Alphabet is a large technology company that is essentially a holding company of Google and other companies held by the giant search engine. Some companies that are under Alphabet are Google the search engine, Nest and products, and Google Fibre.
With over 100,000 employees and revenue upwards of 130 billion dollars in 2018 it is a giant of a company.
But there are also many other important products developed by this company. Before Google was mainly focused on virtual and online products. However, they have demonstrated their ability to jump into the physical product realm.
It is quite hard to mention the entire list because Alphabet covers many companies and products, and in this article, we are going to be focused on the Google Home, Mini, & Max. You can also use the Google Nest Hub, which is a version of the voice assistant, but with a tablet screen as well. Many people and potential customers most likely already know about these products.
This product doesn’t come without its controversy. What snippets of audio are recorded, where are they stored, false recordings when the Home might think you said “Hey Google”, and so forth. More can be read on this topic in our in-depth privacy concern article. We take a look at Home Assistant, Alexa, Facebook, and a couple of others. Look into some of the hype and what privacy we might give up when having these in our life.
All this aside, one of the larger innovations from the company have been the Google Home and assistant. Coming in a variety of sizes and price ranges, it is a smart speaker that talks and records, umm I mean listen to you when you say “Hey Google”. Although it does record your interactions when you begin by saying “Hey Google”. You can check out these recordings of you and your family by going to history.google.com. Here you can see an abundance of information, as well as the recordings used to interact with Google. You can delete them here, just keep in mind Google’s Deletion policy, as some items take a few months to fully delete off their server.
Those who have already used it are aware of the different opportunities it provides. It is made with an intention to serve smart homes, answer questions, and interact with.
It means you could manage and operate all smart devices in your house just by using this intelligent application. You can control all of them from one single place, thanks to this software, and you can have it installed on your phone. It enables you, for example, to turn on and off all the lights in your house even if you are not in the room.
The application can also help you to control your home while you are away. Google Home can help you to monitor your home with a camera inside, so you always know what is happening. You can ask Google Home questions and multi-functional commands. For example, saying “Hey Google, play classic rock on the kitchen speaker”. Will trigger your connected speakers in the kitchen to start playing classic rock. But this is just a small tip of the iceberg because this application can do many more things.
Some of the features are quite discreet and hidden, so many are unaware of them. This can include even long-time users. As some of us tend to use what we know and keep it simple. But the fact is there are actually a ton of easter eggs so to speak of features that Google Home and Assistant can do. In the article below, you will find some things you might not have known your Google Home can do.
Turn on Your TV… And Xbox
Yes, that’s right you can tell your Google Home to turn your TV on. Not only that you can tell it to throw on the newest bunny videos or play some Netflix flick.
This one will actually require an additional piece of hardware, the Chromecast. You may already have a couple of these setup throughout your house and if not they are relatively cheap starting out at $45.
Your TV will need to support CEC (consumer electronics control). Most newer television support this command. You can search in your TV’s settings to ensure it’s enabled.
There are different names for this command depending on the manufacturers. Here’s a list of the popular ones.
- AOC: E-link
- Hitachi: HDMI-CEC
- LG: SimpLink or SIMPLINK
- Mitsubishi: NetCommand for HDMI
- Onkyo: RIHD (Remote Interactive over HDMI)
- Panasonic: HDAVI Control, EZ-Sync, or VIERA Link
- Philips: EasyLink
- Pioneer: Kuro Link
- Runco International: RuncoLink
- Samsung: Anynet+
- Sharp: Aquos Link
- Sony: BRAVIA Sync
- Toshiba: CE-Link or Regza Link
- Vizio: CEC
If you are unsure what Chromecast is, it is a video module that plugs into your HDMI port on your TV. you can then cast video and audio from your phone, computer, or tablet.
After you have set up or if you already have set up your Chromecast and Google Home, take note of the name you gave your Chromcast device. Now you can turn your TV on 2 ways.
One you simply go to your phone and select a video and press the cast button. If your Chromecast is on it will trigger your TV to turn on.
The other way, you can say to you Google Home something along the lines of “Hey Google play Stranger Things on [insert your Chromecast name]”. As of recent updates, you can also tell Google Home to turn our TV on and off.
Also, you can use your Google Home with your Xbox One. You simply just need to add your Xbox One in the Google Home App.
- Join Microsoft’s Google Group using your Google Account..
- Now, in the Google Home app, tap + Add.
- Then press Set up device.
- Tap Have something already set up?.
- Search for Xbox.
- Sign in with the Microsoft account for Xbox.
- Follow the remaining on-screen prompts.
- And finally, provide a device name.
