The Google Home speaker finally went on sale in the UK in April and while it’s a neat little smart speaker, it has some catching up to do. The Amazon Echo has already managed to garner more than 10,000 skills and the Home has very few. While the search giant works with developers to build up its selection, there are still some very useful things you can do with the smart speaker. Here’s a selection of what we think are the best.
Cast music and video to other devices
One of the big draws for Google Home is the ability to use voice control on Chromecast and Chromecast Audio devices. You can stream music from your phone over Wi-Fi from a variety of Chromecast-enabled audio apps Google Play Music, Spotify and TuneIn.
Control your home
Home automation is one of the connected speaker’s main skills, and it’ll enable you to control a variety of smart home devices with your voice, including Nest, Honeywell and Tado smart thermostats, Philips Hue lights and Samsung SmartThings products. Something as simple as "Turn on the heat" can warm the house when it starts feeling a little fresh inside the house.
Settle an argument
Sometimes the fairest way to make a decision or settle an argument is with the simple flip of a coin. Home can produce an electronic coin flip with the words "Hey Google, flip a coin." If you want to complicate things a bit more, you can say "Hey Google, roll a die" or go one step further with "Hey Google, roll a 12-sided die."
Be at one with the Force
As you’d expect from any self-respecting assistive gadget, there’s a selection of Star Wars-based Easter eggs on offer including, "Hey Google, these are not the droids you’re looking for", "Hey Google, aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?" and "Hey Google, who shot first?".
Tune an instrument
Tuning your guitar just got a whole lot easier. Rather than fiddling around with an electric tuner or app, just say "Hey Google, tune my instrument" or you can ask for a specific note, for example, "Hey Google, play an B flat".
Sort your life out
Google Home gets to know you based on your daily travel and activities and saying "Hey Google tell me about my day" will fire up a curated update for you including the weather, traffic on your usual travel route and any appointments you have in the diary.
Play a game
The game selection is pretty thin on the ground at the moment, but expect more to be added as third-party ‘services’ join the party. For now, try "Hey Google, Mad Libs", "Hey Google, play Lucky Trivia" or "Hey Google, Crystal Ball"
Not a Star Wars fan? No bother. Google Home has plenty of other sci-fi-related Easter eggs to try out including "Hey Google, are you SkyNet?", "Hey Google, set phasers to kill" or "Hey Google, do you like Star Trek or Star Wars?". And of course, the ultimate question – "Hey Google, what is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?".
Tap into Google search
Probably one of the Home’s biggest advantages over the Bing search-based Amazon Echo is its ability to tap into Google’s superior search engine, complete with Maps, Translate and more. You can ask a vast range of questions from "Hey Google, how many species of shark are there?" and "Hey Google, how do I say ‘happy birthday’ in Spanish?" to "Hey Google, what is 7 x 350?" and even "Hey Google, how is GoPro’s stock?".
Get Google Home to sing
If you can’t decide what listen music to listen to, you can have a little fun with Home. Just say "Hey Google, sing a song" and see what you get. Alternatively, try "Hey Google, can you rap?", "Hey Google, drop a beat" or "Hey Google, beatbox".
You don’t need to talk posh
Unlike some voice-control services, Google Home has been specifically developed to understand the UK’s many regional accents so you shouldn’t need to adjust your speaking voice to make yourself understood.
Get the news that’s most relevant to you
Rather than being stuck with American news sources, Google Home offers access to a number of outlets closer to home, including the BBC, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Financial Times, The Sun, The Economist, Sky News and Sky Sports.
Play with animal sounds
With what could be a useful educational tool or just something to keep the kids occupied for a while, Google Home lets you play with animals noises. You simply have to ask "Hey Google, what noise does a dog/cow/hippo make?".
Indulge your inner film buff
Google has plenty of film-related Easter eggs on offer – just try chucking some of the best-known film quotes at it and see what happens. Kick things off with "Hey Google, who you gonna call?", "Hey Google, party on, Wayne!", and "Hey Google, always be closing."
Google Home can recognise when you’re asking a follow-on question, so that you don’t have to keep saying "Hey Google" for related queries. For example if you asked "Hey Google, where is the nearest off-licence", followed by "when does it close", it’ll know exactly what you’re referring to.
If you get seriously bored, you can try and strike up a sort-of conversation with Google Home, kicking off with "Hey Google, I’m bored". Try digging a little deeper with questions like "Hey Google, what are you afraid of?", "Hey Google, what am I thinking right now?" or "Hey Google, do you want to take over the world?". You can also try out some British phrases like "Hey Google, Bob’s your uncle".
Try out some tech references
It’s also worth trying out some techie questions from straightforward stuff like "Hey Google, what are the three laws of robotics?" and "Hey Google, are you friends with Alexa?" to "Hey Google, do you speak Morse code?".
Talk like a gamer
You’ll also find a few Easter eggs for gamers including "Hey Google, up up down down left right left right B A Start", "Hey Google, is the cake a lie?" and the classic "Hey Google, all your base are belong to us".
Stuck for things to do? Get straight to the point and ask "Hey Google, what are your Easter eggs?".
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