Google Assistant is everywhere. From Android handsets, to hundreds of smart home accessories including Google Home, it's becoming embedded in our workplaces and abodes. But how do you get the most from Google Assistant? Here are our top ten 10 tips, hacks and tricks for a better experience with Google Assistant.
#1 Start with preferences
It's tempting to just dive in when you get a new piece of tech but it's worth spending some time looking at and adjusting settings so you get the most from your device on day one.
From the Google Home app go to preferences and adjust the Assistant voice to one that's more to your liking. Also, make sure you've set your units of measure to local ones so you get Celsius rather than Fahrenheit for temperature.
It's also worth popping in to More settings so you can choose your default music source for when you call out "OK Google" or "Hey Google" and ask for tunes to be played.
And, if you have any Chromecast enabled or connected devices, make sure you set those up as well so you're ready to go as soon as possible.
#2 Get Multi User Happening
If you share your household, it's worth adding extra users with Voice Match so Google Assistant is tuned to each person's preferences. Each user will need to go to the Google Home app on their smartphone and add a voice recording so Google Assistant can recognise each of the people.
The service supports up to six people - which is a bummer in my seven-person household.
#3 Stay Organised
Most days, I start things off with a scan of my schedule and to do list. But if you say “Hey Google, Good Morning”, it will scan your schedule and let you know what's in store before you've opened your eyes and dealt with pain of getting out of bed. This does require that you're using Google Calendar.
#4 The Shazam Smasher
“Ok Google, identify this song”. It's simple, and works. Invoking that simple incantation will tell what the song name is, the artist and store the list chronologically so you can create a playlist laster. It's simple and helps you discover new artists and songs you might otherwise miss or forget.
#5 Don't Forget the Eggs
Each week, I do the shopping from a paper list my wife and I put together as we run out of things or do our weekly meal planning. With Google Assistant, I can just say “Ok Google, add sausages, milk, and yoghurt to my shopping list".
The items are added to my list and I can look at by saying “Hey Google, show my shopping list”.
#6 Clean Up Your History
Google Home devices store a record of your activity so you can look back at what's been asked. You can review that history and delete any recordings made by Google Home.
If you want to delete data from Google Home, there are instructions here. Go to the Your privacy tab and scroll down to How do I delete my search / location / history?. That will direct you to Google's >My Activity page.
#7 Custom Routines
You can create your own automated workflows that can be activated by Google Assistant. For example, if you've automated the lighting, blinds or curtains, and TV you can create a "Watch a Movie" workflow that dims the lights, closes the curtains and fires up the home theatre system so you can settle into a movie without having to manually control or order each device separately.
To create a routine, open the Assistant settings and scroll down to Routines. Create a trigger phrase and add the commands you want executed.
#8 Smarter reminders
There are times when I want to buy something from a specific place but forget what I want once I'm near that store. Google Asistant can use your location to remind you when you're near a specific place.
For example, if you wanted to try a specific item on a local restaurant menu, or need to buy a new book from your favourite bookstore, you can have Google remind you when you're near those places.
#9 Quicker Selfies
While you can activate the camera on your smartphone manually to take a picture, saying "OK Google, take a selfie," will allow Google Assistant to instantly open the camera app and start a 3-second countdown.
That's enough time to put your arm out and make a duckface to share with the world.
#10 Currency And Unit Conversions
I spend a lot of time travelling and chatting to people across the world. Being able to do conversions quickly is a real time saver. Checking the price of something you're purchasing from overseas or planning a trip just got a little easier.