Google Home devices aren't just speakers with built-in Google Search. They allow you to control compatible smart home devices, cue up a film on your TV, replace your desktop speakers, and plenty more.

To get the most out of your Google Home, Home Mini, Home Max or Home Hub, we've rounded up a selection of the top tips and tricks to help you master the voice-activated speakers in no time.

There's a few device-specific tricks at the bottom of this feature, while other tricks are split into general tips, entertainment tips, information tips and smart home control tips.

Google Home Assistant tips and tricks

Google Assistant is Google's iteration of a personal assistant. It's considered an upgrade or an extension of Google Now, as well as an expansion of Google's existing "Ok Google" voice controls. It's conversational, too. You can ask a question and follow-up questions, and Assistant will track the conversation, determine context, and audibly respond with the right information.

Google Assistant is a stand-out feature in the Google Home speaker line-up. You can use it to control Google Home devices, Pixel devices, as well as third-party services and devices. To help you figure out everything Assistant can do, we've rounded up some tips and tricks, which you can find here. However, if you want to learn tips and tricks unique, exclusive or specific to Google Home devices, read on.

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Google Home general tips and tricks

Remember to use a wake word

Google Assistant responds to two 'wake words': "Ok Google" and "Hey Google". Unfortunately, you can't change it from these two phrases. You need to say one every single time you wish to engage with a Google Home device too (say the phrase, followed by a question or command).

Add a Home member

Google Home supports up to six users, all of which will be able to control any devices linked to your Home, as well as teach Google to recognise their voice for a personalised experience when it comes to calendars and work commutes, for example.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on the Add icon > Tap on Add Home Member > Type the name or email address of the person you want to add.

Remove a Home member

If you want to see who has access to your Google Home devices, click on the settings icon in the Home tab of the Google Home app and then tap on Household.

A list of Home Members will appear here. Tap the three dots on the right of their name and then hit remove if you want to revoke access. You can also add a Home Member here too by tapping on the "+" in the top right of the Home Members screen.

How to change your Home nickname

When you set up a new Google Home device, you'll need to create a "Home" to put it in. This then allows you to add various other devices to that particular home, or a new home, naming each Home you create to make them easier to differentiate between when adding to them. 

To change the name of any of your Homes > Open the Google Home app > Tap on the Home tab in the bottom left > Tap on the settings cog at the top of the display under the name of the home you want to change > Click on Home Nickname > Change the name > Save.

Create a speaker group

For those lucky enough to have multiple Google Home devices, you can create a speaker group with all, or selected Home devices. You can then ask Google Assistant to play music from those speakers and it's possible to rename any groups too. 

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on the Add icon > Click on Create Speaker Group > Select the Google Home devices you want to make up your group > Name the Group > Save.

How to filter content

Not all content is suitable for all ages and as Google Home devices have the power of Google Search behind them, you might want to filter content to make sure any of the smaller people in your home don't see or hear things you don't want them to. 

You can set up filters for music, videos and features available through Assistant. It's also possible to choose the devices you want to filter and then set the filters, so you don't have to filter the Home Mini in your locked office, for example.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on Settings > Digital Wellbeing > Follow the setup instructions.

Schedule downtime

For those that don't want time off from their Google Assistant, you can schedule downtime. It's also possible to physically turn the microphones off on all Google Home devices so you can use that option too.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on Settings > Digital Wellbeing > Follow the setup instructions for downtime scheduling.

Give your Google Home device a new name

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on the Google Home device you want to rename > Tap the Settings cog in the top right corner > Click on name and change it to what you want.

Manage your email notifications

If you opt in, Google will email you to keep you up-to-date on the latest about Chromecast, Google Home devices and Google Assistant. There are tips and tricks, new features, offers and partners.

To manage your email notifications, open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on Settings > Account Preferences > Email Notifications.

View your Search and Watch History 

To view your search and watch history, open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on Settings > Account Preferences > Search and Watch History.

You can filter by date and delete activity by tapping on the three lines on the far right of the search box.

Use the Google ecosystem

To get the most out of Google Home, using Google's other products delivers the best experience. Home devices are designed to work with products many people frequently use, such as Google Calendar and Gmail.