If you can’t find your Xbox device in Google Home, try to enable Digital Assistants setting in Xbox. Go to Settings -> Devices and Streaming -> Digital Assistants.
Your Xbox will now be linked with your Google Home Assistant and you can begin using commands. Below are the commands you can say, with more commands always being added.
- Hey Google, turn on Xbox.
- Hey Google, turn off Xbox.
- Hey Google, launch YouTube on Xbox.
- Hey Google, pause on Xbox.
- Hey Google, resume on Xbox.
- Hey Google, volume up on Xbox.
- Hey Google, take a screenshot on Xbox.
- Hey Google, play Black Ops 3 on Xbox.
Play a Game
Do you want to entertain yourself or pass some time? Playing a game is an excellent way to do just that if you feel bored or just killing time. Typically, people use different consoles such as PS4 or Xbox.
Many are not aware that Google Home also has a feature that stores an interesting quest game you can play in your free time. It allows you to answer various questions, which can be ranked from easy to hard.
The game might ask you to say the names of different celebrities, for example. Or it could ask you some related questions to history. Your task is to answer all of them correctly and win the game.
It can be a good way to entertain yourself, but the game can also help to test your knowledge and learn new things you might not have known. The game obviously won’t have the stimulus of a new action game, but remember this is just to test your knowledge and kill some time.
Find Appropriate Word Definition
Need a word definition? We have all experienced a situation where you may be reading come across a word you have no idea what it means. Or, perhaps you just can’t seem to remember. With over a million words the English language is full of mysterious and obscure words.
It is an international language that many through history have contributed to, so it can easily create confusion even for native speakers. You might not have known but Google Home can help in these situations. For example, if you need a definition for any particular word, you can simply ask Google.
You could create any questions related to this word. For instance you could say, “What does concomitant mean?” Google home will then provide you with a clean and understandable definition of that word. In this instance, the word means for one thing occurring with another in some relatable way.
This can be a useful tool for both native and non-native English speakers, respectively. They both can improve language knowledge while expanding their vocabulary. You know what they say, a word a day keeps the internet grammEr police away.
Finding My Lost Phone
If you’re like me, or my kids… Remotes seem to go missing, keys left in the fridge (seriously actually happen, don’t ask how), and any other item you need right now. It seems life can get hectic and sometimes we get distracted at the moment and when we get back to the thing we were doing we end up forgetting what the heck we were doing.
I know I have done this and when it happens with your phone it can end up sending a sense of loss and worry. Well fear no more, Google is here to help you out.
“Hey Google, ring my phone!”
Thanks to a new feature of Google Home you can find your phone even when on silence. It also will work with IOS phones by sending a ringtone like a call. By saying “find my phone” or “ring my phone? Google Home will set out to start the process. It will phone your number and send a ring tone so you can quickly find it.
If you happen to have multiple phones on your account it will send ring tones and cycle through the list of phones associated with your account.
No matter if you left your phone in another room or tuck under the couch cushion, it will start ringing.
What about if you’re not hearing the ring anywhere in your house and you happen to remember the last place you used it was somewhere else. Well if you have left your GPS and location history on you can actually track this down quite easily as well.
Simply go to the chrome browser and type in “find my phone”. Google will connect with your phone and you should see in the results page a map with the location of your phone. Mystery solved and you can go pick it up.
Google Home’s Memory & Reminders
Do you want to add something to your calendar or have something you need to remember for later? Many are not aware of the memory function the Google Home application has. This is a great feature because it further extends the usability of the product. It is typically used as a home assistant, but it can be a close ally too.
With Google Home, you won’t need to write down a reminder on a piece of paper. It is capable of remembering different things, and we can take the opportunity to quickly add reminders and dates. If you, for example, have an appointment, Google Home can remind you when the time comes.
You might need to water the garden or call someone, for this you can simply tell Google Home the time and what to remind you of.
In this day and age of hustle and bustle, it can be easy to forget some minor obligations or prior commitments. By setting a quick reminder on the way past your Google Home you can be notified. If your phone is signed into the same account you can also have your phone remind you.
Also, it is good to keep in mind that you can even ask Google pertaining to your schedule. For example, you can ask “Do I have any commitments for today?” Google Home will then respond regarding any previous notes or schedules you told it to remember.
Stressed, How About Some Relaxing Sounds?
Are you stressed? Are you overloaded? Just about to pull your hair out and want to find a hole to hide away in. Well maybe not that stressed, but everyone needs some alone time and time to just drift away from your worries.
Sometimes we can have so many things on the go on a daily basis that we forget how much even small things can compound together. It’s always a good idea to take some time and just relax. Well, your Google Home can help you out in this area as well.
