8 Google Home Skills You Should Know

In today’s society, smart speakers seem on track to become almost as widespread as smartphones.

A global market survey conducted by Research and Markets found the total worth associated with smart speakers should total $2.68 billion in 2018 and could grow over 34 percent annually within a forecasted five-year range. That’s one of the reasons Google — with its Google Home speaker and associated Google Home skills — wanted a piece of the pie.

If you buy one of Google’s speakers, what are some of the Google Home skills it can do, and how might they improve your life? Let’s find out.

1. Play a Podcast

Podcasts help you get informed about news, daily living tips, fascinating facts and more. So, it’s not surprising the available Google Home skills offer podcast-related possibilities.

You can play a podcast through your Google Home by saying, “Hey Google, play [name of podcast].” You can also speak to the Google Home while a podcast plays. Taking that action pauses the podcast, then resumes it when you’re done talking.

2. Get Traffic and Travel Time Details

After setting your work and home locations, as well as the address associated with your Google Home speaker, the device will give you specifics about how long it’ll take to get to your place of employment based on your preferred method of transportation.

Just say, “Hey Google, how long is my commute?” You can also say “How long will it take to walk to City Hall?” or another place in your community.

3. Find and Make Tempting Recipes

Similar to how Amazon allows third-party companies to make skills for Alexa, Google teams up with partner companies that enhance the Google Home’s built-in capabilities. For example, you can say, “I want to make [type of dish],” and the speaker draws from material provided by Google’s supported cooking partners.

4. Learn New Things

People often view Google as a primary resource for finding out things they don’t know. So, of course, the Google Home speaker can help you with that, too. You can ask something like, “Which horse won last year’s Kentucky Derby?” and the gadget will respond.

It can help you with units of measure, currency conversions, the correct spellings and definitions for words and more.


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5. Control Your Smart Home Devices

Like Alexa, Google Home makes it possible to do things with compatible smart home gadgets with only your voice.

After adding an unlimited number of devices, you can operate the clothes dryer, thermostat, dishwasher, smart plugs and any other appliance that works with Google’s speaker. The voice commands vary based on what you’re trying to operate.

6. Wake up to the Radio or Your Favorite Song

Since Google Home offers timers and alarms, you can use it to make sure you don’t oversleep. Even better, it gives you a choice of what sound rouses you from slumber. Just say, “Hey Google, set media/music/radio alarm for [time].”

7. Make Hands-Free Phone Calls

Did you know Google Home also works as a speakerphone? You can call people from your contacts or businesses. Just say, “Hey Google, call [person/business name].” Alternatively, you can ask it to make a call by reciting the phone number from start to finish.

Unless you adjust the Google Home’s setting and make it display your number during a call, all numbers show as unlisted to receivers. You may think that’s a perk if you’re concerned about privacy.

However, if you plan to use your Google Home to make calls often, it’s a good idea to let people you know to expect unlisted numbers. Otherwise, they may not answer.

8. Experiment With Google Assistant Apps

Google Assistant apps are the equivalent of skills for Alexa. They’re created by third-party developers and expand the possibilities of your Google Home speaker. After finding one you want to try, say, “Hey Google, let me talk to [app name].” You’ll then hear a tone that confirms Google Home successfully connected with the Google Assistant app.

After exploring the available apps and choosing some, you could ask WebMD how to treat a sore throat, get the top headlines from CNN and do online shopping for products at Walmart.

If you’re trying to decide between the Google Home and another option like an Amazon speaker that provides Alexa, this list proves there are many similar capabilities, with the list of skills growing almost by the day.

Although some of the most useful of the speaker’s abilities are covered here, there are dozens of others to explore you may find just as beneficial or even more so.

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Kayla Matthews is the editor of Productivity Bytes and a senior writer at MakeUseOf. Her work has also been published on VentureBeat, The Next Web, The Week and VICE. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts.