If you're still adjusting to a world run by smart devices, you're not alone. Trust me - I've had a Google Home for months now and have yet to take it out of the box. I can't really give you a good reason for my procrastination (maybe I’m a little scared?) but what I do know is that it’s time to face my fears and enjoy my smart speaker. And conquer my new year’s goal of boosting efficiency at home.
If you're on Team Google of the Echo vs. Home debate, here are the tips, tricks, and features you should know to start using your Google Home like a pro from the get-go:
Link your accounts
Step one: Sign in to your Google account and synch your mobile device. Step two: Sign in to all your other accounts as well, including Google Play Music, Spotify, YouTube and Pandora.
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Make it multilingual
If you speak more than one language or are learning a second, you can set up your Google Home to do the same. Simply go to the assistant settings and select "add language." Currently, the device can support English, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Dutch.
Change the voice
If you don't love the default voice that the Google Assistant uses, you can select from several male and female options, including ones with accents. (I personally love a British accent...makes me think of David Beckham.)
Learn the commands
Of course, there's "OK Google" and "Hey Google" but how else can you initiate conversation with your smart speaker? CNET is here to help with a complete list of Google Home commands that exist to date.
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Tell Google what to call you
If you go to the "Personal Info" settings on the Google Home app, you can change your nickname. Better yet, you can teach Google how to pronounce it properly.
Press mute for privacy
If you're uneasy about Google listening in all day every day, you can press the mute button on the device to disable the "always listening" feature.
Go hands-free shopping
Google Express allows you to place orders at various stores, such as Walgreens and Whole Foods, just by talking to the speaker.
Text with your Google Home
Ask your speaker if you have any messages and your oh-so-helpful Google Assistant will read your unread texts to you. Then you can even tell your Assistant to "send a text to Andrew saying I'm on my way."
Customize your morning report
By tapping on News and then Customize, you can tell your Google Home which sources you want your Assistant to pull from when reading the news. You can also set up morning routines triggered by certain commands, such as saying "Hey Google, good morning" for a rundown of the news, weather, upcoming calendar events and other highlights of your choice.
Set a toothbrush timer
CNET offers this quirky but super useful tip: Create a custom command like "OK Google, toothbrush time" to cue a two-minute timer for when you start brushing.
Find your missing phone
Say "Hey Google, find my phone" and the speaker will call your phone. (Epic fail, this trick only works if your phone is on and in the house.)
Sleep with night mode
The night mode feature dims the device's light and lowers the volume to minimize disturbances when the sun goes down. You can even schedule this feature to automatically turn on at a specified time every night.
Your Google Home can do a lot, but it’s no substitute for being prepared for unexpected home repairs. That's why having a home repair or home warranty plan in place before things go wrong is always a good strategy. See how plans from HomeServe can help with the costs of covered repairs.