The Ultimate Guide to Using Your Google Home and Assistant – All the Cool Tips and Tricks We Could Think Of

Hidden Features | Funny things to ask Google | Controlling your home | Google Home for Kids | Customisation | and more...
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Updated: 14th Aug 2019
Published: 6th Jun 2019
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This Is a List of All the Best Things You Can Do with Google Home and Assistant. Well, Every Cool Thing We Could Think of in a List... Enjoy!

You've heard people say that Google Home and Assistant are the closest you could ever get to a magic wand and that when you bring them home, you could get everything around you to do your bidding (Kettle make me a coffee, TV show me something funny, heating keep me warm - just like a butler, right?). So you have brought them home, and after asking about the weather and getting a news update, you are not so sure what else to try.

Well, getting the most out your Google Home and Assistant takes a lot of trial and error. But to make things easier for you, we have rounded up all the cool tricks we could think of to help you master the art in no time at all. Let’s dive right in.

 

Searching for an answer? Here's our table of contents: 

1) 11 Things to Ask Google Assistant to Get a Hilarious Response

2) Hidden Google Assistant Features

      a) Remembering where you left things

      b) Finding your phone

      c) Training Google Assistant to Recognize Family Members

      d) Getting your assistant to call you by any name

      e) Sharing your smart home with guests

3) Conversing with Google Assistant

       a) Basic Commands

       b) Plan Your Day

       c) Continued Conversation  

       d) StringingaSeriesofCommands

4) Smart Home Control

        a) Adding Third-Party Devices to Smart Home Ecosystem

        b) Assigning Device Room

        c) Renaming Devices

         d) Routines

         e) Broadcast Messages

          f)  Multilingual Voice Control

          g) Controlling Your Chromecast

5) Change Google Assistant’s Voice

6) Kid-Friendly Features

          a) Games, Stories and Activities 

          b) Custom Responses for Kids

          c) Parental Controls

          d) Filtering Content

7) How to shop with Google Assistant

          a) How to Shop

          b) Creating a Digital Shopping List

          c) Sharing Shopping Lists

8) Other Handy Tricks for Automating Your Life

9) Make Free Calls

10) Send and Receive Text Messages Hands-Free

11) Travel Features with Google Home

12) Get Some Privacy on Google Home

13) Let Google Home help you make decisions

         a) Setting Location-Based Reminders with Google Home

         b) Make the Most of Google Search with Google Home

 

11 Things to Ask Google Assistant to Get a Hilarious Response

At the end of a hectic day, all you might need is just a little humor to get the evening off to a perfect start. As it turns out, the folks at Google knew you might need such a break once in a while and prepared Google Assistant to rise to the occasion.

Here are some of the top phrases and questions that will trigger humorous responses:

  1. Hey Google, what’s your name?

If you want to start with the basics, this is a great choice of question. And in response you might get, “Did I forget to introduce myself? I’m your Google Assistant. Hi.”

  1. OK Google, self-destruct

In response to this funny command, Google Assistant says, “Self-destructing in 3, 2, 1… Actually, I think I’ll stick around.”

  1. Hey Google, what’s your life story?

The typical response to this one is, “I’m still on the first chapter.”

  1. Hey Google, where do babies come from?

You might get varied responses for this one. One of the funniest is, “I’m too young to have this conversation.”

  1. Hey Google, do you believe in Santa Claus?

Google Assistant sure knows how to play it safe with a neutral response: “If Santa gave me a present, I wouldn’t ask any questions.”

  1. Hey Google, what am I thinking?

Can Google Assistant read minds? The answer to this oCreating a Digital Shopping Listne might get you off guard, “You’re thinking if my Google Assistant guesses what I’m thinking, I’m going to freak out.”

  1. OK Google, did you fart?

Make sure you are alone when you ask this one, the response is quite hilarious: “I don’t believe I did fart, no, but blame it on me if you want. Although they do say whoever smelled it dealt it.”

  1. Hey Google, when is your birthday?

This will definitely crack you up: “It’s hard to remember, I was very young at the time.”

  1. Hey Google, are you my friend?

“I’m your friend till the end. And not in a ‘job obligation’ way. In a ‘you’re awesome’ kind of way.”

  1. Hey Google, what are you wearing?

“I like to wear my heart on my sleeve.”

  1. Hey Google, what do you think of Alexa?

It turns out there is no bad blood between Google Assistant and Alexa: “Alexa has such a soothing voice. I like it.”

 

Hidden Google Assistant Features

Though you might have had your Google Home smart speaker and Assistant for a while now, there are some hidden features you probably don’t know about. Take a look at some of them:

  • Remembering where you left things

Oftentimes, we keep things so well that we cannot seem to find them when we really need to. The next time you want to keep your passport or spare key in a safe place, share the details with Google Assistant and thank us later. You could simply say, “OK Google, my spare key is in the kids’ closet.” And when you need to use it, ask, “OK Google, where is my spare key?”

