How would you improve Google Home?
+9 votes
in Product Improvement by (725 points) | 2.1k views

4 Answers

+3 votes


  1. Clarify what Google Home is
  2. What are we improving?
  3. Who are we improving it for? (segment users and what is criteria for choosing users)
  4. Use Cases for this segment (what do they need google home for today?)
  5. Problems
  6. Solutions

What is Google Home?
Is this just the speaker/microphone device or Google Assistant? I’m going to assume both.

What are we improving?

  1. Market share / acquisition
  2. Engagement
  3. Retention
  4. Revenue
  5. Referral

I’ll choose engagement + retention because that will drive market share and revenue. And this way of interaction is so new that we can probably come up with high impact ways to make it more engaging and solve interesting problems


  1. Children
  2. College Students
  3. Toddlers (1-5 years old)
  4. Teachers
  5. Parents
  6. Young Professionals

Selection Criteria is reach (# of people), current market penetration, market growth potential
I chose Teachers because that’s a big market that’s growing with low market penetration in the classroom by the Google Home. There’s additional benefit of exposing the Google Home to students /parents that could eventually extend to the home.

Use Cases

  1. teachers explain subjects (like dinosaurs)
  2. teachers help define words
  3. teachers help work thru math problems
  4. teachers keep order and calm in class
  5. teachers set timers and keep the curriculum moving
  6. teachers reward students
  7. teachers create lesson plans and share them
  8. teachers administer tests / homework
  9. teachers grade tests / homework


  1. teachers teach
  2. teachers administer lessons / tests / homework
  3. teachers keep the order with structure and rewards


  1. Lesson plans are difficult to put together. It’s hard to tie a specific class to a lesson plan
  2. Teachers don’t know every subject or word or math problem being asked
  3. Rewarding students can be difficult especially with limited budgets (and incentives alignment)
  4. A google home does not keep the order in the classroom well. Kids might abuse it
  5. Some subjects are better described with visualizations including things like math
  6. A Google home can’t recognize 30 voices in a classroom
  7. A Google home can’t give permission to speak or know who has permission to speak to it
  8. A Google home can’t talk to an individual – it talks to a room
  9. A Google home doesn’t know how to administer tests
  10. A Google home doesn’t know how to adjust answers to a specific age-appropriate level


  1. An age setting on Google home to vary age-appropriate answers
  2. Ear pieces for individual conversation with the Google Home
  3. A projector that works with the Google home. Better yet, an integration with a 3D hologram / or VR headset
  4. A google home that can identify 30 voices and know which voices has permission to speak to it
  5. Only the teacher can talk to the Google home
  6. A teacher can load up quizzes to teh Google Home and it can administer verbal tests
  7. A google home can be taken home by a child to train it on a subject for show and tell

Prioritizing Solutions
Criteria: Reach, Impact, Cost, Confidence Level
I’ll try to do something with voice permissions for 30 children and then integration with VR headset.
Rollout: success metric will be if teachers use the Google Home as part of their lessons on a weekly basis. How many questions per day can it answer? Start with just a few classrooms and expand if it hits those metrics

My questions on my answer

In use cases, should I think about them in relation to the Google home or just what does a teacher need to do?
Should I not have chosen Google Home for teachers since it’s not in the home?
Should problems be thought about in context of the Google Home or just problems that a teacher has in general?
What else can be improved?
Hi Wookie,
Thanks for the answer. Here are my answers to your questions:
1. At the use case step, you can just think about the user journey and think about key pain points of the user / use cases of the product. I would combine use cases and problems together.
2. You can chose anything you like. Your choice. You can explain that you think Google Home for education has not been given enough attention and that’s why you’d like to focus on it
3. teacher. It’s always about the user
4. I would expand on each solution with a lot more detail and would also expand on how prioritization is being done.
Hope it helps.
+1 vote

Great question. Google home is a hardware device, enabling hands-free access to your Google Assistant for activities such as music, answers, and schedule. In terms of improvements, I’d like to clarify if the challenge is directed towards user engagement or to revenue growth (A: There is no current problem w Google Home. Either would be beneficial to the company). Perfect, user engagement provides an opportunity to support both outcomes so I will focus there.

