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25 Things Google Home Can Do You Had No Idea About

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Google Home smart speakers, which are powered by Google Assistant, the search engine’s artificial intelligence technology, can be used to perform various tasks through voice commands.

“You can control over 50,000 smart home devices including TVs, remote controls, lights, appliances, plugs, thermostats and more,” using your speaker, according to Google.

Here we look at some features of Google Home that users might not know about.

Call you by a different name

By default, your Google Home device will call you by your “nickname,” which is the first name associated with your Google Account. “However, you can set a different nickname and teach Google Assistant the correct pronunciation,” Google says.

This can be set up by opening the nickname tab within the Assistant settings of the Google Home app. Choose the “record your own” option to record the name you want the device to learn. Hit “play” to check the pronunciation and record it again to correct it.

Users can also type out the name by which they want to be called by choosing the “spell it out” option and then hitting play to hear the pronunciation.

Turn off your morning alarm

English speaking users can stop an alarm from ringing by simply saying “Stop” without saying “Hey Google” first. Users can also physically stop the alarm by tapping the top of the Google Home speaker. The same applies for shutting off a timer.

Make your coffee

Users can activate their smart coffeemaker with their voice by connecting it to the Google Home device via the Google Home app.

Open your curtains

Connect your smart curtain device with Google Home via the app to be able to open or close curtains using voice commands.

“Blinds can be opened and closed, and various types of blinds are supported such as venetian (opens in one direction), panel or vertical (may open either left or right), and top-down bottom-up (may open either up or down). Some blinds may have slats that can be rotated,” Google notes.

Draw you a bath

Google Home can be used to activate your smart bathtub. “Bathtubs can be filled and drained, possibly to particular levels if the bathtub supports it,” Google says. Users will first need to link their smart bathtubs with Google Home via the app.

Clean your house

Once linked to the Google Home device via the app, you can use voice commands to activate your smart vacuum to clean the house, including specific areas, depending on the functions your vacuum supports.

Google says: “Vacuums may have functions such as starting, stopping, and pausing cleaning, docking, checking the current cleaning cycle, locating the vacuum, or adjusting various modes. Some vacuums may support cleaning specific zones in the home.”

Multi-task

Users can get Google Home to do answer two questions at once by combining any two voice queries that it supports. Users just need to say “and” between the two queries. For example, users could say: “Hey Google, what time is it and what is the weather?”

This feature is only available in the U.S. when the Google Assistant language is set to U.S. English, Google advises.

Feed your pet

Users can activate smart pet food dispensers using their voice once the feeders are connected to Google Home via the app. “Interactions with pet feeders may include dispensing pet food or water in various quantities and presets,” Google says.

Block explicit songs

Using the Filters function on the Google Home app, users can block access to music with explicit lyrics. “No Filter is 100 percent accurate. But if you select to block explicit music, it should help avoid most mature language and themes,” Google said.

…and calls

The Filters function can be used to block voice calls on your Google Home device.

…and answers

Users can choose whether to restrict or allow the ability to ask the speaker questions or perform searches. “If restricted, answers will only allow basic responses for things like time, weather and calculator. However, many answers to questions will be blocked for the people you’ve chosen,” Google explains.

…and actions

Users can either allow all actions or only allow “family-friendly actions” to be performed by their Google Home speaker.

“If restricted, third party actions will be blocked for the people you’ve chosen. But they’ll still be able to access actions for families (a smaller set of actions made by Google and other developers),” Google says.

You can choose whether the filter (such as blocking songs, calls, answers or actions) should apply to all users, guests or certain users.

Help you do a digital detox

Users can access the Downtime function in the Google Home app to “take a break” from the smart speakers.

“When your speakers and displays are in Downtime, they will not respond to most commands or questions. During Downtime, you will not receive notifications from your speakers and displays. Alarms and timers will still work,” Google says.

Downtime and Filter form Google’s Digital Wellness feature, a set of tools that you can use to “place limits on when and how your Google Home speakers are used.”

Only the person who set up the Google Home speaker can set up and manage the Digital Wellbeing feature, which is only available in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada.

Play audio on a specific device

Google Home can play music on a specific device by name. For example, users can say “Play [insert artist name] using Spotify on bedroom speakers” or “Play Rise by Katy Perry video on bedroom TV”

…or videos by category

Users can use Google Home to play a certain group of videos on a specific device. For example, users can say “Play yoga videos on TV” or “Play Casey Neistat videos on living room TV” or “Play John Oliver videos on TV.”

Pause a specific device

Users can say “Pause on living room TV” or another device if they’re occupied in another room.

To either play or pause a specific device, users need to link their devices to Google Home speaker via the Google Home app.

Turn on subtitles

Users can get Google Home to switch subtitles on while watching television by saying “Turn on subtitles” or “Captions on” or turn them off. Google Home can also display subtitles in another language, for example when users say “Turn on French subtitles.”

“Supported languages depend on the content service (example: YouTube or Netflix) and the video title,” Google says.

Dim the lightning

Users can get Google Home to switch their smart lights on or off in any room. It can also dim or brighten the lighting to a specific percentage.

…or change the color

You could also change the color of the lighting using their voice. To control any light settings, users would need to connect their lighting devices to Google Home via the app.

Adjust the temperature

Users can change the temperature in their home by saying phrases like “make it warmer” or “lower the temp” to their Google Home device. The smart thermostat must be connected to Google Home via the app.

The thermostat can be switched by a specific amount by saying commands like “raise temp 2 degrees” or “set the temperature to 72.”

Users can choose their preferred weather unit (Celsius or Fahrenheit) via the Google Home app.

Activate plugs and switches

Once they have been connected to Google Home via the app, users can tell Google Home to turn on or off specific smart plugs or switches around their home.

Create your shopping list

Users can tell Google Home to add items to a virtual shopping list, which can be viewed via the Google Home app. Users can also hear a list of their items by saying “What’s on my shopping list?”

Track flight prices

For example, users can say “How much are flights to New York City in 3 weeks?” Users will get notifications in their email once they start tracking a flight. “You can only track flight prices for a general location or date, not a specific flight or airline,” Google says.

Estimate your commute

Users can get an estimation of how long it will take to get to a certain destination by saying “How long is my commute?” The device will then provide an estimated time to drive to work from your home address as well as traffic conditions for the fastest route.

Users can also ask their Google Home device to estimate the commute between specific locations. For example, they can ask “How long will it take to get from work to San Francisco International Airport?”

Find activities to do by location

Users can ask Google Home to suggest what to do in a given location by saying “Things to do in [insert city or other location].”

A Google Home Mini smart speaker with lights illuminated seen in a home in San Ramon, California on March 26, 2019.
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

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