Let’s face it, virtual assistants, A.I., and smart homes are here to stay and the fact of the matter is, they generally make life a bit easier. Or at least a little more enjoyable.
I’ve always been a bit slow to adopt new technology or even watch new shows, and as such, my wife and I only recently started using Alexa devices to turn on our lights. Yeah, I know, “get with the times, Matthew.”
Recently, I was out in Tennessee with my “Into the Geekverse” co-host, David King, and he had his entire place hooked up with Google Home — lights, TVs, cameras… the whole shebang. Well, it got me wondering what the unknown (to me) cool features it offered and if it might be something we want to switch over to.
Since I hate to waste anything, I figured why not share my findings with you. So, take a minute to check out some of the cool features of Google Home.
From the Sonos One to Nest Hub Max, Google Assistant lives inside more devices than ever before. Some of the devices provide screens for internet and camera interaction, while others are built to provide excellent audio. However, one feature unites them all — compatibility with the Google ecosystem.
There are several basic skills that you should be aware of:
- Schedule management – Just say, “Okay Google, add an event called ‘Call Realtors in Dallas, Tx on Thursday at 9 am.’”
- Alarms, reminders, & timers – Just say “Okay Google, set a timer for 10 minutes.”
- Web search – from finding a local restaurant to current news, the assistant will search the web to find the answers you’re looking for.
- Smart home controller – from your thermostat and lightbulbs to smart ovens and watering systems, you can control a nice array of connected tech. Just make sure the smart device is Google Home compatible.
Okay, those three are indeed as basic as they come. Now, let’s look at some of the cooler features.
Google Home Cool Features
If you own a device and haven’t already done so, you simply have to ask it to tell you a joke. Some are Dad jokes, some are awful, and some are indeed downright funny.
If you have a Chromecast or a Smart TV with Google TV, you can use it as a remote control. Simply set up your devices and just say something like, “Okay Google, play ‘House of the Dragon’ on living room TV” and if you have HBO Max, your show will start without you lifting a finger.
Relax with the sounds of a thunderstorm or any of the 13 other ambient sounds available just by saying, “Okay Google, help me relax.”
Want to call the kids to dinner without yelling across the house? Just say, “Okay Google, tell everyone it’s dinner time” and your announcement will be broadcast on every speaker and smart display that you have connected. You can also have the announcement play in a single room with a command like, “Okay Google, broadcast to the game room, dinner is ready.”
You can play a number of games by saying “Okay Google, let’s play a game.” Smart speakers will let you play voice-based games and if your Home device has a screen, you can swipe to choose from a variety of interactive games.
Have a guest that speaks a different language? Just say, “Okay Google, be my Spanish interpreter.” Google Assistant will beep in response and then you and your guest can speak freely and it will translate from Spanish to English and vice versa.
Stop losing your keys and other important items. Simply say something like, “Okay Google, remember that my glasses are on my head” and when you need to know where they are, just ask.
Of course, there are quite a few other features and perhaps I’ll come back and do a definitive list down the road, but these were some of the coolest ones I found on initial investigation. If you’re thinking about getting one or you already have a Google Home setup, the above features could come in handy. Or at least let you have a little fun.