  • Finding your phone

Do you find yourself frantically looking for your phone when it’s time to leave? Instead of turning the house upside down, you could ask for help from the all-seeing eyes of Google Assistant. You could use one of its features to make your phone ring, and it even works when the phone is on silent mode.

Prepare in advance for this by checking that your phone and Home Hub are on the same Google account. To access the feature, your phone will however need to be connected to the internet.

  • Training Google Assistant to Recognize Family Members

Get every family member in on the smart home hype by training your assistant to tell apart their voices. With this capability, it will be easier for everyone to get tailored support, for instance, for their calendar or morning news reports.

To enjoy this personalized experience, go to your Google Home app, under Profile tab and tap on the Assistant tab. Follow the instructions for Voice Match and get everyone else to do the same. Fortunately, Google Assistant is a fast learner and you can confirm by asking “OK Google, who am I?” And even if you happen to have multiple Home speakers, you will only do this once as the rest of them will pull the information through.

At the moment, Google Assistant can learn up to six different voices by virtue of this feature.

  • Getting your assistant to call you by any name

Have a little more fun with Google Assistant by choosing a nickname. You can have it refer to you as “Your majesty” “Superman” “King” “Princess” or any other name that tickles your fancy. Simply say, “OK Google, change my name to [new name]” and Google Assistant will remember your choice.

Read also: How to Change Google Home's Name (Wake Word) and Voice - Everything You Need to Know
  • Sharing your smart home with guests

For those who have guests frequently, sharing the Wi-Fi password and setting guests up on the smart home ecosystem can get exhausting. Simplify the process using the “Guest Mode” facility on Google Home.

When you enable the feature, your guest will get a four-digit PIN code allowing them to connect to the network.

 

Conversing with Google Assistant

Google Assistant can now answer virtually any question, understanding context and responding to conversation. Check out some cool tricks for interacting with Assistant.

  • Basic Commands

To begin a conversation with Google Assistant, use the wake word “OK Google” or “Hey Google.” Though the feature works the same on Google Home and your phone, only one of the devices will respond.

  • Plan Your Day

Start by asking “Hey Google, tell me about my day.” In response, you will get a personalized greeting, weather information, calendar entries, traffic reminders and personalized news stories. Note that you can customize the morning report to give you any sort of information such as your flight status.

Here are a few other neat tricks to get your day off to the right start:

    • To get a positive news story: “OK Google, tell me something good.”
    • To check notifications: “Hey Google, what’s up?” or “Hey Google, what are my notifications?”
    • To schedule a new event: “OK Google, add [event] to my calendar.”
    • To access reminders: “OK Google, what are my reminders for tomorrow?”
    • To create a new reminder: “Hey Google, remind me to [title] on [day] at [time].”
    • To check the time: “OK Google, what time is it?” or “OK Google, what’s the time in Brisbane?”
    • To set an alarm: “OK Google, set an alarm for everyday at [time]” or “OK Google, set an alarm for [time].”
    • To get translations: “OK Google, how do you say [word] in [language]?”

 

  • Continued Conversation

In June last year, Google introduced a new feature known as “Continued Conversations.” With this feature, it is easier to make conversations. You could either ask a line of connected questions or issue related commands and the AI assistant now understands context.

For instance, when you ask “OK Google, what’s the weather?” and get the response, you can ask, “How about tomorrow?” You will get the answer without having to repeat the wake word or even mention ‘weather’ again. In fact, you could even add, “Remind me to carry an umbrella tomorrow.”

  • Stringing a Series of Commands

Recent updates on Google Home allow you to string a maximum of three consecutive commands together in a single sentence. For instance, you could say, “OK Google, turn off the bedroom lights and set the volume to 15.”

 

Smart Home Control

One of the best features you get from Google Home is a one-stop control point for smart appliances in your home. These include a wide range of devices from Google as well as third-party manufacturers. You can use voice commands via Google Assistant to turn them on and off and even control them by room. Alternatively, you could also control them using the Home app on your smartphone. Let’s see how:

  • Adding Third-Party Devices to Smart Home Ecosystem

To get the most of your Google smart home, you might have to incorporate a wide array of brands into your ecosystem. Add new devices by going to your Home App, clicking on the ‘Home tab’, ‘Add’ icon, ‘Add to Home’ and then ‘Set up Device.’

