Hey Google!

by Mary Helen Darah

A year ago, my oldest daughter bought me a Google Home device for my birthday. Frankly, I had no idea how to use its many functions. Today, I’m certain I am still using a fraction of its capabilities. I have, however, moved way beyond playing music, setting timers (more for leaving the house on time than for cooking) and asking what it’s doing outside weather-wise while looking out the window. Don’t worry, there is no fear of me turning into a character as desperate as the one in the movie “HER,” who gets way too attached to his device. Although I must admit, having a male voice tell me my schedule for the day and then playing James Taylor without me even having to ask is a bit addicting. My Google Home even says “Goodnight Mary Helen,” causing me to ponder the necessity of a man. But, until they create a device that can give you a full body massage, support you through the holidays and lift mulch out of the trunk, I will continue my search for the real deal.
I got my parents a Google Home device. Frankly, the only reason I chose Google over the Amazon Alexa is because it is far simpler to say “Hey Google” than “Alexa” to get the device to operate. Considering that they struggle to pronounce some of the names of the younger generation, I wasn’t going to take the risk of getting an “Alecia” (or was it “Alexander”?) to work for them. Dad likes to listen to Rachmaninoff and Eros Gardner, check the New York Stock Exchange and check current world populations. Mom, on the other hand, asks Google to do high-intensity requests such as making the sound of the loon or what a rainbow would sound like. Their device traveled with them to Florida this year, causing a bit of jealousy and concern that we could be replaced, especially since they figured out that Google Home can call and make dinner reservations and give them the tide conditions.
I must admit, my Google Home takes the place of a human assistant. I use it to confirm addresses and other information. Working in a creative field, $79 for a personal assistant is all I can muster. Often my friends have expressed concern that Google Home is like a “big brother” and is collecting data and monitoring my activity. Good luck with that. It’s going to take a great deal of effort for the powers that be to figure this girl out.
I believe there was a bit of hazing of the new writer on the block when I wrote articles for a large health care provider. I have asked Google questions on such topics as erectile dysfunction, the benefits of breastfeeding, bariatric surgery and how to deal with painful hemorrhoids. I also have a habit of blaring Bach and the Eagles and seem to have a tendency to constantly know the outside temperature even though I survived five decades pre-Google without this knowledge. Have fun profiling that!
I am willing to live with big brother listening to me and trying to figure out what box to put me in for I know that
it is an impossible task for them to truly know what is in my heart and spirit. So collect your data. I’ll be too busy living a grand life to care … but Hey Google!
How far is Sidecut Park and do I need to take an umbrella?

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