Congratulations on your new Google Home ($69 at Walmart) or Nest Mini ($35 at Walmart) smart speaker, Nest Hub ($79 at Walmart) or Nest Hub Max ($229 at Walmart). Once you set up your new smart speaker (or get your new smart display up and running) it’s time to start making it work for you.
Google’s smart speaker can do a whole lot more than give you a weather forecast or play music (although it does those things and so much more). It’s a powerful tool that can control your other smart home devices and automate your life with a simple voice command.
Google Home Tips
All the latest Google news delivered to your inbox. It’s FREE!
The first 5 things to do with a new Google Home speaker
Where should you put your Google Home?
Google Home speakers and Nest Hub displays are small enough to fit in most places around the house, but they serve a different purpose in each room you put them in. If you only have one, you’ll want to think about what you’ll probably use it for the most, as well as which room you spend the most time in every day. Here are some ideas to consider:
- If you have an extensive morning routine, there are several reasons you might want to put your Google Home in the bathroom.
- Maybe you cook a lot, or your family generally congregates in the kitchen, where your smart speaker or display can set timers, provide recipes, answer cooking questions and control smart appliances.
- A lot of people keep a Google Home device in their bedroom (the Google Assistant-enabled Lenovo Smart Clock makes a great bedside companion).
Master the basics
You can always refer to our up-to-date list of every Google Assistant command we know about for detailed descriptions of the various Google Actions your smart speaker or display can perform. But for starters, you might want to go in and choose which Google Assistant voice you want your smart device to use.
Here are a few other settings you might want to learn and/or change immediately:
- Ask your Google speaker to say more, say less, or say everything more slowly.
- If your family speaks more than one language, you can make your Google Home speaker or display multilingual.
- You can control you Google Home or Nest Mini speaker with touch.
- Set up some Routines (custom commands) right away and start using them now.
- Set up Night Mode so it won’t wake anyone up when you use it late at night.
How to talk to Google Assistant
The full list of Google Assistant voice commands is long and growing, but there are several you’ll actually use regularly:
- Make a to-do list, or shopping list.
- Ask your Google Home to remind you to do anything.
- Create as many timers as you want.
- Place or receive calls (and learn how to link your phone number)
- Learn how to string three Google Home commands together.
Rock out to some tunes
Playing music will likely become one of your favorite things to do with your Google Home. Here are several tips to get you started:
- 9 Google Home tips for music lovers.
- Now you can ramp up the bass on Google Home speakers.
- Set up whole-home audio with multiple Google smart speakers or displays.
- If you have two identical speakers, you can create a stereo pairing that acts like one speaker.
Podcasts, audiobooks and bedtime stories
Another hugely popular use for your new Google smart speaker or display is listening to podcasts, audiobooks and children’s stories. Here are some ways to get started with those:
- Connect your favorite podcast service to Google Home.
- Listen to Google Play audiobooks directly on the device.
- Google Home can 3 ways Google Home can make the back-to-school routine easier for your kids.
- You can also record your own voice reading stories that can be played when you’re not there.
Google Home speakers and displays are packed full of features you might not expect. Here are a few tricks you might not have known your new smart speaker or display could do:
- Show off these three things Google Home can do that Siri and Alexa can’t.
- How to turn Google Home into a white noise machine.
- 40 Google Home apps for a better home with more pizza.
- 9 unusual things to try with your Google Home speaker.
Control your smart home devices
Google Home speakers can serve as a central hub for all of your smart devices. For the most part, they can control any smart home product you already have. To get started:
- Check out the master list of Google Home-compatible smart home devices
before you buy.
- Here are seven ways to build your smart home around the Google Home.
- Learn how to control your lights and thermostat with Google Home
How to address common problems
Once you’ve set up your Google Home, you shouldn’t need to mess with the settings or troubleshoot. But no software or hardware is perfect, so if you run into problems, check out these guides:
- How to fix these four issues: connectivity problems, speaker not responding, incorrect home location and routines not reporting the weather.
- How to fix these three issues: Google Home App not seeing smart speakers or displays, device not recognizing your voice, not connecting to other smart home devices.
- If your speaker gets bricked, here’s how to request a free replacement.
- You also should regularly check your Google Home security settings to make sure you’re comfortable with the personal data you’re sharing with Google.
Originally published last year.