  • Assigning Device Room

Once a device is set up, you will see it at the bottom of the Home tab on Google Home app. Tap on the ‘Add to Room’ icon to place it in the desired location. In future, if you want to move the device to a different room, go back to the Home tab, click on the device, tap the ‘Settings’ cog, select the room you want to move it to and then ‘Save.’Kid-Friendly Features

  • Renaming Devices

To simplify the commands you use to control various devices, you might want to rename them. Instead of calling a device by the name “Belkin WeMo Smart Plug”, you might opt to rename it to “bedroom lamp”. To do so, go to the Home tab, click on the device, tap ‘Settings,’ then ‘Name,’ choose the name you want and then ‘Save.’

  • Routines

Instead of issuing multiple voice commands for routine activities, you could actually create a “Routine” on Google Home. You could either trigger the routine with a custom schedule or phrase. To illustrate, you can create a nighttime schedule that automatically turns on the light and gets coffee started at a preset time. Alternatively, you could kick off the routine with a phrase like “OK Google, it’s bedtime.” In response, it could lock the doors, turn off downstairs lights and turn on the upstairs ones, adjust temperature settings and even play cool music.

  • Broadcast Messages

Create an intercom system in your home using multiple smart speakers. Just say “OK Google, broadcast [command]”. If your message is something like “Go to bed” or “Dinner’s ready” she will in fact ring a bell and announce “Bedtime” or “Dinner time.” Following a recent upgrade, people can now respond to broadcasts.

Read also: How to Use Google Home as an Intercom – Hint “OK Google Broadcast” + Everything Else You Need to Know
  • Multilingual Voice Control

For smart homeowners living in a multilingual setting, Google Assistant can support two languages simultaneously. At the moment, you can choose a pair consisting of any of these languages:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Italian

Once you set up the multilingual feature, you can give voice commands in any of the two languages you have selected. Google Assistant will in turn respond in the language you use.

  • Controlling Your Chromecast

One of the best ways to enjoy the liberating experience of voice control is by using Chromecast. Chromecast lets you stream internet content to your TV and use voice commands to get things done. Use it right, and you might never need the remote control again.

Connect your smartphone, Chromecast TV and smart speaker to the same Wi-Fi network. Go to your Google Home app, select ‘Menu,’ ‘More Settings,’ ‘Services’ and then tap ‘TVs and speakers’ to add the new device. Once you tap on ‘Add’ the TV should become visible under TVs and Speakers in the app.

Google Assistant on Chromecast currently offers support for Netflix, YouTube, GooglePlay Music+TV, HBO Now, CBS and All4 among others. Once you select your streaming app, you can now use voice control to select channels, search for specific shows and control the TV. You can also cast shows, movies, photos and audio from another source to the TV.

Change Google Assistant’s Voice

In case you did not know, you can change the voice of your assistant from the default woman’s voice to a man’s and back again. In fact, there are eight different voices to choose from. Go to Google Home app and under ‘Profile’ tab, choose ‘Assistant’ and then select the voice that suits you the most.

Read also: How to Change Google Home's Name (Wake Word) and Voice - Everything You Need to Know

Kid-Friendly Features

Google Home has a ton of kid-friendly activities and features to get the entire family in on the fun. They offer an alternative form of entertainment for the young and young at heart that does not necessarily entail screen time.

  • Games, Stories and Activities

Google Assistant devices now have more than 50 games, stories and activities to keep kids entertained. A good number of activities involve physical activity, a great move to discourage sedentary lifestyles among the young. These include musical chairs and dancing among other things. There are also some traditional games such as the popular Mickey Mouse adventures and trivia.

Some of the commands they can use to access these features include:

“Hey Google, let’s play a game”

“Hey Google, play Kinderling radio”

“Hey Google, help me with my homework”

“Hey Google, let’s make ANZAC biscuits

 

  • Custom Responses for Kids

Using the Google Assistant Shortcut feature, you can create custom responses to kids’ questions. You can include their name in the responses or use the feature to teach them stuff, both fun and informative.

  • Parental Controls

Keep track of what your kids are up to and how much time they spend indoors with the Google Family Link feature. You can control the apps they access and track screen time, setting time limits.

  • Filtering Content

Keep in mind that Google Home devices and Assistant have Google search resources at their disposal. Notably, not all of such resources are age-appropriate and you might want to set up filters to keep the young ones safe from exposure to rated material. To do so, go to your Google Home app and under the Home tab, tap on ‘Settings,’ ‘Digital Wellbeing’ and follow the instructions. This will allow you to apply filters for videos, music and Google Assistant features that may not be age-appropriate.

Read also: 

What Can Google Home Do for Your Kids and How to Get Started Setting Up

How Google Home Can Help You Work, Rest and Play

 

How to shop with Google Assistant

If ever you find yourself falling behind the shopping curve during the holiday seaso or any other season for that matter, Google Assistant has got you covered.

How to Shop

When you use this automated service for shopping for the first time, it might be wise to start off with “Hey Google, how do I shop?” In response to this command, you will get a brief overview of how the Google Express shopping service works. Once you get the hang of it, give Google Assistant your order. You could say for instance, “Hey Google, buy me a carton of milk.” You will then get the total cost of the order including tax and shipping then confirm the order to buy.

