Good news if you received a Google Assistant device over the holidays. Like Amazon's Alexa, Google's voice-powered assistant can perform a range of tasks and the best part is that it's no longer relegated to Google-built devices like Google Home or the latest Pixel phones. Instead, you can find it on a wide range of devices from the Samsung Galaxy S9 to the Honor 7X. Even iPhone users can download an iOS version of Google Assistant.
But what exactly can you do with Google Assistant? Here are more than three dozen features that will help you do more with your phone, from giving you the latest news brief to casting Netflix shows to your TV. (Image Credit: Tom's Guide)
You love that Google Assistant responds to your voice when your screen is off, but you hate it when your PIN and fingerprint methods appear on screen (requiring an extra step to unlock the device). Bypass these additional steps by using Google Assistant's voice command to unlock your device. Go into your Google Assistant settings, and select OK Google Detection followed by Trusted Voice.
Let's say you're washing your hands, but you want to see your latest Gmail notifications. Just say, "OK, Google, open Gmail," and watch Gmail open. You can use this command to open other apps, including third-party apps, as well.
Tired of getting bothered by telemarketers? If you pick up a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, you can have Google Assistant field those annoying and unwanted calls. The latest Pixels include a Call Screen feature where the Assistant will answer the phone on your behalf. Even better, an onscreen transcript of the call will appear so that you can see whether the call is coming from someone you can safely ignore. If it is a telemarketer, just mark the call as spam and move on. While the new Pixels get this feature first, Google says that it will come to earlier Pixels via a software update.
Having a hard day at work? What's better than pictures of baby animals to lift your spirits? Ask your Google Assistant to do a Google image search of baby animals and you'll feel better in no time.
It's Friday night, you're out with friends, but you're clueless as to where you should go for dinner or dancing. Google Assistant can help: By way of a Nearby feature, you can find out what places around cater to whatever you're in the mood for. Just ask Google Assistant to "show me nearby restaurants," and finding that great new spot is just a tap away. Google Assistant gives you a list of restaurant names with the establishments' star ratings; tap on a listing to get the address, directions and a link for calling the restaurant.
If you're looking to get away, Google Assistant can serve as a virtual travel planner. Just ask Google Assistant, "What are some great vacation ideas?" if you're open to anything. To be more specific, ask, for example, "What are the best places for vacation in November" to find seasonal travel hotspots. Google Assistant will pull up search results, which you can tap for more information.
If you want to kick back and enjoy a new movie or old TV show with family and friends, just ask Google Assistant to start streaming your show. You can even get specific: Say, "Play Stranger Things on Netflix," and watch the Hawkins kids escape the Demogorgon at any time. The feature can be hit-and-miss, with older shows like MacGyver and Murder, She Wrote tripping up Google Assistant, though the "Play Luke Cage on Netflix" command works just fine.