Google released the Google Home closed to a year ago and, since then, they have improved it in many ways. On October 4th, Google announced two new additions to the Google Home family. The Google Home Mini and the Google Home Max. Here are my top 10 tips and tricks for the Google Home.
1. Multi-user support
You can link up to 6 users and their voices to Google Home. Each member will be able to get personalized information like commute times, daily briefings, favorite music and more.
How to set it up
- Open the Google Home app and tap the Menu icon at the top left corner
- Tap the triangle next to the currently active account and select the Google account you would like to set up
- On the top right corner, tap the Devices icon
- If you have multiple devices, search for the Google Home that you want to link and tap Link your account
- Follow the instructions to teach your device to recognize your voice and you will be all done
2. Link smart home devices
If you have devices like Wemo switches, Philips Hue lights or other smart home devices, Google has added support for a lot of them to the Google Home so you can now link them and control them using your voice.
How to link your devices
To add for example a new Wemo Switch or a smart light, tap the Menu icon, go to Home Control and then tap the Add icon on the bottom right corner. You will see a list of some of the supported devices that you can link to the Google Home.
You can access the full list of supported devices and service by going to Explore in the Menu session.
3. Make phone calls
Since August, users can now make calls for free in the U.S. and Canada to anyone in their contact list and local businesses. Placing calls are directly from the Google Home over Wi-Fi so, no minutes get used from your mobile plan. Something important to be aware of is that at the moment, you can’t initiate calls to emergency services from the Google Home.
How to set it up
Out of the box, to initiate a call Say “OK Google” or “Hey Google” and then the number you would like to call, the contact name or a business name. The person on the other end sees the caller ID as “Unknown”. To change this, you can go to Menu > More Settings > Calls on speakers. You can link a Google Voice account, your mobile number or a Project Fi number.
4. Set up IFTTT
There are many services and devices not yet directly supported on the Google Home but, many of them do have support for IFTTT. The good news is that you can link an IFTTT account to Google Home and control those devices and services using your voice.
How to set it up
To link your IFTTT account to Google Home, go to the IFTTT website or download the IFTTT app and then search for Google Assistant. Tap on Connect, then sign in to your Google account and allow IFTTT to have offline access. After that’s done, you will be able to create new Applets which you can trigger by voice via your Google Home.
If you have never used IFTTT before, check out my IFTTT Beginner’s guide so you can have a better understanding of how the service works and how to make new Applets.
5. Play shows and movies to your TV
Streaming shows and movies from Netflix got a lot easier now with the Google Home. You can say “Hey Google” play Stranger Things from Netflix to Living room and, it will automatically start playing to a ChromeCast connected to your TV or a TV with ChromeCast built-in.
How to link Netflix
To link a Netflix account, go to Menu > More Settings > Videos and Fotos. Under Netflix, tab on Link and then enter your Netflix credentials.
Now that you have your Netflix account linked to Google Home, you can control what’s playing, pause, resume, stop and change to previous or next episode by using the sound of your voice.
6. Listen to music
Just like linking a Netflix account for streaming video, you can also connect popular music service to play music directly on the Google Home.
At the moment there are four services available that you can link to Google Home:
- Spotify (Free and premium)
- Pandora (Free radio service)
- Google Play Music (Free radio service and subscription)
- YouTube Music (Requires YouTube Red subscription)
How to set up a music services
To set up one of the available music streaming services, go to Menu > Music. Select one of the streaming services and log in with your credentials.
After you have your account linked, you can ask Google Home to play music from a specific artist, album or genre directly on the Google Home or on a ChromeCast device.
7. Send info to your phone
This simple and useful feature allows you to send queries to your phone from your Google Home. After asking a question, you can say “Hey Google, send that to my phone” and, you will get a notification on your phone with the information.
At the moment, this feature only works with a few categories you can send queries related to weather, calendar events, sports, news, translations, and traffic. Conveniently, Google automatically sends traffic info to your device without asking for it.
8. Check the latest news
If you are like me and you like to listen to the latest news while getting ready to work, with Google Home you can get the top headlines and also news for different categories like tech news, sports, weather, finances and more. There are many news sources available that you can set up on your Google home. Some of them are, for example, CNN, CNET, Mashable, Tech News Today, Wired, ESPN Sports Center. The list pretty much goes on.
How to set up news sources
To set up your favorite news sources, go to Menu > More Settings > News > Add news sources. When you ask Google Home to play the news, it will use this list of sources that you selected from top to bottom. You can rearrange the order by tapping Change Order.
9. Create custom shortcuts for any command
Google Home has a lot of actions available from different services, and sometimes some commands can get a bit long. Whenever you want to use one of those services, let’s say, Harmony, you would say, “OK Google, ask Harmony to change to ChromeCast”. With shortcuts, we can make this command shorter and say, “Hey Google, change to ChromeCast”.
How to create a shortcut
To create a new shortcut, go to Menu > More Settings > Shortcuts. Tap the Add icon to create a new command. Type the shorter command you want to say and then, enter the command that Google Home will execute.
10. Factory reset the Google Home
If you are having issues with the Google Home or you are giving it away and want to factory reset it to clear all data. There is a quick and easy method that you can use. There is no option to reset it using your voice or the Home app but, you can press and hold the Mute button located on the back for 15 to 20 seconds. However, on the Google Home Mini, there is a dedicated reset button that you can use and, is located on the bottom near the power connection.
To end this article, I want to leave you with some Google Home Easter eggs that you can try for yourself.
- “OK Google, make me a sandwich”
- “OK Google, make me laugh”
- “OK Google, what am I thinking right now?”
- “OK Google, what is your quest?”
- “OK Google, did you fart?”
- “OK Google, are you friends with Alexa/Cortana/Siri?”
- “OK Google, Hodor”
- “OK Google, wubba lubba dub dub”
- “OK Google, up, up, down, down, left, right, B, A.”
- “OK Google, do you like Star Trek or Star Wars?”
- “OK Google, here comes dat boi”
- “OK Google, where’s Waldo?”
- “OK Google, what’s cooler than being cool?”
- “OK Google, do you speak Morse code?”
- “OK Google, what are the three laws of robotics?”
- “OK Google, are you feeling lucky?”
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