Google's latest 'don't be evil' moment is one of its best

Google did something downright awesome this past week. While Apple and Intel and T-mobile and Sprint were dominating tech news, Google quietly announced that it has 100,000 Home Minis to give out to people who will put them to great use because they are paralyzed or partially paralyzed.

A Home Mini can make a big impact when it gets in the hands of someone who needs one.

Partnering with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Google has set aside 100,000 little bits of plastic and silicon that can make a pretty big impact on the lives of people who could use the extra help. Reeve Foundation Ambassador Garrison Redd knows all too well about the impact a small smart speaker can have as he's been wheelchair-bound for almost 20 years. I also know how much help those little speakers and associated smart gadgets can be because they have also made quite the difference in my own life.

I'm not paralyzed, but living your life in a wheelchair can make things pretty difficult. The world is designed for and by people who are able to walk about, reach the things on the top shelf, and live their lives without asking for help when the doorbell rings or the heat needs to be bumped up a notch. It should be — I can't speak for everyone who is disabled, but I've never met anyone in a wheelchair who thinks the world should be designed for "us" instead of "them". Being confined to a hunk of metal tubing on wheels doesn't make me less of a person or some sort of freak, but it isn't the norm and the world doesn't need to revolve around it.

Good PR is even better when you're actually helping people. Thanks, Google.

That line of thinking can go completely out the window when the FedEx delivery driver is waiting at the door upstairs for you to sign for a package or the ceiling fan isn't running and someone needs to reach up and yank the chain. It's easy to think everything is bad because you feel like a failure, especially when it's those little inconsequential things that are making you feel that way. Something like a smart speaker attached to a Nest Hello Doorbell turns everything around and I feel great because I can tell the FedEx driver to hang tight because it takes me a while to make it up the stairs.

There are a lot of people out there who have it worse than I do and if a Google Home Mini can make a change for the better in their lives, they all ought to have one. Thanks, Google for stepping up and doing something good for people who need more good things in their lives. I hope this program is a smashing success however the company measures it and we see another 100,000 Home Minis go out to people who need them.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.