Skip to Content
© Ilona Titova | Dreamstime
Tech tips

5 things you didn’t know Google Assistant could do – and 5 new features we’re excited for

Google Assistant isn’t just an app. It’s a voice-controlled tool you can have on your phone, smart speakers, TV, car, display screens, laptop, tablet and wearable tech. So yeah, it’s more than a basic application.

The Assistant is constantly evolving, along with the AI that drives it. There’re a lot of things you probably didn’t know it could do, and there are also a few things coming down the pipeline. But while we wait for the new programs, tap or click here for kid-friendly Google features.

If you’re ready to take your Google Assistant to the next level, check out our lists on what it can do and what Google plans on releasing for it soon. Guaranteed, you’ll be all over this fun and helpful program.

5 things you (probably) didn’t know Google Assistant could do

1. Give you voice control

With Google Assistant on your phone or tablet, you can have it open apps for you with just your voice. Simply say, “OK Google, open Calendar,” or another app you want, and Google Assistant will do the work for you.

You can also use it to scroll through apps or access certain tabs or pages within them. If you need to be hands-free while cooking, learning a new skill or even reading while doing the dishes, Google Assistant can help.

RELATED: Tap or click here for the amazing kitchen robot that cooks and cleans.

2. Find your lost phone

Misplace your phone while out and about, or lose it somewhere in your home? If you have Google Assistant on your phone and at least one other device, it can help you find it.

Here’s what you need for this to work. Your phone needs to be:

  • Turned on
  • Signed in to a Google account
  • Connected to Wi-Fi or have mobile data enabled
  • Visible on Google Play
  • Location-enabled
  • Find My Device is turned on, which is turned on by default after you sign in to a Google Account.

Make sure personalization is set up, too; otherwise, you’ll locate phones from other users in your household instead of your own.

Once you have all that taken care of, say, “Hey Google, find my phone,” and Google Assistant will make your phone ring. It will ring even if your phone is on Do Not Disturb mode. Just follow the ringing or wait for someone to pick up on the other end, and you’ll get your phone back in no time.

3. Entertain yourself

Say, “OK Google, I’m bored” and it will tell you a joke or play a game with you. It may even tell you a fun fact, which you can use to start a long chain of searches to learn more about the topic.

Basically, it’s nearly impossible to feel bored with Google Assistant once you use this feature. Want to play more games? Tap or click here for 10 of the best games to play.

4. Stream a movie or show

When you have Google Assistant on a device with a screen, you can say, “Hey Google, open Netflix.” Or you can get specific: “Hey Google, play ‘Stranger Things’ on Netflix.”

Google Assistant will pull up Netflix and go right to the show or movie you asked for. Tap or click here to learn about other places to stream movies and TV shows.

When you ask for a show, Assistant will open to the episode after the last one you watched. If you don’t know what to watch, just have Assistant open Netflix, and use voice controls to scroll until you find something that looks interesting.

5. Translate conversations

Google can translate web pages for you in foreign languages, and Google Assistant can translate other languages for you in real time as you’re talking to someone or listening to audio. Just enable Interpreter Mode.

Unfortunately, it’s not a feature on every Google Assistant device. If you have a Google Home speaker, Smart Display or Smart Clock, smartphone or a tablet, you can start using it right now.

Just say, “OK Google, help me speak [the name of the language],” or “OK Google, turn on Interpreter Mode,” and select the languages you’re translating between. Google Assistant will then listen to your conversation and start translating.

If you use a Smart Display to do this, Google Assistant will show you the translated conversation, as well as speak on everyone’s behalf. This feature is definitely invaluable when you’re traveling! Tap or click here to learn more about Interpreter Mode.

5 new features we’re excited for

According to Google’s blog, the company will be releasing more Assistant features later this year. They will be available in more than 90 countries around the world and can make your life significantly easier.

Here are our top five new features we can’t wait to try out:

1. Plan ahead

You can already use Google Assistant to turn smart devices in your house — like your TV and microwave — on or off. And pretty soon, you’ll be able to schedule tasks for your smart devices.

You’ll be able to say, “Hey Google, turn on the smart plug at 4 p.m.” so that plug will be on when you get home. You’ll also be able to say, “Hey Google, turn on the coffee maker at 7 a.m.” so your morning routine runs more smoothly.

2. Leave notes

You’ll soon be able to leave notes for other household members within Google Home. The coming feature is called Household Notes, and you can use it to let people know the house needs milk, or that you already walked the dog that morning.

It’s leaving a Post-It, but on a smart display. Of course, this means you’ll need a smart display with Google Assistant to use it, but the feature can let people who aren’t voice-paired to a device still get information and keep chores from being done twice.

3. Make anything an audiobook

Services like Audible are great. Tap or click here to learn how to get free audiobooks.

But if you have an essay you’ve written that you want to hear aloud, or there’s a long article you don’t have time to sit and read, Google Assistant will be able to read it to you in the near future.

All you’ll have to do is say, “OK Google, read this page” on a device where you can see the text. Google Assistant will read the entire page to you, and keep reading through the entire document or webpage.

This feature will even have some translation options. So for those who prefer or need to listen to words, rather than read them, Google Assistant will soon be your best friend.

4. Futurize your address book

It’s nice to have an accessible book filled with the phone numbers and addresses of your friends and family. But when you have a Google Assistant with a display, you’ll be able to make this book digital.

The master account user (the one who set it up originally) for a Google Assistant device that makes calls will be able to make a list of phone numbers and important contacts. They can give the contacts titles like “Babysitter” or “Best pizza.”

When you use Assistant on your phone, you’ll be able to say, “Hey Google, call best pizza” and Assistant will call the number for you. No more rooting through an entire address book for one number. Enter everything into Assistant to find the exact person you want to call with a single voice command.

5. New privacy controls

Google Assistant will soon be a more private experience. If you accidentally open Assistant with a prompt word or a button, you can say, “OK Google, that wasn’t for you,” and it will disregard whatever you said, saving none of it.

You’ll also be able to say, “OK Google, are you saving my audio data?” Assistant will open your Settings to privacy controls so you can make sure your audio data isn’t being saved.

If it is being saved, you’ll be able to turn it off. Tap or click here to learn more about protecting your data.

Google Assistant is a great tool with amazing features, and more amazing features are on the way. The best part? It’s available for both Apple and Android.

Tech smarts in 2 minutes a day

Get my Daily Tech Update and the Digital Life Hack. Just one minute each and arm you with the tech knowledge you need to impress your boss and friends with how smart you are.