Google Assistant Automation is a Mess – Amazon Alexa is Going to Win?

I love an automated assistant experience. I have lighting, heat and air, TV’s, dedicated assistant devices like Hub, phones, you name it. Lately though, the entire system is a flakey mess. Here are just a few of the failures that are plaguing the Google Assistant experience in my house that will likely lead to people looking to Amazon Alexa as a replacement, especially with their ever increasing device integration and open ecosystem:

  • Amazon face recognition on Google Nest Hub Max – settings go missing. The Home app shows it no longer is set to recognize owners/users. Things like reminders and the ability to perform actions like removing a pic from the slideshow stopped working, as it no longer recognizes me. Settings in Google home are greyed out, and only removing the device, setting up facial recognition etc. brings them back.
  • Google Home Nest Max stops recording and alerting activity that it sees. Much like the above, the Max and Google Home settings are jacked without a change on my part. Recording and notifications just stopped working. Greyed out in menus, and cannot connect. Remote Nest app shows that the device is no longer connected to the internet, but the Home app while home just shows the settings are all removed.
  • With the latest patch (December 2019??) Google assistant just stopped working on my phone. I sit in the car and say “OK Google, should I switch to Alexa??”. No response. Not even a snarky reply, as it now doesn’t work at all. Settings again, completely reset. (not to mention the auto screen rotation setting that is re-set every fucking time I get a system update).
  • Assistant devices on new devices like Sonos Beam and Move act like red-headed step children. They are listed as in my home and part of rooms just like any device, but they are ignored like 3rd rate citizens, most of the time they cannot control Nest or anything other than Sonos (poorly) and complain that they don’t know what I am talking about – though the same command works on the Google branded assistants.
  • The new shopping list integration into Bring lists is cool, but half the time I say “OK Google add razorblades to slit my wrists to the shopping list” it puts it into the insanely useless default Google shopping list instead of Bring shopping list. I then leave the store without 5 things and curse automation, harking back to killing trees and using pencils.
  • Routines… OMG. They so rarely work, maybe the team leading routines could at least add a damn “Test this stupid routine out” button so I can tell (much more quickly) that it will never work.
  • Sonos integration – OK this one is not a Google issue I guess, but trying to control a Sonos device using voice is the most frustrating thing in the whole world. Add to that a ridiculously broken Spotify integration, and I never even try anymore – I just use the dedicated apps. This may be a Sonos/Spotify issue, but to the user, Alexa is way better and regardless of that, it feels like a broken Google Assistant. Don’t get me started on other integrations like viewing Arlo cameras on Hub devices, holy crap that sucks. The list can go of literally all day for Sonos. How about “groups”? What about “on all of the sonos devices”? Maybe Shuffle or Repeat? What about… fuck. Forget it…
  • I can’t tell you how sick I am of “I’m sorry I don’t know how to help with that” when I say things that work on a second try. Add to that the “OK Google turn on all the lights” with a response of “12 lights are now off” as I stand in the dark. That makes me want to throw things.
  • Take a look at the user groups that support home automation of Google stuff for the nightmares surrounding IFTTT, etc etc. You will run for the hills. It’s a nightmare.

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