10 Google Assistant Tricks You Should Be Using

10 Google Assistant Tricks You Should Be Using
Image: Google

Google Assistant is everywhere. From Android handsets, to hundreds of smart home accessories including Google Home, it’s become embedded in our workplaces and abodes. Get the most out of your Google Assistant by following out top 10 tips.

#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.

Image: Getty Images

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.

This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • How do you change the voice. I’ve followed the instructions online and assistant voice is missing from where the instructions say it should be. I just assumed it was another thing not available in Australia.

    • I also can’t find it appearing in the assistant preference but after a search I think it’s only available when you have your phone language set to English (US). I think.

  • the problem with #5 is the other end of the situation, using the shopping list when at the shops is just a terrible experience compared to apps like Our Groceries (though im trying to find a better one than that)

    • Yeah agreed. It’s a browser based app that is clunky as….You used to be able to get it to save to your Google Keep app shopping list……These lists are generally shared between couples who compile a shopping list together, but where one person might only do the shopping. Surely Google can get their heads around this concept. Google really needs to lift its game with these kinds of things, and start listening to user feedback and requests. I thought Google collected data from its forums? hmmmm

      • The main problem is there are only 4 things that Google make that are not half baked, their search engine, Gmail, chrome and YouTube (but YouTube wasn’t theirs and Google video sucked, and chrome has help from chromium). Even as a recent convert to Android, it’s still only half baked not that iOS is really any better)

      • I’m aware this is an old comment, but things have now changed and you can change your preferences too go back to using keep.
        My wife and I share a shopping list on keep and we can both see and add to it via assistant.
        There are some other options too, like Bring and Any.Do

  • Assistant Tricks; Google phones and now most Android blew it away with one simple command whilst driving…. “Hey Google, text Mum” .

    Google has blown away the social texting we so love to do whist driving. Never ever ever do I touch the my Pixel phone in the car. I, all but laugh when I see the texters having a go. Oh why oh why. If there are any losers it is the cops because we have all learnt ( or will) dancing our fingers over the phone is irritating.

    Same too for Hey Google call Mum, email mum, everything except using fingers and causing a road accident.

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