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3 fun things you can do with Google Home

By Adam Doud November 16, 2016, 10:30 am

Having a Google Home in the house isn’t necessarily the most life-changing thing in the world. It’s not like I can run faster, jump higher, or even add faster than I could before I got the Google Home. Which isn’t to say I regret the purchase – I don’t. In fact, having a Google Home isn’t really about making your life drastically better. Rather, I view it as being more in the category of having a smartwatch. Life is incrementally better, and I wouldn’t go back to not having one, but I’m no more handsome than I was two weeks ago. So, here are some of the things that Google Home can do that make life incrementally better.

google io 2016 Screenshot google home

Always on, always there

Like the concept of the smartwatch, Google Home is one of those omnipresent gadgets that is waiting in the wings to help you out. It’s not going to replace your smartphone, so much as it will enhance it, by taking its place from time to time. People are busy. There isn’t always time or extra hands to reach into your pocket and pull out your phone to find out how the commute to school is going to be. With Google Home, you can just ask the room – literally – while you’re packing kids’ lunches.

When you have time to grab your phone, go ahead and grab it. But if you’re in the middle of breakfast, and you want to know if you should get a coat, Google Home will be there to give you the day’s forecast. When you’re cooking and you want to set a timer without touching anything with your sauce-covered hands, Google Home is there. Its best characteristic is the fact that it’s always there, ready to step in when you need it, and ready to fade into the background when you don’t.

IFTTT Power!

IFTTT is one of those tools that I’ve tried to get into a couple of times, but never found a really good use for. Now with Google Home, there are some powerful things you can do with Google Assistant and IFTTT. You can do things like find your phone (by having Google Home call it) or Post to Facebook, Twitter, or Slack. There is a growing number of recipes available for IFTTT, many of which revolve around controlling your home’s IoT devices.

This is a great stopgap until Google comes out with full integration for these services. Personally, I’d rather Google focus on getting Netflix to work like it did in the Google Home demo, and in the meantime IFTTT can fill that gap nicely. Google Home can already control things like your Nest (duh) and Samsung SmartThings. IFTTT adds a whole new dimension to the Google Home that makes it a lot more functional with more services until Google can get caught up.

Hear your words

One last fun thing you can do with Google Home is go back and review the commands you’ve given it. This can be useful in that you can go back and hear where things may have gone wrong. For example, if you give a command and it isn’t able to help (which happens…a lot) you can go back and hear why it didn’t work. Google Home records all commands given to it, not just the ones that work. This can give you some insight into how you might need to enunciate better, or reduce background noise – which does affect Google Home’s ability to execute commands. But it can also be a fun way to go over the day’s activities. Plus, you know, data. Data is our friend.

So, that’s what I’ve discovered so far. How about you? Do you have a Google Home? What fun tricks have you uncovered in Google’s new assistant? Sound off in the comments with your tips and tricks that you have discovered with your new assistant. Have any questions? This is your chance to ask. Of course, stay tuned for our full review of Google Home coming soon. In the meantime, I’ll keep asking Google the weather daily, and of course, the kids will ask it to sing Happy Birthday several dozen times a day as well.


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