Introduced in May 2016, Google Home is the entry of the tech giant Google in the realm of smart home automation. This device is a type of smart speaker that will respond to voice prompts and commands. At the core of this technology is an artificial intelligence called Google Assistant, which acts as a sort of personal helper.
This device is more than meets the eye. It is designed to be the centrepiece of your smart home. With the power of your voice, you can control smart appliances, play music, and receive timely news updates. Because of its versatility, we take a look at the various ways Google Home and Google Assistant can help improve your way of living from work, play and rest.
How Can Google Home Help You Play and Have Fun
Google Home may have minimal physical controls, but that doesn’t mean its potential for fun is non-existent. Several Google Home games will provide you with unlimited fun when you wish to take a break from work. This device also helps manage other smart appliances in your home for your convenience.
Fun and Games
Google Assistant knows how to take a break, and it maximises its listening skills to offer you various challenges. We take a look at some of the popular Google Home games you can play.
Akinator (highly recommended)
Google Assistant fulfils the role of a genie with the Google Home game Akinator. The genie character will guess if a character is fictional or real. Then a series of yes and no questions will be asked, and the challenge is to stump the genie until you find the right answer.
We love this Game, so we really suggest giving it a try!
We tested with Eddy Murphy, Princess Jasmin, Peppa Pig, Rihanna, actor David Jason and it got them all correct! Quite brilliant.
This may require a display device but who would have thought that a voice-powered software would be able to deploy a role-playing game (RPG)? 6 Swords is just that (almost, kind of). It is a game that lets players explore medieval spaces such as castles, dungeons, taverns and towns through six characters. They grow stronger with every challenge faced, more like a modernised re-imagining of Dungeons and Dragons. The adventure is long, and you may need to invest time to finish the game.
Absolutely Amazing Trivia
For some family fun and brain sharpening challenges, this game is a favourite for Google Home users. Covering a wide variety of topics, compete with family and friends for bragging rights about who has the most stock knowledge in the group.
Sound Pet (US Only)
Tamagotchi became a 90’s craze for good reason. It gave children a virtual pet they can care for, feed, play with, clean up after and cherish. The Tamagotchi may be a trivia at this point, but the concept has been immortalized with the Google Home game ‘Sound Pet’. You will only need to use sounds and audio cues to make your pet love you. Google Assistant will train you how best to take care of your pet, from feeding to playtime.
Test your listening abilities by playing Mystery Sounds. Google Home will play an audio clip and players will guess what it is. Right answers get corresponding points!
Here is a party game that can help showcase Google Home to your friends. Freeze Dance is a game that will start by playing music then it will suddenly prompt everyone to freeze. The voice cue from Google Assistant will then provide directions, rules and instruct the players on what silly moves to do. It gets everybody involved and moving at the party as a reliable icebreaker!
Imaginary Tic Tac Toe (or Noughts & Crosses)
This version of Tic Tac Toe has no board to visualise, so using just voice commands can be challenging. But still, it’s a great classic so give it a try.
Never Have I Ever
Google Assistant can be quite the life of the party when it comes to gatherings. Try the game “Never Have I Ever” to spark excitement among your friends and families. Google Home will ask everyone “Never have I ever…” and then it will fill the blanks with an activity or guilty pleasure. It can be a good way for people to really get to know each other.
Dustin from Stranger Things
This Google Home game is for fans of the television show Stranger Things. Google Assistant will play the role of Dustin from the series, and the device will act as a walkie talkie to provide crucial direction to the characters of the show about their adventures during season two.
Powered with the cue “OK Google, Play Songpop,” you can enjoy the port of this popular game for Google Home. You can pick your genre then Google Assistant will select a part of the song to play. The challenge is to guess it. The game can go on for hours, providing an excellent distraction during parties.
This is the classic card game with a technological twist. The name of the game is to get to 21 without busting. Google Assistant will play the role of the dealer and will provide you instructions on what cards you have on hand.
How Can Google Home and Assistant Help You Work and Be More Productive
Google Home can help facilitate office-related tasks with the help of your voice. Google Assistant responds to voice search, voice commands and voice-activated device control. Its functions are intuitive because you will feel you are simply having a conversation with someone (almost, kind of). This has been made possible with the Continued Conversations update. The smart speaker doesn’t require a trigger sentence to listen for follow-up commands. A major advantage of Google Assistant is its recognition of multiple commands at once. The capability of context helps Google Assistant interact with you in an intelligent manner, establishing its role as an efficient partner for work tasks. We take a look at the various functions that you can perform with Google Home while in your office.
Behind the powerful search database of Google, you can find a wealth of information online just by asking Google Assistant. Whether it’s weather updates or the latest news, information is at your beck and call.
Google Assistant can also read your notifications for you if you are occupied with work and have no time to browse through your smartphone.
Google Home also has a new Interpreter mode that began in 2019, specifically designed for easier translations of foreign languages. Google Assistant can spark several conversations with you using dozens of languages if you wish to practice. Simply command:
“Hey Google, be my German interpreter”
and this will promptly start the Interpreter Mode. If you are using a Smart display, the written translation will also be shown.
Google Assistant can effectively run timers and reminders to help keep you updated about things you need to accomplish. It can help you create a to-do list and guide you every step of the way. Moreover, Google has also integrated support for Any.do, Bring!, Todoist and Google Keep so that Google Assistant can help check your existing task lists and notes.
At work, it may be challenging to keep up with appointments and meetings. Google Home can help manage your calendar to update you about things you may be missing continually.
