Personal Smart Assistant: Best Google Home Tips and Tricks

Google Home Speaker

Back from the days of being the leading search engine in the era of Yahoo, to destroying all competition there ever was – Google as a software company has come a long way. But with the personalization of technology into our lives in the form of smartphones and into our homes in the form of IoT devices, the Mountain View company is just getting started.

With the implementation of Google Assistant into the core of Android OS, Google has made its smart assistant virtually accessible on all devices, and with the Google Home smart speaker, it changed the game altogether. Thanks to this singular technology, we have a smarter way of communicating with each and every smart device in the household – from the Smart TV to the Smart Lights.

Related: 100 Google Assistant commands should know about

Best Google Home tips and tricks

So you pulled out the Google Home smart speaker, plugged it in and set everything up, now what? You can start off by asking it ‘Hey Google, what time is it?’ or ask the Google Home to play some calm and soothing music.

However, there’s a lot more to what this Google Assistant powered speaker is capable of.

We’ve tested our Google Home for various features ourselves, and here’s a final cut list of the best Google Home tips you should know, and the best tricks that you should be trying out.

1. Google Home is for everyone (multi-user)

While the entire premises on which the Google Home is offered is the ‘personal smart assistant’ gig, it isn’t meant to be a device just for one user. While the default account that is linked with the Google Home is always the default one used to save reminders, make calls, and for other personalized actions, other users can make the most out of it as well.

One of the most impressive features of Google Home is the ability to distinguish between different voices and over time, learn the user habits too. You can start off by making Google Home remember you by saying ‘Hey Google, remember my name is Miranda’ and it will do so. Additionally, once you add the Google Home device to the Home app on the different iOS and Android devices, you can set up calendar events, commute details and more.

2. Google Home + Chromecast = Awesome

Google may have created the Chromecast dongle years before the Google Home, but it certainly is a match made in heaven. Once your HDTV is connected to the Chromecast, it automatically becomes an extension to the Google Home speaker, thus allowing you to completely operate it through voice commands.

Once you have your Chromecast setup and connected to the same account as the Google Home, the two devices become interconnected. You can then link services like Netflix and Google Photos to cast content to your HDTV by simply uttering a voice command such as ‘Hey Google, play Season 1 Episode 3 of Stranger Things on Netflix’.

  1. Head over to the Google Home app and tap on the three-line menu
  2. Scroll down to find More Settings tab and tap on it.
  3. Find Videos and Photos option and open it to link your various Chromecast-supported apps and services.

Google Home

3. Your personal travel agent

Thanks to the interconnected world we live in today, it takes just a few minutes to find airplane tickets, but what if you didn’t even need to pick up your phone to do it? Thanks to Google and its web of services that are seamlessly integrated into Google Home, you get the best features of Google Flights as well.

All you need to do is ask Google Home nicely and your smart assistant will get back to you with a list of fares instantaneously. For instance, you can say ‘Hey Google, find me a roundtrip flight from New York to Los Angeles that departs on August 20 and returns on August 30’ and you’ll get an accurate response right away. You can even ask Google Home to keep you updated on the fare changes through your Gmail account.

4. Never forget a thing

For the forgetful souls out there who seriously depend on notetaking apps to get through their day, Google Home is a godsend. Since all of Google’s apps and services are embedded in the Google Assistant, you get the notetaking ability of Google Keep with your smart assistant, which ensures that no reminder or to-do list goes unchecked.

Whether you’re making a to-do list for the spring cleaning weekend that’s coming up or sitting down to make your monthly grocery shopping list, Google Home is all you need. Ask Google Home to ‘Create a grocery list’ and then every time you remember something, just say ‘add milk to my grocery list’.

The best part is that Google Keep will sync all of your notes to the app across all platforms, so when you’re out shopping, you can view this list easily. Additionally, Google Home can also remember things that you say about it and remind you when you ask about it later. For instance, you could ask the device ‘Hey Google, remember that I’ve left my passport at work’ and the next time you can expect your smart assistant to remind you.

5. Helping in the kitchen

Everyone can make a decent meal with the right ingredients and the guide voice to make sure that everything is cooked to perfection. Thanks to the fact that Google has compressed the entire internet in all of its glory into the Google Home, you can not only enjoy some step-by-step audio recipes but also have online recipes dictated that you bookmarked earlier.

From asking Google Home to ‘set up a timer for 30 minutes’ while the chicken cooks in the oven to giving you a detailed description of ‘how to cook a T-bone steak’ to perfection, Google Home can do it all. Additionally, there are plenty of upcoming and some already available Google Home powered appliances that can essentially help you cook entire meals and manage the cooking time, temperature and other elements remotely.

6. Never lose your phone

While losing your phone outside of the house is inviting a world of trouble, there must’ve been plenty of instances when you’ve lost your phone in the house itself. Up until now, you needed the power of IFTTT and its modules to be able to use Google Home as a phone locator, but the smart speaker was recently updated to bring this functionality natively.