It’s not life-changing by any means but could help when you are looking to just lay down and drift away. You can ask Google to play relaxing and soothing sounds.
You can select from a range of melodies and sounds that are preferable and will help you relax. Adjust the volume, lay on the couch, and take a moment to relive any built-up tensions or stress.
Set Routines With Yor Google Home
With this option, you can set up tasks and routines for Google Home to perform when you say something to. This could be especially handy for when you wake up or go to sleep.
For example, if you were to say “Hey Googe Good Morning”. You could have a routine set up for Google to reply with a list of activities you have planned for today or current stock prices or perhaps this morning’s news stories.
You will see this option when you open the Google Home app and select the house at the bottom. At the top, you should see “routines”. There you set up different routines to complete.
And yes you can integrate it with different functions. For example, at night time you could say “Goodnight Google” and in response, Google could shut off the lights and set your alarm.
Broadcast a Notice and Use as an Intercom
Want an intercom but don’t want to run the wires and buy the devices? Well, if you already have a Google home you already have that option. If you have only one you will need to use your phone to broadcast onto the Google Home device. Otherwise, if you have multiple devices throughout your home you can broadcast to all your speakers
This can be done by saying “Hey Google broadcast” it will than ask what you would like to say and you can say your message. It will then send a recording through all your connected speakers.
Prank, I mean, Pro Tip!
If you want to freak someone out at home, go into your Google Home Android app. Select broadcast, but instead of using your voice, type in what you’d like the Google Assistant to say. Just start thinking how you could freak out your loved ones, lol.
Some of the things you could do are announcing family meetings, bedtimes, wake-up calls, dinner calls, or anything else you can imagine. All in all, this is a really cool function you can do even for fun.
Some may ask, what if I want to broadcast to only one of my devices? This has yet to be implemented. But, there is a hack way of doing this. One would be to enable Night Mode on the devices you don’t want the message to go through. Then check settings that omit it from receiving broadcast. During this period the device should not broadcast any messages.
Walkie Talkie Mode
Google has introduced the ability to reply to broadcast messages. So once someone in another room or area receive the message they can tell Google “reply” with their message.
Note once the reply has been started only those 2 devices will broadcast the messages. This could be another way to stop broadcasting to all speakers. Of course, after the initial first message has been sent.
Speaking to Google Home In Different Languages
Currently Google Home supports 13 different languages. Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish, and Swedish.
As of the summer of 2019 Amazon Echo supported 7 languages. English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazilian), and Spanish.
And at the same time, Apple’s Siri supports the most at 21. Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish.
What this means is you can essentially talk with Google in your native tongue. Or perhaps, you want to practice your language skills. In addition, you can get on the spot translations.
You can say phrases such as:
- “Help me speak French.”
- “Translate German to English.”
- “Be my Swedish interpreter.”
- “Turn on interpreter mode.”
It will take a moment for the translation to come through so you’ll need to be patient. When you have completed or finished using the language interpreter you can just tell Google “quit”, “exit”, or “off”.
Hopefully, this article has shown some useful things you can do with your Google Home. As already mentioned, a lot of users may only utilize only the basic functions of the application. But after reading some of the tasks and abilities a voice assistant can do it can open a whole new gadget in a sense. Especially when there are so many features to explore.
Getting Netflix or the TV to ready while you’re grabbing your popcorn. Or, turning the Xbox and TV on so they are ready to start playing when you walk in the room.
When you’re bored, you could play the game and answer some trivia. You will entertain yourself while learning. Or perhaps you need a definition for a word, you can simply ask Google Home and receive the appropriate result in return.
If you happen to lose or misplace your phone Google Home can help to find it. Keep in mind, this feature was released with a recent update.
Google Home’s memory also provides us the ability to remember different things. This feature can be useful in various ways and for different types of users. People often live busy lives, so they are overloaded with different obligations. Occasionally, we can all forget certain tasks or appointments we have or should make.
You can also play relaxing melodies via the software. You can meditate while listening to these calming sounds. This can be a great way to escape some of the craziness in life.
We also touched on broadcasting as well. The ability to send out a broadcast to all your Google Homes. How to send messages using the voice of the assistant. And using the Google Home as a walkie talkie by using replies.
In our last topic, we mentioned how Google Home can be used with different languages. Whether you are wanting to practice, learn, or just get a translation the ability is there.
Google seems to be constantly updating and creating their products to extend its features. If you want to see the ongoing list of commands check out the command list article. In addition, we would love to hear any easter eggs you might have found using Google Home. Post them in the comments below. As always take care and thanks for reading.