You can even use your Google Home device as a sort of Pomodoro Timer to help you switch between intense bouts of work interspersed with brief periods of rest and relaxation. Google Assistant will help prompt you if it’s time to work or time to rest. It will also alert you to how much time left you have with each task.
Google Assistant can smartly sort through your pile of unread email and spam, organising the messages that you need and those that need to go straight to the trash bin. For more effective handling of your inbox, your virtual assistant can craft auto-replies for simple emails. For an Android device, Google Assistant can read back and reply to various notifications.
Google Assistant can also work well with mainstream messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, Telegram and Android Messages.
If your work requires a lot of travelling and field exposure, your Google Home can serve as a reliable compass and reference all rolled into one. Drawing from the strength of Google Maps, you can easily find your way from your origin to your destination.
To further improve your experience, Google Assistant can help share your estimated time of arrival (ETA) to your loved ones, find landmarks near your destination, or add a new stop in Google Maps. Simply command: “Hey Google, take me home”, and Google Assistant will open Google Maps.
Other navigational features that Google Home can assist you with is online flight check-ins, a feature that started with domestic United Airlines flights. This smart speaker can also help you book a room by contacting partners such as Accor hotels, Expedia, Mirai, Travelclick, Priceline and Choice Hotels.
How Can Google Home Help you Rest, Relax and Sleep
What good is a smart speaker if it can’t play honest-to-goodness music? Setting up Google Home is easy and can give you unprecedented access to music playback. If you have your own music collection on your phone, you can connect Google Home via Bluetooth to act as an external speaker.
But if you have a song in mind that is available especially new releases, you can give voice instructions to Google Assistant to find the song you want to hear. Google Home will then select from a variety of available streaming services such as Google Play Music, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube. If one of these services has become your favourite, you can select it as a default music source, and Google Home will remember your preferences.
The options are endless. If you are not satisfied with the serviceable audio quality of Google Home, you can direct its sound through a Chromecast-enabled TV or a Bluetooth connection to a more powerful sound output device.
Moreover, Google Assistant can play your favourite TV shows through streaming services such as HBO Now, Netflix and Roku. During the I/O event, LG showcased several television units with Google Assistant integration. Gone are the days when you have to rely on a remote control button; it’s now operable with just a voice command.
For music streaming, Spotify is still one of the most popular choices for your ear candy needs. To turn up the volume, simply swipe clockwise on the top of the device. Do this counterclockwise to turn down the volume. For a request, press and hold the device or use your voice.
Set up Spotify as default music service
If you need to set up Spotify as the default music in the Google Home app for easier management, connect online and see the top right corner of the Home screen. Tap ‘Devices’ and scroll to find the device card for Google Home. This is where you can find pertinent information about the music session such as the artist, song, album and provider.
To set Spotify as the default music provider for Google Home, go to the App and verify that the Google Account linked to the Spotify account is the one being used. Then tap the radio button on the left. You need to sign in with your account details.
Here are some useful voice commands you can deploy using Google Home:
• Hey Google, play music by the Beatles
• Hey Google, shuffle music from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
• Hey Google, pause the music.
• Hey Google, skip this song.
• Hey Google, what artist is playing right now?
• Hey Google, play music in my dining room.
Apart from music playback, Google Home can read aloud stories and texts. This is especially useful for bedtime storytelling, especially for children. There is the Storytime feature wherein Google Assistant will read stories from Nickelodeon and Disney. You can even integrate music and sound effects for livelier storytelling.
Some audibles feature celebrity voices reading the entire book. Your Google Home can also be a one-stop source of cooking instructions by providing recipe assistance. When you have difficulty catching up with each step, Google Assistant is there to guide you.
Google Home can learn Routines to help efficiently manage a smart home. By keeping tabs on your daily preferences, it can conveniently control multiple smart home devices with just a single command.
When it has learned a Routine, you can easily customise and add tasks to it such as playing podcasts, shuffling music playlists, notifying you of calendar milestones and controlling various smart appliances at home.
An example of these integrations would be Google Clock. Once an alarm has rung, it will activate a chain reaction of commands that will start your morning routine like playing a specific playlist, arranging the intensity of your lights and giving you the latest headlines for that morning.
The list of compatible devices with Google Home and Google Assistant have breached the 10,000 mark, and this can only mean more customizable routines in the future as you get familiar with the convenience of a smart home. It all starts with Google Home as the centrepiece of this smart home, masterfully coordinating and consolidating all smart devices and functionalities for you.
Improving the Quality of Life
It will only get better from here on out with Google Home and Google Assistant. The goal is to improve the quality of your daily life with expanding functions and interoperability. Google Assistant is already available for Google Pixel smartphones and most modern Android devices such as the wearable OS devices, Nvidia Shield, Android TV and Android Auto for cars.
While Google Assistant is built-in for Google Home smart speakers, it is also likewise supported in various third-party smart devices such as Philips Hue and Nest Smart Thermostat. With each passing day, Google Assistant is gaining presence everywhere, making it a viable choice as the central hub for smart home technology. Essentially, if a device has support for Android, it can accommodate Google Assistant.
Google Assistant can even respond when your Android phone is locked. You can also opt in to see answers to personal queries, a feature that is coming to Android devices t 2019. This artificial intelligence is also available on the iPhone, although there are still restrictions between the two rival tech giants.
Google Home introduced Google Assistant to the world at the baseline price of $130. There are a variety of options for different segments of consumers. There is the $50 package for the Google Home Mini that manages to squeeze all the features and functionalities in a smaller and affordable device. For those who like to go large, the $400 Google Home Max features a better speaker with a more premium sound. All of these will give you access to the might and magic of Google Assistant, the gateway to smart home technology today and tomorrow.