I see a few intended use cases: Google Assistant related to boosting productivity and enabling seamless experiences at home, as well as workplace management. Let’s look at each:

Home: Boost Productivity
Pain points – hands-full, may be communicating with children for 8-10 hours a day, needing solutions as problems come up, and… how about solving problems before they happen.
Solutions – Low-touch triggering, intelligent voice with a feeling that this is legitimately engaging, seamless product ordering, access to experts, predictive hardware product extensions.

Home: Enabling Relaxing
Pain Points – taxing to setup my settings each time, I’m locked to Google’s ecosystem which lacks depth of obscure.
Solution – Introduce modes to systems for presets to lighting, temperature, and music. Reading mode, chill mode, sleep mode, party mode.

Office: Managing Personalities in a Collective
Pain points – Multiple voices trying to engage the home. “Google” as a word does not have the most distinctive syllables to trigger. The Home is generic in an office setting, relagated to office DJ if applicable or an office away from people. Solve problems as they arise and even before they arise. Prevent stock-outs of office supplies or even production.
Solutions – Introduce individual voice recognition. Allow presets similar to above for each person. Allow integration so Google to check group schedules and personal attendee schedules to find optimum time to sync up – eliminating the back and forth. Introduce a scalable marketplace relationship for ordering to compete with Amazon – Dash, Alexa.

Looking at the Home’s current offering, it is geared to providing a seamless and tailored experience at-home. Looking deeper at the needs of users, going a layer deeper to solving unpleasant home challenges such as creating lists and shopping for commodity items is a pain that Google is currently not serving, but the competition is. Creating a scalable marketplace focusing on a limited selection of home consumables (bulky, heavy items – toilet paper, soda), fufilled by a local grocery store would be a good start.

One angle currently open in the productivity space, is the hands-free platform provides a low-touch avenue to experts by voice, but elminates the yellow pages/ google lookup – think – ah, my garborator isn’t working and my kitchen stinks, is it the power or the or the or the. A partnership with thumb-tack or creating an expert marketplace from google review (we have the phone number) would be a a competitive advantage.

Finally, supporting all markets is the idea of personalization of experiences. Introducting voice reognition and account syncing to multiple users, would help streamline office meetings, DJ, at-home presets, and ordering accounts for at-home productivity.

I would look to create a competitive advantage with expert services to build on data already on the platform and have my M&A team look at partnership creation with a local fufilment center to get heavy, bulky items to users quickly.

