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Family Man 6-28
Be careful what you say to Google
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Technology can be a wonderful thing, making our lives easier and more productive. By the same token, technology can be frustrating, making our blood pressure spike and our blood boil at the aggravation it sometimes provides.
Everyone who works in an office knows the frustration of computers. Sometimes they act like they have a mind of their own (which they do since they are basically an electronic brain).
My youngest son Henry is finding that out at the young age of 11. In his case it’s not only computers but gaming systems. I can hear him screaming at his Xbox from the other end of the house as he rages because something won’t run right.
“I need a new Xbox,” he announced recently.
“And why is that?” I said, knowing the gaming systems aren’t cheap.
“Because mine is being stupid,” he plainly replied.
“It still works, doesn’t it?” I asked.
“Yes,” he admitted. “But sometimes it glitches.”
By “glitch” he means he has been handling his disks with dirty hands and they’ve gotten so corrupted that they can’t be read by the Xbox anymore. All it takes is a good washing and they are as good as new.
While I do get a kick over his rage against the machine, none is quite as enriching to my soul as his debates with our Google Home. For those who don’t know, a Google Home is one of those devices you can ask questions to out loud in the room where it is located and get answers. I use it a lot for my book writing where I ask the spelling of words or use it as a thesaurus. However, Henry uses it to control his YouTube and other video viewing since it also can be used as an internet TV controller.
Granted, Google often astounds me when it is able to understand Henry’s garbled request for some little-known YouTube show, but there are times when even Google doesn’t understand his arcane requests.
“Google, play Billy Bob’s radical video game contest, episode six, season four on my TV,” he will ask something along those lines. Then will come a pause as Google goes through millions of possibilities.
“OK, playing Billy Bob Thornton’s Live Album,” Google will announce.
“NO! Stupid Google,” Henry will exclaim, not realizing his uttering the word “Google” has made it listen for his command. “I didn’t say that.”
Again there is a pause. “I don’t understand,” the woman’s voice will respond.
“I didn’t say anything,” he will then yell, before making his next command. Of course, in his anger, he will forget to say “Hey Google” to activate it.
“Hey, Henry, you have to say “Google” first,” I will offer.
“I know!” he will yell. “This isn’t my first time!”
His debates with the machine can last for several minutes as he blesses the machine out for not understanding what he’s saying. One day I’ll video one and put it on YouTube.
“Hey Google, play Henry going crazy on Google,” I can order.
Don’t you just love technology?
Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.