The trickiest part about a voice-based assistant is knowing exactly what you can ask it. While you can always say to Google Home "What can I ask you?" or check out the Things to Ask section of the Google Home app in order to get some suggestions, it can be tough to figure out which of those commands are actually useful.
Never fear. We've rounded up some of the handiest things you can ask your Google Assistant, both for features that are built right in as well as those offered by third parties through Google's growing ecosystem.
Looking for that perfect mood music? Google Home can play tunes from six music services: Google Play Music, YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn and iHeartRadio. Just say "OK, Google, play some jazz" or "Hey, Google, play AC/DC on Google Play Music," and Google Home will start playing the tunes of your choice. (To link with YouTube Music or Spotify, you'll need a premium account, while Google Play Music and Pandora offer only radio features without a premium account.)
If your house is equipped with smart lights, such as those from Philips or Belkin WeMo, you can turn them on or off with nothing more than Google Home and the power of your voice. Of course you can say, "Turn on bedroom" and "Turn off office," but those are just the basics; you can also say, "Dim the office lamp" or "Brighten the living room" or "Set the bedroom lights to 50 percent." And, even better, if you've got lights that support changing colors, you can even say, "OK, Google, turn the desk lamp green."
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Wouldn't it be great if you could just say the name of the show you want to watch and have it pop up on your TV? If you've got a Chromecast or a TV with a built-in Chromecast, you can do just that by linking your Netflix account in the Home app. Then you'll be able to say, "OK, Google, play 'The Crown' on Netflix" or "Hey, Google, watch 'Travelers' on TV" and have the show cued up for you. You can even use Google Home to pause, play, skip to the next episode and turn on subtitles.
When you're huddled beneath a blanket on the couch in the dead of winter, you don't even want to get up and go to the thermostat. If you've got a smart thermostat, such as a Nest or a supported Honeywell, you can adjust the temperature with Google Home. Once you've configured the two to work together, you'll be able to say, "OK, Google, set the heat to 70 degrees or "Hey, Google, raise the temperature 2 degrees." You can also set the thermostat for a specific room, or even just ask what the current temperature is set to.
If you're like me, you sometimes put things you don't want to lose in the perfect place — and then you forget where that place is. Next time, just ask Google Assistant to keep track of them. Say, "OK, Google, remember that I hid my passport in the hollowed-out Bible," and Google Home will remember for you. Then, when you've inevitably forgotten where it is, simply ask where your passport is and it'll tell you. You can even ask what you've asked Google Home to remember, in case you're even having trouble with that.
s a friend or family member coming in on a flight? You can check on the status of that person's plane if you don't have your smartphone or computer handy. Just ask Google, "What's the status of Alaska Flight 15?" or "When does Delta 639 arrive?" to get a quick answer to your question — no typing required.
It may seem like video killed the radio star, but Google Home can still handle your old-school media. Just say, "OK, Google, play KQED" or "Hey, Google, play 90.9," and it will start streaming that radio station for you. Sure beats fiddling with that old tuner knob.