No, none of Google’s Home products have a built-in thermometer. But if you ask Google to tell you the temperature “inside,” you might get a surprising answer.
Some Redditors made this discovery this week when one user posted a question to the Google Home subreddit asking if the new Google Home Mini had a thermometer built-in to the speaker.
That may sound like a ridiculous question — Google has definitely not given its speakers secret temperature-sensing abilities — but it’s a bit more complicated than it seems.
Since temperature-sensing is not one of Google Home’s capabilities, the Assistant on its own can’t answer when you ask for the “inside” temperature. The exception to this, though, is if you have a Nest thermometer. In that case, you can ask Google to tell you the temperature inside, and it will tell you what your Nest is set at, and what the current temp is in your house.
Where things got dicey for this Redditor is when he noticed a significant difference between his Nest thermometer and the response his Google Home gave him. The 6-degree temperature difference prompted him to ask the (seemingly ridiculous) question about built-in thermometers.
It turns out, though, that Google’s Assistant was mistaking “inside” for “in Side,” and that Side is the name of a coastal Mediterranean town in Turkey that tends to have mild weather, similar to what you’d expect inside your house.
A quick look at the Home app confirms this is what happens, when its voice recognition mistakes “in Side” and “inside.”
The error shouldn’t come as much if a surprise: human speech patterns are incredibly nuanced and complex. The fact that Google (and other voice-enabled assistants) are able to understand our individual voices as well as they do is a testament to how far the technology has advanced.
Of course, that provides very little comfort if you’re just trying to ask a simple question and then have to wade through a confusing mess of commands to uncover what’s actually happening. (And that’s likely part of why some people give up on voice-enabled assistants entirely.)
But the reality is, this technology is getting better all the time — feature’s like Google’s voice match, which can distinguish between individual voices in the same household, are proof of that. So with a little patience (and, perhaps, clearer annunciation) these type of errors will become less common.