When combined with Google Home, you can make Assistant a true personal assistant. It can check your schedule, set reminders, add items to your shopping lists, and more, all with a simple voice command. It will even pull reservations and flight details from your email for example.

Check your activity

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the app > Scroll down to My Activity.

A website will open with everything Google Home devices (and Assistant on your phone) has recorded. You can sort by date and time, play back exactly what Home devices heard, get details, and delete them.

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Google it

Google Home is basically Google.com. Want to find your closest supermarket? Need to convert ounces to cups? Curious how old Teresa May or Donald Trump are? Ever wonder what the capital of India is? Google Home devices can be your assistant and set appointments, but they also double as a search engine.

Remember you can also ask follow-up questions. Google Assistant will always remember the topic or subject in your string of questions and you can ask follow up questions without saying "Ok Google" before each one if you turn on "Continued Conversation".

How to turn on or off Continued Conversation

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the app > Scroll down to More Settings > Tap on the Assistant tab under your name and email at the top of the screen > Scroll down to Continued Conversation > Toggle Continued Conversation on or off.

How to set up Guest Mode for your Google Home devices

You can set up a guest mode to let anyone connect to your Google Home devices once they enter a four-digit PIN provided by the Google Home app, without them needing to be on your Wi-Fi network. You can turn guest mode on or off for each Home device you have. 

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom left of the screen > Tap on the Google Home device you want to set guest mode up for > Tap on the Settings cog in the top right > Scroll down to Guest Mode > Toggle Guest Mode on view the PIN below.

Guests will need to have the Google Home app and enter the PIN shown when requested. 

Set an alarm or timer

Google Home devices can replace your alarm clock and they also support timer functions.

Say "OK Google, set a timer for five minutes" or "Ok Google, set an alarm for 7AM" and you'll get a nice tune when the the timer is up or it's time to wake up.

How to add home and work addresses for more custom responses

Adding home and work addresses will allow Google Home devices to offer more customised responses, including weather and morning commute times. If you didn't set these up when you first set up your Google Home device, you can still do it afterwards.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on the Your Info tab at the top under your name and email > tap on Your Places > Add home address / Add work address.

How to add payment information

Adding payment information allows you to use Google Assistant to order a taxi or take away, for example. There are various settings allowing you to ensure your identity is confirmed before you pay for example. 

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on the Your Info tab at the top under your name and email > Payments > add payment information, delivery address and choose purchase approval settings.

How to change what Google Assistant calls you

Want Google Assistant to call you boss, batman or the finest lady of them all? No problem. 

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on the Your Info tab at the top under your name and email > Nickname > change what you want Assistant to call you. You can even check it pronounces it right and if not, you can spell it out. 

How to change the temperature unit

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on the Your Info tab at the top under your name and email > Weather > Choose Farenheit or Celsius.

How to teach Google Assistant to recognise your voice

Teaching Google Assistant to recognise your voice will give you a more personalised experience. It will pull up your calendar for example, or your morning commute, rather than your partners. It's worth getting other Home members to set up Voice Match too in order for Home devices to deliver the best experience all round.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on the Assistant tab at the top under your name and email > Voice Match > follow the instructions. 

For those with multiple Home devices, you should only need to Voice Match once. The other devices will pull the information through.

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How to change the voice of Google Assistant

Want Google Assistant to be a man rather than a woman or vice versa? That can be done. 

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on the Assistant tab at the top under your name and email > Assistant Voice. There are eight options, labelled as the colours of the rainbow.

How to change your default calendar

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on the Services tab at the top under your name and email > Default Calendars. 

From here, you can choose which calendar you want to use to create events.

How to set up voice calling for Google Home devices

You can get Google Assistant to make calls on your Google Home devices, though calls to emergency services are not available.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on the Services tab at the top under your name and email > Voice and Video Calls > follow the instructions.

Hear about your day

Google Home devices can tell you about your day, such as your calendar, morning traffic commute, the weather, and any reminders. You can also customise your report to exclude certain things, like the weather. The report will also finish with a news briefing. All you have to do once you have set up your calendar preferences and added addresses, etc, is say "Ok Google, tell me about my day".

Manage a family shopping list

You can automatically add things to your shopping list with Google Home devices, either physically or using your voice. For example: "Okay Google, add coffee to my shopping list". The list will appear in the Google Home app, and can be added to by tapping the "Add Item" on the Shopping List screen.

