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Google Home tips: 32 of the coolest and quirkiest things your voice assistant can do – CNET

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Google Nest Minis come in four distinct “flavors”: Sky (blue), coral (orange), charcoal (black), and chalk (gray).

James Martin/CNET

Your Google Home ($99 at Crutchfield) or Google Nest isn’t just an elegantly designed family of smart speakers and displays. It’s also a full-fledged ecosystem of apps and automations you can use to get detailed information and build routines. Google Home also connects with your smart home gadgets as well as your tablet and phone, even if you use an iPhone.

Whether you’ve got the original Google Home or Mini , a Nest Mini ($50 at Best Buy), Nest Hub ($90 at Best Buy) or Nest Hub Max ($229 at Crutchfield) — or an ever-expanding collection like some people — chances are Google Home can do a whole lot more than you might realize. Like, you probably figured out how to play music as soon as you unboxed it, but did you know you can pair two Google Home speakers to play music in stereo? Or that any combination of speakers can pipe music through your whole house?

If you’ve mastered most of the basics and are ready for some next-level Google Home tips and tricks, here are 32 of the coolest, quirkiest and funnest things to do with a Google Home.

Find a spot for your Google Home

First, your Google Home needs a home — preferably a spot where you’ll get the most use out of it. That could be your living or family room, but Google Home can be surprisingly useful in other places, too, like in your foyer, bathroom or even garage. Here are some places to consider when deciding where to put your Google Home:

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Beyond the basics

You can always refer to our up-to-date list of every Google Assistant command we know for a comprehensive list of features, 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 possibly change:

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If your household speaks more than one language, set Google Home to multilingual and it’ll understand commands in two languages.

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How to talk to Google Assistant

The full list of Google Assistant voice commands is long and growing, but there are several that are especially helpful: 

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With big speakers, the Google Home Max can fill your home with music.

Taylor Martin/CNET

Rock out to some tunes

Playing music is the number one activity most people use smart speakers for. Here are several tips to get you started: 

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Google Home can either read along with children’s books, or you can record a story with your own voice to be played back later.

Angela Lang/CNET

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:

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alexa-siri-google-home-assistant-homekit-echo-smart-home-promo

In the ongoing battle among Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, there are some tricks Google Home can do that the others can’t.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Outside-the-box tips

Here are a few tricks you might not have known your new smart speaker or display could even do: 

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Google Home can connect to thousands of different smart home devices, including color-changing lights and more.

Chris Monroe/CNET

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:

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google-home-mini-2

Google Home devices have a physical mute switch to help you keep private conversations private.

Chris Monroe/CNET

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 platform is perfect, so if you run into problems, check out these guides: