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I got rid of Google Home and went back to pen and paper for my grocery list. I feel more in control now.

Fridge with grocery list
The author went back to handwriting his grocery list and feels more in control now.Courtesy of the author
  • I got a Google Home and loved how it made me feel less dependent of my phone.

  • I would tell her to add things to my grocery shopping list as I needed them.

  • Going back to pen and paper helps me remember what I need to buy.

A few years ago, when I met my Google Home, she felt like the future.

I set her up in my kitchen and quickly started using her for everything. I loved how she untethered me from my phone.

I would ask her to set a timer while my hands were covered in chicken juice or tell me what the weather looked like as I was running out the door.

Before bed, critically low on night cereal, I would ask her to add it to the list without opening my phone and getting sucked into a Twitter doomscroll.

"OK — I've added Oatmeal Crisp," she'd reply bouncily.

And there it was, on my phone. I could walk through the supermarket, ticking off auto-sorted items as I went.

This is the good life, I thought.

Signs of trouble began to appear

Things started to change when the app got rid of categories, displaying everything in a bare list. It was terrible to navigate in-store, and re-ordering items manually felt like texting in a dream.

Google also suddenly decided to remove the notes section, a swipe-to-delete feature, pictures, and sorting options.

It was a gut job.

I searched online for solutions, finding only cold comfort in the brotherhood of woe.

Then I moved in with my fiancée, and the trouble really began. I had her set up a voice profile, excited to show her a new world of convenience.

"See?" I'd say when she got Google to play "Misery Business," our cooking anthem. "Pretty sweet!"

Then, suddenly, she stopped recognizing my fiancée.

"Hey Google," she said one night, "add rigatoni…"

"I'm sorry, something went wrong," Google replied.

"Weird," I said. "Hey Google, add rigatoni to the shopping list."

"OK'" she replied.

My fiancée decided to try something new. "Hey Google," she said, beaming in a perfect sing-song trill. She's a former theater kid and an excellent singer, and she let it all hang out. She sounded like Snow White if she worked for tips. "Add tomatoes to the shopping list!"

"OK" Google said.

We laughed at our sexist robot; then, we despised it.

My Google Home thought we were always talking to her

Soon, Google started hallucinating that we were talking to her when we were two rooms away.

"Here's what I found online about the Battle of Verdun," she'd butt in.

Not content, she began to gaslight us, saying she'd added items that she didn't. We got frustrated with each other a few times — "I thought you said you added pastrami to the list!" — before we fingered the culprit.

We knew it was time to give up on her.

First, we tried the iPhone's shared grocery list, but syncing took hours. We'd split up in-store, then meet up and realize we doubled up on everything.

We tried a shared Google Keep note, but again, reordering items caused us psychic pain.

"That's it!" I shouted one day at computers in general. "Paper on the fridge!"

A paper shopping list has been a revelation

We've never looked back.

Turns out our brains enjoy tactile experiences. Scribbling things onto the list, crossing them off, adding little notes or pictures, feeling it in my pocket, and putting it back in its Rightful Place — great stuff.

Of course, if I find myself out and about with spare shopping time, I have to recall what's on it. But, if she's home, I can just call my fiancée, who I enjoy talking to anyway.

And strangely enough, I've found the act of writing something down causes me actually to remember it. Speaking the word "cheese" into the air, not so much.

Turns out my teachers — and scientists — and basically everyone before a couple of decades ago — were onto something.

Read the original article on Business Insider