Whether you're trying to focus on your work or lull yourself to sleep, white noise is a useful tool to have at your disposal. Now that smart voice-controlled speakers have invaded our homes, playing the right bit of ambient sound is easier than ever.
If you have a Google Home, an Amazon Echo, or you're still waiting for Apple's HomePod, playing some white noise is just a voice command away. Here's how to turn your smart home speaker into an ambient sound machine.
If you're in a hurry, you can switch on some white noise with a quick voice command to your Google Home speaker. Try saying, "Hey Google, help me relax," or, "OK Google, play white noise." This works for the company's smart speakers, along with the Google Assistant on your smartphone.
You can also pick from over a dozen different sounds if you want a little more control over the type of noise Google plays. Here's the full list of options (courtesy of The Verge). Just say, "Hey Google, play ____" followed by any of these terms:
- Relaxing sounds
- Nature sounds
- Water sounds
- Running water sounds
- Outdoor sounds
- Babbling brook sounds
- Oscillating fan sounds
- Fireplace sounds
- Forest sounds
- Country sounds
- Ocean sounds
- Rain sounds
- River sounds
- Thunderstorm sounds
- White noise
The one downside is that these sounds only last an hour. So if that isn't long enough to help you fall asleep (or you still have more work to do) you'll have to reactivate it. If that's a real issue, you could always find a longer track somewhere else and download it to play through your Google speaker.
When it comes to Amazon Echo and white noise your best bet is Prime Music (the free streaming service that comes with Amazon Prime). For a quick fix, CNET recommends saying, "Alexa, play Amazing Two Hour Midnight Thunderstorm on Prime Music," which is exactly what it sounds like.
You can also try searching through Prime Music for other options. Once you find something you like, just ask Alexa to play it. Then say "Alexa, loop" if you want to hear it on repeat.
Alternatively, you could enable a third-party white noise skill for your Alexa speaker. Sleep Sounds has dozens of options to choose from and it loops automatically, though you can also set it to play for a specific amount of time if you prefer.
Apple's HomePod won't launch until February 9, but we already have a pretty clear idea of what to expect from the Siri-powered speaker.
Your best shot at hearing some white noise on the HomePod is to head into Apple Music. The streaming service has plenty of ambient tracks to choose from, ranging from static to nature sounds to waves. Just open Apple Music and search for "white noise". Pick the tracks you like and create a playlist. Then, when you're going to bed or need background sound to work, the audio will be ready to go.