Creating a Digital Shopping List

Another convenient feature under this provision is the creation of a digital shopping list that you can take with you to the store. Create the list using your voice by saying “Hey Google, add [item] to my shopping list.” Once you are done creating the list, say “OK Google, show me my shopping list.” However, as you shop, you can only check off items manually in the Google Home app and not by voice.

Sharing Shopping Lists

Invite contacts to join your shopping list and they will have the opportunity to add or remove items from the list. To do this, say “OK Google, show me my shopping list.’ Once it appears, tap the share icon and scroll through contacts to add them to the list. Tap ‘Save’ when you are done and they will get an email alert to join the list.

Read also: Voice Shopping with Google Home & Assistant - All Your Questions Answered

 

Other Handy Tricks for Automating Your Life

There is simply no end to the ways in which Google Home and Assistant can simplify and improve your life. Here are some of the top things you can delegate to the able assistant, to keep your eyes, hands and brain free to pursue other more important matters:

Make Free Calls

To use Google Home to call your friends for free over the internet, configure the smart speaker to display your number and then say, “Hey Google, call [contact name].” Once you are done, say, “OK Google, hang up.” Keep in mind though that for this feature to work efficiently, Assistant needs to recognize your voice so as to call your contacts. Therefore, ensure that you have set up Voice Match (discussed above) for a smooth experience.

Send and Receive Text Messages Hands-Free

To access this feature, you have to set up in advance using the IFTTT (If This, Then That) functionality. Download the IFTTT app from Play Store and create a free account. Go to “My Applets” and tap on the plus sign, select “this” and select “Google Assistant.”

After allowing IFTTT the relevant permissions, select the field “Say a phrase with text ingredient.” Enter the command you want Google Home to recognize, in this case, “Text [name] $/£.” Don’t leave out the $/£ as it’s what lets you dictate the message. But whenever you want to send a text to that contact, you will simply say “Text [name].”

To complete the process, tap the tick icon and select “that,” select “Android SMS” and then “Stringing a Series of CommandsSend an SMS.” Add the recipient’s phone number and tap the tick icon.

This feature is most useful for frequent contacts. Otherwise, it would be so much easier to text the contact, right?

On the same note, Assistant can help you catch up on text messages while you get other things done. Say “Hey Google, read me my messages” and it will go through the most recent messages and can read some or all of them out loud. If you want to have messages from a specific contact read, say, “Hey Google, read me my messages from [name].”

Travel Features with Google Home

Google Assistant works with Google Maps, letting you find your way around using voice commands. Just say “OK Google, directions to [destination]” or “navigate home.” It will automatically open Google Maps navigation and calculate the easiest route.

Additionally, it allows you to share your destination information with another person. Other advantages you can enjoy through the integration are replying to text messages, making calls and even controlling music.

While traveling, you can also use Google Assistant to find things like accommodation, things to do in specific locations, restaurants and flights to another destination. Use it to check a hotel booking or check flight status.

Get Some Privacy on Google Home

While it’s great to have Google Assistant always available to do your bidding, every so often, you might want some privacy. There could be things you do not want your ‘always listening’ AI partner to overhear and record. Though that is the precise reason for having a wake word, when you say something similar, it might just respond when you least expect.

Thankfully, every Google Home speaker comes with a mute button at the back that disables the ‘always listening’ feature whenever you need privacy. When it’s off, four amber lights pop up on top and all you need to do to get it back on is press the same button.

Let Google Home help you make decisions

At times, the simplest help you can get is often the most valuable. Whenever you come to a crossroad, facing a seemingly impossible decision, call upon the unparalleled wisdom of Google Assistant. Just request it to roll a die, flip a coin, pick a random number or even call upon a crystal ball.

Setting Location-Based Reminders with Google Home

Take the reminders function to the next level using this option. The feature was made available by virtue of an upgrade that extended the reminder functionality to cover location. Though your Google Home remains at home, your smartphone is almost always with you as you go places. To illustrate, you could tell Assistant, “Remind me to pick up batteries when I get to the store.” Due to the location aspect, this reminder will not appear on Google Home. Rather, your phone will ping you when you get there.

Make the Most of Google Search with Google Home

You can search for virtually any kind of information using Google Assistant in the same way as you carry out a Google search, only much easier. Ask Google Assistant to identify the name of a song, the singer, the year a movie debuted, the spelling or pronunciation of any word, mathematical calculations, measurement and currency conversions and even recipes.

 

With Google Assistant becoming more intelligent by the day and the list of compatible devices ever expanding, the smart home is fast moving from the realms of science fiction to reality. The only limit to what you can achieve with your Google Home ecosystem is your imagination.

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