a specific channels or shows, and it’s even smart enough to pick up on some less straightforward requests. For example, you can tell it to play an NBA game, and it will switch to basketball without needing to identify a specific channel or team. But maybe it’s not the game you want, so you can tell it to switch again. I do like the idea of being able to do this, but it feels lazy to me. That’s just my opinion though. I could see myself taking advantage of this ability when I’m feeling so incredibly lazy that I can’t pick up the remote.
This is only useful if you live in one of the major US cities where YouTube TV is available. I’m not trying to get off track too much here, but I do want to talk about the service for a moment. You physically need to be in your home area, or wherever you will most frequently use YouTubeTV. Let’s call this area “home”. You can’t sign up outside of your “home” area. But once you’ve signed up, it works everywhere in the US. Kind of. If you’re in an area where YouTube TV is available, you will have access to local and national networks as well as your recordings. If you’re in an area that doesn’t have YouTube TV service, you will only have access to national networks and recordings in your library.
Which seems a bit complicated. With that in mind, will people use this feature? I’m going to say yes. I mean, chances are you’re not carrying your Google Home speaker around with you outside of your “home” area, so it makes sense. It’s also just another example of technology integration. While this feature isn’t the most useful, in my opinion, it certainly gives users options and that is what we want. The ability to choose. The ability to be in control. What will they integrate next?