Tips & Tricks

Cool things to do with Google Home

Alwin Wong
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January 28, 2020

Best Google Home Features, Apps, & Actions You May Not Know About

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Lights, camera, action!

Or is it the other way around? With Actions for Google Home - the equivalent of apps for Google Assistant across various devices - you're able to control the lights and cameras, among other things, in your household.

Google and Amazon are at the forefront of voice design, with over 91% of brands making significant investments into voice-assisted technology.

And rightfully so. It is estimated that as of this year, 50% of searches will be through voice, changing the marketing landscape for consumers and business alike.

The number of actions on Google is going to continue to grow as it builds up its ecosystem to be shared across its varying products and devices. In 2018, the number of actions grew 2.5 times and its results are becoming increasingly accurate.

Smart Speaker and Display Adoption

The writing is on the wall: voice will be the future in which we interact with technology. Yet consumer adoption may have put the cart before the horse. Although over half of smart speaker owners have two or more devices in their homes, the process of using voice technology is still relatively nonintuitive for everyday users.

Users recognize the potential of voice but have not yet tapped into its full capabilities, leaving them to reserve the use of smart speakers for basic tasks such as music or weather, instead of banking or travel.

However, this does not have to be the case! Just look at our boy, Pascal, from the Toronto Raptors:

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With over thousands of actions to choose from, we've chosen some of our favorite Google Actions to showcase the best apps for Google Home and Home Mini that other users can take advantage of as well.

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πŸ’‘HOT TIP: How to install Google Actions on your voice-enabled devices

  • Open your Google Home App on your mobile device
  • If you have an account set up, on your home screen, select 'Settings'
  • Scroll down until you see 'Google Assistant Services', and select 'More Settings'
  • Across the top tabs, select 'Services'
  • To browse or explore third-party services, scroll down the list of services and select 'Explore'
  • *Most actions should already be available to you once the action's invocation is expressed, however some actions may need for you to link the service

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Transit Now

Based in Toronto, the Transit Now action allows users to get real-time service schedules from the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).

Whether you're running through your morning routine at home or stuck at a bus stop wondering when the next streetcar will be arriving, Transit Now has all the answers.

Especially if you're on the go, Transit Now is one of the most helpful Google voice actions for Android or Google phones since the assistant is readily on hand.

My schedule is relatively hectic and knowing how the TTC can sometimes be in the winter with its delays or maintenance, I'm able to keep track of my commute and plan ahead for any updates on my service route. Better yet, I'd recommend incorporating Transit Now into your Google's morning routine so that you'll be given scheduled times for departure each day!

Nidhi, Front End Developer @ Voiceflow / Unofficial Toronto Brand Ambassador 𝟲

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Tasty

'I wish there was an app that just tells me what I should make today.'

If this is a thought that has often crossed your mind with the leftover groceries found in your fridge, Tasty is the solution for you. With a large repertoire of over 2000+ recipes - Tasty's collaboration with Google assistant takes you through step-by-step instructions that can be filtered by dietary needs, ingredients, types of cuisine, and more!

This action also has the unique ability for users to ask Tasty to help 'clean out the fridge'...pulling up delicious recipes based off of what remains in your fridge and pantry.

Coming from an Italian background, I've always been a bit embarrassed how little knowledge I have of cooking. Not anymore! I've been a fan of the Tasty Youtube channel and mobile app for a long time...but when I heard they came out with this partnership, it has been one of my favorite actions for Google Assistant when I'm in the kitchen at home! My nonna would be proud.

Mark, Content Manager @ Voiceflow / Amateur Food Critic πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ³

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Virtual Concierge

A simple but effective action for both hosts and guests, Virtual Concierge provides helpful tips and answers questions for your hotel or property rental.

As the property manager, enhance the experience of your guests by providing a 24/7 concierge in the form of your voice-enabled Google device. Define and customize the list of questions and answers that you commonly receive during your guest's stay, examples include:"What's the WIFI password?"

"What time is checkout?"

"I'd like some restaurant recommendations."

As the local expert, ensure your guests have a pleasant stay!

I'm often traveling for work so I put up my apartment on Airbnb when I'm away. Virtual Concierge provides me with the peace of mind that my guests have all the information that they need to enjoy their vacation...I can even leave them a personalized welcome message! This action is one of those google home mini features that makes my life that much easier.

Nicolas, Development Support & Customer Success @ Voiceflow / Weekend Sherpa πŸ›«

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‍California Surf Report

Surfers know the struggle. If you don't live by the beach, your alternative solution to check surf conditions is to open up your laptop and dial into Surfline or Magic Seaweed. But as you're waking up for your early morning surf session, the last thing you want to do is dig up your laptop and stare at a screen...all that blue light? That's just not the vibe you're looking for.

In comes California Surf Report. Get the latest daily forecast for your favorite beaches down along the coast. Never again will you miss a good surf day!

One of the greatest benefits about working in between San Francisco and Toronto is my winter escapes to the coast. And now when I work out of San Francisco, I've been learning how to surf! So when recently asked, 'What are cool things to do with Google Home Mini?', I immediately thought there's nothing cooler than being able to wake up knowing if the day's conditions are suitable. I get psyched every morning!

Emily, Head of Growth @ Voiceflow / Adrenaline Junkie πŸ„πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

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Netflix

Already a staple for most households, Netflix's TV & movie subscription service provides one of the smoothest interactions with any Google Assistant device.

With Google's ever-improving ecosystem, enable Netflix to turn on your favorite shows so you never skip a beat! For those who often lose their remote control in the seams of their sofa, control playback with just your voice! Now if only Google can also pour us a glass of wine...

After a long day at work, I typically kick back with my cat, change into my PJs, and throw a show onto Netflix. But this app has really come in handy as I haven't seen my TV's remote control in months! No wonder it's one of the most used actions for Google Home.

Leart Gjoni, FullΒ Stack Developer @ Voiceflow / 'Friends' Expert πŸ‘―β™€οΈ

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At Voiceflow, we work everyday with our community of voice designers and creators, and have witnessed first hand how impressive new apps, actions, and skills have improved. These are the same designers and creators that will play a critical role in creating rich experiences and influence how we will interact with these devices.

Looking to develop your own action on Google? We're here to help. Check out Voiceflow today and learn more about conversational design and how you can create a voice app that suits your lifestyle!

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