To see and edit your shopping list, open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the screen > Tap on the Services tab at the top under your name and email > Shopping List.

The shopping list can only be associated with the primary account holder but you can add collaborators so they can access it too. Simply tap the icon in the top right of the Shopping List screen to share your shopping list.

Find your phone using your Home device

Can't find your phone? Google Home devices can locate your device but you'll need to link it with a service called IFTTT. You'll need to sign up for a free IFTTT account, after which if you use this recipe or applet as they are called, you can automatically call your number from your Google Home device when you say "Ok Google, find my phone".

Set a schedule or routine

Its possible to get Google Assistant to do multiple things with just one command. For example, "Ok Google, Bedtime" or Ok Google, good night" could tell you the next day's weather, ask what time to set your alarm, adjust lights, plugs and more, as well as lock your doors (if you have compatible devices).

To set a routine, open the Google Home app > click on the Profile tab in the bottom right > Click on Assistant > Click on Routines > select one of the routines and tick/untick the boxes within it.

Once you have routines set up, a Routines icon will appear the Home screen of the Google Home app. You'll then be able to access your routines more easily and manage them.

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Google Home entertainment tips and tricks

Add a music service to your Google Home

Google Home can play music from several sources, such as Google Play Music, Pandora, TuneIn Spotify or YouTube Music. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't work with Amazon Music. 

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom left of the Google Home app > Click on the "Add" icon at the top > Click on Music and Audio under the Add Services section > Select from the list and follow the instructions.

To set your default source, head to the Profile tab of the Google Home app > Click on More Settings > Click on the Services tab > Tap Music > Select the linked service you want to use as the main source for music.

Add a video service to your Google Home

Google Home devices also work with various video services, including YouTube, Netflix, BBC iPlayer and All4.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom left of the Google Home app > Click on the Add icon at the top > Click on Video and Photos under the Add Services section > Select from the list and follow the instructions.

Cast movies, shows and audio to a TV

If you have a Google Chromecast, you can ask Google Home devices to play Netflix movies, a TV show or YouTube videos on your TV. Of course, if you have the Google Home Hub, you will be able to play these on the Hub's screen itself too even if the display is significantly smaller.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the app > Scroll down to More Settings > Tap on the Services tab under your name and email at the top of the screen > go to TV and speakers > Tap the "+" sign in the bottom right corner of the screen. The Google Home app will search for voice-supported TVs on the same Wi-Fi network as your Google Home.

You must connect third-party services, like Netflix, to your Google account using the Google Home app. After doing this, you can simply say things like "Okay Google, play House of Cars from Netflix on TV". You can even also Google Home to pause playback or rewind a minute to something you might have missed.

Cast photos to your TV

Google Home can't just control Netflix or YouTube on your TV, it can also control Google Photos, Google's free cloud photo storage service.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the app > Scroll down to More Settings > Tap on the Services tab under your name and email at the top of the screen > Tap on Photos and Videos > Toggle Google Photos on or off.

Once your account is linked, you can say things like "Okay Google, show me photos of my pets on TV". The service is able to tag and recognise people, things, and places, so it's able to smartly serve up whatever you ask for.

Play podcasts

All you have to do to hear podcasts is ask. Say "Okay Google, Play This American Life" to hear the most recent episode of the show. If you should pause it, the next time you ask for that podcast, your Google Home device will pick up where you left off.

Replace your desktop speakers with Home

Google Cast is built directly into the Chrome browser. So, when you click the cast button in the corner of Chrome, you can look for your Home device(s), select it, and then cast audio from your computer through to your Google Home device.

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Google Home information tips and tricks

How to follow stocks and set Stock preferences

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the Google Home app > Click on the Services tap at the top under your name and email > Tap on Stocks.

You can add your favourite stocks to a watch list for quick access to them. There is a search bar at the top if you know what you're looking for, as well as local market and world market tabs, both of which offer suggestions.

How to change your news sources

Say "Ok Google, listen to the news" and your Google Home devices will reel off news from various sources. You can change which sources you want the news to come from, as well as the order.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Profile tab in the bottom right of the Google Home app > Click on the Services tap at the top under your name and email > Tap on News.

