The First 5 Things You Should Do With Your Google Home

Google Home devices are packed with features that will make your life easier.
Donovan Alexander

The global smart speaker market is expected to grow from USD 7.1 billion in 2020 to USD 15.6 billion by 2025. That is a lot of smart speakers. These smart devices are making their way into our homes and offices creating interconnected spaces that all can be controlled with a simple voice command. Perhaps, you have finally given in and picked up a smart speaker to see what all of the fuss is about. If you haven't bought an Amazon Alexa powered device, there is a good chance you have ordered a Google Nest device. 

So, you've had your new Google Nest delivered, unpacked it in earnest, and admired its smooth lines. Now, what? Turn it on. But, what should you do with it? 

What is Google Home?

google home device
Source: Y2kcrazyjoker4/Wikimedia

These smart speakers tend to be called either Google Nest devices or Google Home devices. However, it should be mentioned that Google Home technically refers to the "middle of the line smart speaker" created by Google. Nevertheless, we will be using them interchangeably throughout the article. 

With its seamless integration with Google services, Google Home assistants are a serious competitor to Amazon's Echo devices. Just like Amazon, there is a family of devices in various sizes you can choose from. You can purchase the Google Nest Mini (Google Home Mini), the entry-level home assistant, the Google Home, the Google Home Max, or one of the Google Nest Hubs, complete with a display. All of these devices are smart speakers and can work with each other. 

They can be the perfect desk-side companion for those who love all things Google. Use Google Home Max's impressive sound quality to blow away guests at your next party. Google Nest can operate as a kitchen hub, helping you perfect your latest recipe. Or, use Google Home Mini from your bedside to control all your smart appliances throughout your home. Using simple voice commands you can unlock tons of information, allowing your smart devices to do almost anything. This would literally be viewed as magic to our ancestors. What a great time to be alive! 

What does a Google Home Mini do?

what does google home do
Source: Google

Let's start with this entry-level Google Home device, as it is some of the most popular in the company's smart assistant family, with a price point that is accessible to just about everyone. Similar to the other devices, in the family, the Google Home Mini is packed with features, all accessible via voice command. There are some general Google home tricks that you should be aware of while at home. 

First, like any smart speaker, you can add a host of "google home hub apps" to the device using another smart mobile smart device. You can stream music, your favorite podcasts, sports, and the news. However, that is just the beginning. There are tons of Google Home Mini features. You can order food, get directions, play games, do shopping, and of course control other appliances with it. All Google Home devices share these features.  Yet, if you are not sure about Google smart speakers, start with the Mini. It might be small but the sound quality will surprise you. 

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How to use Google Home Mini?

say hey google
Source: Google

There are 5000 apps compatible with your Google Home device. Uber, HBOMax, Costco, and Youtube can all be accessed with your Google Home commands. Similar to the other devices in the Google Home family. You simply take the smart speaker out of its box, plug it in, download the Google Home app, and connect the Google Home Mini to the Wifi. Once you're situated, you can connect your favorite apps to the device using your app. From there, you will be able to control everything with a voice command. 

google home app
Source: Google

You can wake up your Google Home easily. You address it by saying "Hey Google" or "OK Google".  However, these commands are no longer required to interact with your Google Home.

As you can expect, there is a long list of abilities Google Home will allow you to perform. Here are our suggestions for the first five things you should do with your Google Home.

Google promises continuous updates to its system, so don't be surprised if your home appears to be getting smarter.

1. Set up your "If this then that" (IFTTT) recipe

IFTTT what now? This web-based service allows you to make a chain of conditional statements for applets. These conditions activate applets based on changes to other web services such as Gmail, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. It runs much like conditional events on databases, code, or excel spreadsheets.

This is a powerful integration for Google Home and Google Assistant as a whole. With IFTTT, you can immediately connect your Google Home to a number of other services, smart home products, and more. There is a whole suite of applets available to allow you to do some cool stuff. This includes services such as calling your smartphone, taking notes on google docs, and posting to Facebook by voice.

Another practical use of IFTTT is the ability to track down your phone. With this recipe, you can ask Google Home to find your phone and call it. You have to verify your phone and a couple of other steps, but it's worth the effort.

2. Connect your Netflix account and get full control of your favorite shows 

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Got Netflix? Why not link it to your Google Home? Summon your favorite TV shows and movies through the power of your voice. Connect it to Chromecast or Google Cast device and get on with it.

To do this, open your Google Home app, head over to the Google Assistant Settings, and scroll down to "videos and photos." You can link your Netflix account to your Google Home right there. Once linked, simply command Google Assistant to play a movie from Netflix on whichever Google Cast device you have linked. 

3. Welcome to your future smart home

Did you know you can use your Google Home as a smart control hub for your home? Of course, you did, that's one of the reasons you bought it, right? Then let's get down to it!

To do this, you'll need to connect supported devices through the "Home" app. To date, Samsung SmartThings, Philips Hue, and Nest all work with Google Home. Head over the Google Home app, go to Assistant Settings, and tap the "Add new devices" button. From here you can select the service of your choice

4. Never miss a major news story

google discover
Source: Google

Wouldn't it be nice to have a customized news channel specific to your interests? Don't care about the markets? Don't include it. Not interested in "So and so's Got Talent"? Leave it out of the entertainment feed.

Google Home allows you to customize your very own "morning report" or "news briefing." Once set up, you can ask Google Home to tell you news every day. It can pull audio streams from a number of different sources, which are also customizable. To get this up and running, once again head over your Google Home App, go to the "News" setting in Google Assistant, and select your preferred sources.

Examples include Tech News Today, BBC, ESPN, and more. To activate this, ask Google Home "Ok Google, Listen to the news." To end the broadcast, say “OK Google stop” or tap on the top of the Home.

5. Turn your home into the ultimate dance club 

Another big selling point for this device is its music capabilities. You can either play directly through the pretty decent built-in speaker or cast audio to your TV or dedicated speakers using Chromecast or Chromecast Audio.

You'll need to link to either Google Play Music, Youtube Music, Spotify, or Pandora to do this. If you're already signed up for any one of them then Google Home will automatically work with it. As before, head over to your Google Home App and click on Google Assistant Settings. Select "Music" and from there, link any of them you like. You can even set your default preferred service, which can be changed at any time - talk about handy.

As Google Cast is now built directly into Chrome, it will enable you to replace your existing speakers for your music or podcast playback. You'll be able to "cast" the stream to your home device so make sure you give it a distinct name.

Even better, the music keeps playing without the need to touch your phone. Just tap the top of the home to pause, or say “OK Google stop” to make things quiet again.

If you are still trying to decide between Google Home and Echo, be sure to stop here.

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