Home voice assistants have only been out for a few years, but they have become the cornerstones of many households. If you’ve settled on Google Home as your favored assistant, then you want to know how to get the most out of it.
Google offers its Home smart speakers in three different sizes in prices ranging from $49 to $399, so there’s a gadget for any budget. If you know what to say, you can use your Google Home as a source of entertainment, a stress reliever, and for your daily dose of news, among many other things.
Google is constantly updating its Home abilities, adding new features and options for family fun. Check out these 10 super-cool Google Home abilities. You just might find a new favorite.
1. Let Google Home remember things for you
We all have busy lives and it can be easy to forget things like your new neighbor’s name, where you stashed your spare house keys, or when you last watered the garden. You can use Google Home as an extension of your memory. Just tell it to remember things by saying, “Hey Google, remember that my neighbor’s name is Susan” or “OK Google, remember that my spare house keys are in my desk drawer.” To retrieve the information later, just ask. “Hey Google, what is my neighbor’s name” or “Hey Google, where are my spare house keys?”
2. Play fun family games
Your Google Home speaker wants to get your family up off the couch and playing entertaining games together. Clear some space in the living room, set out some chairs, and say “Hey Google, play Musical Chairs.” Google Home will even suggest some dance moves to liven things up. You can also try “Hey Google, play Freeze Dance.” Google Home also has goofy interactive games you can try out by saying “Hey Google, play Sound Pet” or “Hey Google, play Guess the Sound.”
3. Chill out with ambient sounds
Feeling a little stressed? Take a deep breath and say, “OK Google, help me relax.” Your Home device will kick into chill-out mode with some soothing ambient noise. You can even request specific sounds like, “play river sounds,” “play forest sounds,” or “play fireplace sounds.” Pick an ocean, enjoy a rainstorm, or get lost in white noise.
4. Find your phone
We’ve all done it. You set your phone down somewhere and now it’s time to leave and you can’t find it anywhere. Good thing your Google Home has your back. Just say, “Hey Google, find my phone.” Home will then trigger your linked phone to ring on full volume so you can hunt it down where it fell between the couch cushions.
5. Explore a world of stories
Everyone loves a good story and Google Home has plenty of them. “Hey Google, tell me a story” will trigger one of the assistant’s engaging stories, which may be a classic fairy tale like "Sleeping Beauty" or a selection from Google Play. You can also request specific stories such as “The Tired Alien,” “The Not-So-Scaredy Cat,” or “The Chef Who Loved Potatoes.” These tales are all family-friendly and give you a nice alternative to just sitting and watching television.
6. Play Akinator
Akinator calls itself a genie, but it’s actually a really smart modern version of the old game 20 questions. To get going, say, “Hey Google, start Akinator.” Akinator will guide you through how to play it. You think of a character, real or fictional, and then answer a series of yes-or-no questions until Akinator guesses who you’re thinking of.
We put Akinator through its paces and it successfully guessed Sherlock Holmes, Godzilla, and Walt Longmire in fewer than 20 questions each. It’s almost magical and it’s a lot of fun to play.
7. Broadcast an announcement
The dinner bell has gotten a very modern upgrade. You can broadcast a voice message to all of your Google Home devices that are on the same Wi-Fi network by saying, “OK Google, broadcast that it’s time for dinner.” You can use this for all sorts of announcements, such as wake-up calls, bedtimes, family gatherings, or anything else you want to announce to the whole household.
8. Change your name
You don’t have to settle for your normal name when your Google Home addresses you. You can be “Your Majesty” or “Mr. Cool” if you like. “Just say, “Hey Google, change my name.” Home will respond with “Alright. What would you like to change it to?” Choose your new nickname and Home will confirm it.
9. Customize “Tell me about my day.”
“Hey Google, tell me about my day.” This may be the first thing you say to your Google Home every morning. Your device will give you the time, local weather, your next Google Calendar meeting, and a news report. To customize My Day, head to your Google Home app settings section and choose “My Day.” Here you can set your work commute details, turn reminders on and off, and choose your news sources for the briefing.
10. Share Google Home with your whole family
Google Home is happy to work with multiple people by using the Voice Match feature. Each person must have a Google account and link it to Home using Google’s instructions. Once you’ve trained Home to recognize different voices, it will give customized responses to each person in your family. That means you, your spouse, and your kids can get each their own personalized My Day reports, access their own music services, and check their calendars. Voice Match can handle up to six different people.
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