Are you old enough to remember when researching something for school required breaking out the encyclopedias or taking a trip to the library? That was a long time ago. The birth of the public internet meant the death of the encyclopedias, and though libraries are still around, research is now done mostly on computers.

That brings us to the topic of this post: doing online research with a smart speaker as your web surfing partner. Smart speakers are devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo. You can buy them independently or get them as part of a smart home system from companies like Vivint.

Having a smart speaker in your home is like having an electronic personal assistant. You can do a lot of things with it, from controlling lights to ordering a pizza. But perhaps its most valuable purpose these days is web surfing.

Just Ask a Question

Imagine your elementary school child writing an essay on earthquakes. You are talking with him about his research when the conversation suddenly turns to the history of earthquakes in Nevada. There were a lot of them from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s.

Right in the middle of your conversation, your child turns to the smart speaker and asks, “are there earthquakes in Carson City?” He discovers that, though the area has been quiet for quite some time, a magnitude 4.5 earthquake struck there in March, 2020.

Now your child has some great new information for his essay. He has learned a little bit more about earthquakes in general along with the details of the Carson City earthquake from this year. He is ready to go when it is time to turn in his essay.

That is the amazing thing about using a smart speaker as a web surfing partner. All you have to do is ask a question. Unlike typing keywords into a search engine on your computer, smart speakers are programmed to deal with questions instead. They rely on voice recognition and deep learning to figure out what people are asking before scouring the internet for answers.

From Children to Seniors

Vivint is a big proponent of smart speakers in the home. They recommend them as research assistants to children doing their schoolwork. The Carson City earthquake example explains why. And yet, children are not the only ones who benefit. Smart speakers are helpful to seniors as well.

Imagine a grandmother who suddenly gets the urge to hear an old song she remembers from her teens. Like her grandchild, she need only speak to her smart speaker device. She just tells the device to play the song in question and it does so. How? By finding it online and then streaming it.

As the parent of your child and the child of your mother, you can use the same smart speaker to care for both. Instruct the speaker to remind your mother to take her medication on a regular schedule. Instruct it to remind your child to do his homework.

Do not neglect to use the smart speaker for yourself either. Speak a command and it will tell you what you can expect from the weather that day. Tell it to turn off the lights as you head out the door on your way to work. There are so many things you can do that it is really hard to quantify.

From learning about earthquakes to keeping tabs on important tasks, a smart speaker is a great tool to have. It can be your internet surfing partner and your personal assistant at the same time.