I’ve always enjoyed technology and have often been a first adopter before new tech really goes mainstream. As I’ve gotten older my enthusiasm for always learning new things has waned a bit. I think this is because I have so much more technology in my life and technology is improving and changing at such a rapid pace. There is always something new, something to update, a new way of doing things that you have to keep current on.
My most recent interest is slowly building my own “smart home.” I would say this is generally easy, even for a beginner but only if you have one or two devices and stay within the same ecosystem (Google, Apple, Amazon etc). It is when you mix/match, have multiple users and continually add that things can become a bit complex. I’m someone who can generally figure out the tech stuff and have had many triumphs over “professionals” when there is a tech problem. For Google Home, there were two issues that had me stumped which I just figured out today.
The first and most confusing was understanding the “Primary Account” in Google Home. There is nothing that signifies which account is the primary and seemingly no way to easily change it if it did visibly display. Reading the forums I learned that the very first account that sets up the Google Home is the primary. When I set up my Google Home I set up two users, my wife and I, and through trial and error I must have unknowingly made her primary. I did this by setting it up with my own account, adding her, then deleting myself and adding again through her as I thought this might fix an issue or something.
I was clued in about this whole Primary Account issue when I couldn’t get “continued conversation” to work. I had it selected on my Assistant but it didn’t work with my Home Hub or Mini. The reason is that my wife was the Primary Account holder. When I checked “Continued Conversation” in her Google Assistant settings I could see the Hub and Mini. To make myself the Primary I had to delete her out completely then re-add. This is a pain, something that is probably confusing many and Google should fix.
The second thing I learned was that you don’t need a different “Home” for different rooms. You create one Home then add rooms in it. The setup process was confusing enough for me to have one “Home” for the kitchen and another “Home” for the bedroom. Nope, one “Home” and all the rooms in it. I can’t believe I had it wrong for so long and again, if it confused me I can imagine this error is repeated a lot.
I am feeling accomplished now that I’ve got Google Home squared away and even ordered two more Minis since it is Cyber Monday and are on sale.
Now the next step is to work on some actual code so I can get my Doorbird video to display on the Google Hub when someone presses the doorbell. It is possible using Home Assistant which I have running on Raspberry Pi but I haven’t been able to get it to work yet. It would be much easier if Google would just integrate with Doorbird and I could thus find Doorbird in the Google Home settings. Oh well, that is a problem for another day.