While Google Home is great at answering questions, setting timers and even playing music, its interaction with smart home gadgets is where the smart speaker really starts to shine.
But in order to get the most out of that home-automation capability, you need some smart home technology to control. While Google is still building out its smart home compatibility for the Home, here are some of the best smart home gadgets that work with Google Home right now.
Illustration: Tom's Guide; Google; Logitech
Right out of the box, you can set up your Philips Hue lights to work with your Google Home. There are a number of Philips Hue products, but the starter set that includes a hub and three White and Color Ambiance lights is the most versatile, since it supports different colors and color temperatures. For a simpler option, pick up the cheaper $70 two-bulb starter set, which doesn't do different colors, but still lets you set dimming levels.
One of the coolest features of Google Home is the ability to instruct it to play video on a connected device. For the easiest way to integrate it with your existing gear, pick up Google's Chromecast. The little puck-size device connects to your HDTV via an HDMI cable and to your home network via Wi-Fi. Once you've hooked it up, you can, say, tell Google Home to play "Travelers" via Netflix on your Chromecast, and it'll start it right up for you. There are also audio-only and 4K versions of the Chromecast, depending on your needs.
One of the easier and cheaper ways to automate your home equipment, the Wemo Insight Smart Plug can be inserted into a standard power outlet. Then you can plug all sorts of devices into the WemO, whether it's a table lamp or a fan. Using the Wemo app, you can then set up schedules for that device to turn on or off at specific times. The Insight Plug can also be triggered by voice using Google Home, and gives you information about how much power is consumed.
MORE: Best Smart Plugs
Too hot? Too cold? Instead of getting up to tweak the thermostat, use Google Home to control your Nest Learning Thermostat. You can ask the assistant what the current temperature is and what the thermostat is set to, and even make it warmer or cooler by specifying a number of degrees, a specific temperature or even just saying, "Make it cooler." If you've got multiple thermostats in the house, you can assign each of them nicknames and address them individually.
If Nest thermostats leave you cold, you can also connect Google Home to your Honeywell smart thermostat, like the Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat. Once you've set it up, you can adjust the temperature by voice or get the current temperature or thermostat setting. Note that Google Home doesn't yet work with Honeywell's Lyric smart thermostats.
Controlling your TV and home entertainment setup with your voice seems futuristic, but with a Google Home and a remote like the Logitech Harmony Elite, that ability is available in the present. You'll need to set up Harmony to work with Google Home via IFTTT, but once you have, you'll be able to turn on the TV and other ancillary devices, and have everything automatically set to the right inputs and channels. Eat your heart out, George Jetson.
Whose idea was it to put the coffee maker all the way over in the kitchen? Good news: with Mr. Coffee's Smart Coffee Maker and a little bit of IFTTT magic, you can start a cup of joe brewing with your voice alone. Just create a custom Google Home command that triggers the Brew coffee action. Now if only there were a way to have Google Home change the filter and fill up the coffee machine in the first place.
Credit: Mr. Coffee