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Gift Guide: Google smart home essentials to automate your holidays


There is more to your home than meets the eye. Some of your regular old appliances and non-smart technology can tap into the power of the Google Assistant, and we have the perfect gifts to turn friends, relatives, or your own home into a certified Google smart home.

Of course, the holidays are a stressful period that can be made more stressful if you aren’t the most organized or have to worry about little everyday annoyances. Tapping into the almost unrivaled flexibility of the Google Assistant means that you can actually automate much of your holiday headaches and heartaches using the super convenient Routines function.

Once set up, sit back relax and let your tech take care of the hard work. Set the doorbell to notify you when guests arrive, let vacuum keep the dust and dirt at bay, or allow the lights to turn off before bedtime — so you’re assured of a silent night. Plus, what would the holiday season be without providing some much-needed tech support for your nearest and dearest?

Controllable concierge: Nest Doorbell

Without delving too deeply into home security options, a basic smart doorbell is an ideal option to add a little extra peace of mind when you have friends, family, or even packages arriving at your door. The Nest Doorbell lineup is an imperfect gift but a solid smart home solution that plugs directly into your Google Home setup.

You can choose from wired and battery-powered digital doorbells, depending on what you need and where you want to place outside your front door. If you have a Pixel smartphone, you’ll even get live video links in the At a Glance widget with notification if someone is carrying a package.

The smart features are as good as any digital doorbell, with the ability to set hot zones and visual recognition of pets, people, and packages that other devices lack. Best Buy has excellent deals on the latest lineup to get your started.

Hands-free power outlet control: meross Smart Power Strip

meross smart power strip

Being able to power your Christmas tree with your voice is something that everyone needs to experience at least once and with the meross smart power strip, you can control the real star of the show without ever needing to head near your power outlet. I have personally used multiple power strips like this for years and they are a dream for ease of use and make controlling multiple devices with your voice a breeze.

There are multiple power cable outlets within the one strip and all of them are capable of being independently controlled by your voice. You can do things like plug in a ton of Christmas lights and control them individually from your smartphone or any Google Assistant-powered device. At around $35, the meross smart power strip is the perfect way to start your Google-powered smart home.

Control center: Google Nest Hub

The Nest Hub Max is probably the best option if you want video calling, but for most, the brains of your Google smart home setup needs to be a smart display. The design lends itself well to blending into the background, with soft fabrics and photo slideshow being prime design traits.

We think that for most, the Nest Hub Max still remains the best Smart Display for just about everyone. It’s a control center for all of your smart home tech and the portal in which you can view photos, videos and more beyond that. That said, the new Nest Hub offers sleep detection and a smaller footprint that blends better into your home decor.

The ability to play trivia games like Song Pop, Riddle Rooms, Magic Door, and far more on top makes it a one-stop entertainment station too for when the board games have run their course. It’s now cheaper around $165 on sites like Best Buy, the Nest Hub Max is not cheap but it’s still one of the best smart displays for complete features. However, the Nest Hub is a snip at just $50 from Best Buy with all of the same features but a smaller 7-inch display to control your devices and more.

Keeping things clean: Yeedi Vac 2 Pro

google smart home gifts

With a busy home, you might need to tidy things a little more than usual during the holiday season. One of the best ways to do that is to grab a smart vacuum, and one of the best combines regular dust sucking with a handy mop attachment for total cleaning. The Yeedi Vac 2 Pro with auto-empty station is a one-stop shop solution.

Being able to link your Yeedi account to your Google Assistant means that you can even set routines for the powerful little vacuum cleaner — allowing it to scuttle around and clean the carpets and hard floors when you hit the hay after a long day entertaining family. Then, if things get a little bit more dirty than you anticipated, attach the mop section and have your hard floors buffed up without ever needing to break a sweat. The Yeedi Vac 2 Pro starts at $399 but comes with an auto-empty station version too.

Seasonal lighting: Lifx A19 color bulb

google smart home gifts

My out-and-out favorite smart bulbs are from Lifx. They are pricey but don’t require a hub or any extra hardware. For simplicity, the Lifx family of smart bulbs are easily the most intuitive for those even the most technophobic family members.

One bulb costs around $30 on sites like Amazon, with the shape, size, and range of colors exceeding almost every other smart color bulb I’ve tried or tested. They also allow you to deck your halls with neat colors and fine-tune your Christmas displays like never before.

Entertainment for the whole family: Google Chromecast with Google TV

google smart home gifts

The TV still feels like the main entertainment hub for all the family and as far as Google smart home gifts go, the brand new Chromecast HD with Google TV bundled in is a super entry-level stearming dongle. Combining all of the excellent Cast functionality of the original Chromecast lineup with the Android-based Google TV and a cute remote was a stroke of genius.

Not only can you share video and photos memories by casting your Google Photos content to the big screen, but with a wealth of apps and streaming services you can watch your favorite movies and TV shows on Netflix and put on a Christmas musical playlist to really get you in the mood.

When you consider the brand-new Chromecast is only $30 for the HD version or $50 for the 4K model with a remote bundled in, it’s an easy way to add more entertainment to your home.

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