With Google’s Find My Phone service enabled by default, Google Home can make any of the devices rings to which it is already connected. If you can’t seem to find your phone anywhere, just say ‘Hey Google, find my phone’ and the smart assistant will make your phone ring and vibrate, even when the phone is in silent mode.

7. Entertainment for days

With all of the smart features that Google Home comes with, it could be easy to forget that the smart speaker is not built for all work and no play. Google has dedicated an entire Games & fun section to help you unwind and listen to a few funny and super corny dad jokes, sharpen your skills with some fast-paced trivia, and even play a game of Mad Libs.

You can start off by playing games such as Tic Tac Toe or I’m Feeling Lucky, or just crack some jokes with Harry Potter Jokes or science jokes with Physics Buddy. Take a quirky quiz to find out ‘Which Avenger Am I?’ and get hours’ worth of fun talking to an inanimate object that is probably smarter than you are!

8. Quick tasks with Scheduled Routines

Although Google has offered the ability to use shortcut phrases to launch certain actions since the get-go, they’re doubling up on the ability to automate multiple actions with a single command through Scheduled Routines. This specific feature allows you to add multiple actions and the ability to trigger them based on a trigger phrase or make it time-based.

→ How to use Scheduled Routines

9. News tailored to you

Since Google Home is meant to be your personal assistant, it makes complete sense that you get your daily briefings on the news from it as well. Talks to its inclusion of news services from across the world, you can not only get the latest headlines via audio from the Google Home but also choose the new outlets that you’d like to tune in to.

  1. Head to the Google Home app and access More Settings option from the side tab.
  2. Scroll down to find the News tab and open it.
  3. Tap on the ‘+ Add news sources’ button to view available news outlets.
  4. You will find news outlets divided based on categories – General, Business, Science, Health and more.
  5. You can even choose regional specific news outlets by tapping on the Language tab at the top of the screen.

Google Home Tips

10. Doubling up as wireless speakers

Unlike the Amazon Echo devices that come with a headphone jack for you to enjoy wired music playback, Google Home is essentially a cable-cutter. But the fact that the Google Home app is available for both Android and iOS users makes it the perfect wireless speakers out there.

While not all services are supported, most music apps like Amazon Music give you the ability to ‘Cast’ the music directly on to the speakers. Additionally, the seamless integration of Google Chrome allows you to simply tap on the ‘Cast’ button in any Chrome browser tab and begin the music playback on your Google Home smart speaker.

11. Google Home is multilingual

Even if you live in a region where the universally spoken language is English, there’s a good chance that you have bilingual or even multilingual speakers around you. Since Google has adopted the best features from its web of services to create Google Home, the smart speaker has been trained to not only understand different languages but respond too.

  1. Head to the Google Home app and access More Settings option from the side tab.
  2. Scroll down to find your Google Home device name and tap on it.
  3. Find the Assistant language tab and open it to change the default language of your Google Home.

12. Your personal Yellow Pages

The invention of the internet has made Yellow Pages quite redundant, by allowing you to find local businesses, restaurants, and even specific professionals such as plumbers and handymen at just the touch of a button. However, Google Home takes this one step further by allowing you to simply find anything and everything around with your voice.

From asking ‘Hey Google, find me a place to grab some Pizza nearby’ to asking for help with the broken sink by commanding Google Home to ‘look for a plumber nearby’, your personal assistant will not only acknowledge your request but suggest you nearby businesses and service providers that you can then call right away using your smart assistant itself.

13. Wake up to your favorite tunes

Now the fact that you can use the Google Home as an alarm clock, as a timer, and even as a reminder is widely known, but for most of us, the generic alarm clock tone is either too irritating or simply not enough to wake us from a sound sleep. This is why Google recently added the ability to use Google Home as an alarm clock with custom tones.

For instance, you can set a Radio Station, a News Outlet, or even a specific song to wake up to every day. All you need to do is utter the command ‘Hey Google, set an alarm for 8:30 AM that plays Radio City’ or ‘set an alarm that plays Photograph by Ed Sheeran at 9:30 AM every day’ and the smart speaker will remember this selection precisely.

Your favorite?

As Google plans to bring in Smart Displays that are integrated with the technology behind Google Home (against Amazon Alexa powered Echo Show), you’re going to find a flood of features coming your way. From the ability to see who is at the front door with Nest Cam, to find out how long your Washing Machine load is going to take, the possibilities for the future of smart homes in endless.

Related: Smart display vs smart speakers

If you’re an avid Google Home users who have discovered yet another useful feature while tinkering with the smart speaker, be sure to share it down below.

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Sharing a love-hate relationship with Biotechnology in college, Husain moved on to his true calling of being a tech geek through and through. While briefly being persuaded by the iPhone, he made it back to the Android camp with the OnePlus One and has been a loyal comrade since.