Hi Steve,
Thanks for the answer. I think the structure of your answer needs some work. Check out the “How to answer a product improvement” article I’ve written. It gives you an idea of how to structure your answer. You’ll want to pick one specific user group, list out their pain points, and come up with a list of solutions to address those pain points.
Interesting idea on “enabling relaxing” by the way:)
Hope it helps.
Thanks Bijan. I appreciate the feedback. I’m working off this book The Product Manager Interview by Lin, which seems to swing more broadly, but I see your points and they’re echoed by Denise. I think what I’m doing in approach is identifying that a lot of the users have the same needs, although their goal is different. I see the value though in focusing on one as the nuance of a successful product is in identifying with individual segments. I’ll hit the twitter example later and see if I can reset the approach. Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!
I have a conflicting thought about ID-ing a segment before selecting pain points. I think the pain drives the process, not the segment. If a segment is operating at 80% retention I can only ever improve 20%, whereas if there is an underserved user my ROI is massive, but I can’t know that until I think about the “wholeness” of the pain. Thoughts?
It’s an interesting point. I think it really comes down to how you structure the answer and you can probably position it as “I will pick this segment because I think they have a high churn rate and here is why”. But as product managers, one of our common mistakes is that we build features and products that don’t address the needs of a particular user group. By picking the user group first, you can avoid making this mistake during the interview.
Hey Steve,
Denise here. I think the opening (e.g. asking what’s the objective/metric we’re trying to achieve) is great, and I also like the sections below the opening where you brainstormed a few pain points for different persona. My feedback will focus on the implementation part – I think during the interview, we should stick with one specific pain point and provide an in-depth answer.
For example, for the implementation section, my ideal structure will be:
1, Review the 3 pain points being mentioned earlier, and identify which one has a better opportunity to invest by referring the potential market size, revenue, usage etc. (which should be relevant to the objective/metric from opening)
2, In-depth product implementation for that pain point:
3, Reinforce the pain point statement
4, Provide product value proposition (ideally it should be 1 sentence, ex: one stop shop for xyz…)
5, List 2-4 use cases that directly solve the pain point (ex: if pain point is about the online shopping via google home, the use case could be: use case 1 – as a google home user, I want to easily create a shopping list before I place an order; use case 2 – I want to receive a suggested shopping list so that I don’t need to repeatedly create similar shopping lists … etc)
6, Go through the solution for the use cases above. (ex: integrate with google express or other e-commerce platforms to provide online shopping experience via google home, create ML to identify the recommendation shopping list for user etc)
7, Prioritize the use cases based on pros and cons

Let me know whether this flow makes sense.
0 votes

How would you improve Google Home?

The very first step would be to let interview know how you would structure your answer: the typical framework is to specify the goal to clarify the problem, talk about constraints, user personas/use cases, potential features/solutions and then prioritization. If possible, a go-to-market plan would be a bonus although usually, that would just mean A/B testing in a smaller user segment (although you could get creative here.

First, I’d clarify what improve means. Improve the UX? Improve engagement? Revenue? Downloads? User Acquisition? Let’s assume it’s UX.

Afterward, make sure you clarify what Google Home is and what is the core functionality of the application. For example, there’s a mobile app Google Home, but it’s likely that they’re talking about the speaker/voice assistant.

Now, it’s important to discuss the user journey of some of the personas.

1. As someone that has a busy work schedule, I’d love it to have additional assistant features, like reading emails for me, prepping me for meetings or presentations beforehand, etc.

2. As someone that uses Google Home for entertainment, I’d love to have more fun things I could do on Google Home.

3. As an avid shopper, I love how Google Home integrates with Google shopping but I wish it supported other shopping sites.

You could list some specific pain points for each of the above early on, but it could be okay to ask the interviewer and brainstorm to focus a persona first beforehand to save some time. Let’s try to gear the interviewer to focus on #2.

Some solutions:

1. As someone that uses Google Home a lot for music, one of the pain points is that it only plays music that I command to play. There is no algorithm like Spotify. It would be cool to have algorithms based on your Google usage – there could also be more interesting ads since Google does have more data on you than Spotify (although this could be controversial, it makes sense revenue-wise, as long as PR is okay with it).

2. There should be a lot more games – there should be a developer API so that anyone could make games or utility “software.” Making it more open allows more creative solutions. There could be a whole new ecosystem of “Google Home” apps.

3. Google Home should implement newer technology to have a more natural speaking voice – this could lead to usage for museums, narrations, story-telling, library usage, etc. For this specific persona, I’m thinking like a D&D master or integrating with board games (kind of ties into the above too).

After the above, we can think about impact, effort, how many people would the solution reach, etc. Overall, #2 would require a little more effort than the others but with the tremendous impact for USER EXPERIENCE which was our main focus, it could be worth to prioritize.

GTM market plan would be to release some demo apps made by Google, open-source it for reference, share exclusively to certain developers first, gauge feedback, etc.

0 votes

When you say improve? what aspect of google are you trying to improve? adoption? more features? revenue? m. cost for the product? increase sales in other untouched markets? or monopolize the market?

by (281 points)
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