the IT city, the I.T. Baby


Google Home wrecker

About three years ago I created a bedtime playlist. I named it “Bedtime Fun” because Assistant at the time would play a station called Bedtime Music unless I explicitly stated to play bedtime on Google Play Music.

TL;DR – a couple of Assistant/Home issues have me making backup plans. Stories of parenting.

It’s been part of the bedtime routine for my four year old since she could ask for things. She always wants the same music, same calm down routine, etc.

Last week we had some sort of AT&T upstream issue. It knocked out most Google services relating to Home for a few minutes (as well as Netflix looking like I was on dial-up, Amazon looking like garbage, but speedtest pulling 700+mbit due to being in network).

Kim asked if I had a CD of any of this music and I was like – sure, I’ve got lullaby CDs that people gave us, but I haven’t had a CD player in 14 years now except in my car and on my computer.

I connected my phone to the Google Home mini via casting and played my 4yo a bedtime jam that sufficed. A little later whatever was going on was resolved, I don’t think it was Google’s issue, just a carrier one.

Last night was a Google issue. Home refused to play any playlist I had. It just kept playing a YouTube channel called Songs for Bedtime or some such. I even went to the Lenovo Smart Display and asked it to play my playlist. I watched it correctly recognize all my words and then ignore what I asked for and attempt to play something off of YouTube. I asked it to play my playlist off of Google Play Music, and once again it tried to do something else.

I opened Google Play Music on my phone, started casting the playlist to her speaker, and sleeping babies…

A while later while working on my computer I noticed one of the smart lights dimmed and went out in my bedroom. My wife came up shortly afterwards and mentioned that she had said “Hey Google, turn off the Roku” and had gotten “OK, turning of bedroom ceiling light number 2”.

Google’s just got it out for us at bedtime now.

As a backup plan I’ve always had the Bedtime Fun Playlist synced to my phone for in the event of a network issue, so worst case would have been moving the phone within Bluetooth range and going that route (Ugh, BT audio… dastardly)

Anyway, I reported it. It’s working on my phone today when I asked assistant to play it. I’ll test it out at the house when I get home.

Side story, when we were having the upstream issues my 4yo was yelling “ay Goo Girl, play bedtime fun playliss” and came out crying because Goo Girl was not listening to her.

Kim said Goo Girl isn’t real and wasn’t angry with her, to which the 4yo started crying and I had to intervene and explain to the 4yo that it is real, but it’s not a person it’s a tool and right now it’s broken but it was being fixed, it’s not ignoring her. That made her significantly less sad.

Goo Girl isn’t exactly a friend as the 4yo tends to be annoyed at it constantly for not understanding her, which I totally relate to. But being told it wasn’t real – well, that wasn’t taken well (not entirely sure if she was ticked about that she thought Kim was saying that it didn’t exist (the product she used), or whether she was angry that Goo Girl didn’t exist (the assistant as an anthropomorphized friend/servant))

Very hard to understand 4yo’s understanding of the thing that mostly plays bedtime music and answers her favorite questions “Hey goo Girl, whats a temperature today?” and “Hey Goo Girl, whats the weather going to be like today”.

No clue.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.