To add a news source, tap the "+" at the bottom of the list. To change the order, select "Change Order" at the top of the list. To get rid of a source, tap the "X" on the right of the source.

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Google Home Smart Home Control tips and tricks

Google Home can control internet-connected appliances around your home, including lightbulbs from Philips Hue, Hive and Ikea, cameras from Nest and Netatmo, plugs from TP-link and Wemo, thermostats from Nest, Honeywell, Tado and Hive, and plenty more.

You can not only turn devices on and off using either your voice or the Google Home app, but you can also separate devices by room and control everything from the Home app, making smart home control super simple. You can also leverage IFTTT recipes to get the most out of Home and your devices, but that's not required.

How to add third-party smart home devices

Google Home relies on third-party services to provide you with a richer experience, especially when it comes to smart home control. There are a huge number of compatible smart home devices and the list is continuously growing. If you already have smart home devices set up, or you want to know if a device you're looking to buy is compatible:

Click on the Home tab in the bottom left of the Google Home app > Click on the Add icon at the top > Tap on Set up Device under the Add to Home section at the top > Choose the "Have something already set up" option under Works with Google > Search for the manufacturer of your device and follow the instructions.

Add a device to a room within your home

Once you have set up a third party smart home device, it will appear at the bottom of the Home tab in the Google Home app. There will be a "Add to Room" icon you can tap on to place the smart home device into a room within your Home but if that icon doesn't appear:

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom left > Click on the room you want to add your new device to > Click on the Settings cog in the top right > Click on Choose Devices > Select the device you want to add to that room > Next.

You can also access a list of your devices and where they are via the Profile tab in the bottom right of the Home app > More Settings > Assistant tab at the top under your name and email > Home Control.

Change the room a device is in

You might move your Google Home Hub from your kitchen to your bedroom, or your smart plug from your office to your living room, for example. Placing devices into rooms within your Home makes it easier to control them. For example, you can then say "Ok Google, turn the living room lights off" and all lights linked to the living room will turn off.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom left > Click on the device you want to move > Click on the Settings cog in the top right > Click on Room > Choose a Room > Save.

Rename a smart home device

Naming a device makes it easier to control through Google Assistant. For example, you might name a smart plug controlling the lamp in your living room to "Living Room Lamp" rather than it be called "TP-Link Smart Plug 45688", allowing you to ask Google to turn the living room lamp on or off, rather than have to remember the name.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom left > Click on the device you want to rename > Click on the Settings cog in the top right > Click on Name > Choose a name > Save. 

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Google Home device tips and tricks

Reset Google Home

To conduct a factory reset and restore your Google Home to a good-as-new state, hold the microphone button for about 15 seconds. From there, you can link it to a different Google account using the Google Home app.

Reboot Google Home

What do you do when some gadget stops working? You restart it, or "reboot" it. Google has included this in the Home app and it works for all Google Home devices.

Open the Home app > Select the Home tab in the bottom left > Select the Home devices you want to reboot > tap the Settings cog in the top right > Tap on the three dots in the top right > Reboot.

Touch your way through things

Aside from your voice, you can control Google Home with your touch. Tap the top of the speaker once to awaken your Google Home or to pause and play a broadcast. You can also slide your finger along the centered circle at the top to change the volume.

Mute the mic

If you want to stop Google Home from "always-listening", look for the button on the back of the speaker. It's the only button, and it has a microphone on it. Press it and Home will turn off the microphone (four amber lights will light up on top). Press it again, and it'll tell you the microphone is on. When it's on, Google Home is in the always-listening mode and will listen for and respond to your commands.

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Google Home Hub tips and tricks

How to reset Google Home Hub

Press and hold the volume up and volume down buttons on the back of the Home Hub simultaneously for 10 seconds to reset it. Continue to hold them down until the device has reset. A warning message will appear beforehand.

Adjust the display to fit with your home

Google Home Hub is the only Google Home device to feature a display and a speaker. The display can be adjusted in a variety of ways to enable it to blend into its surroundings better, from choosing when low light mode is activated to setting the minimum brightness. You can even set the Home Hub's display to adjust its colour to match its environment.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom left of the screen > Tap on your Home Hub device > Tap on the settings cog in the top right > scroll down to display > adjust the settings according to your preferences. 

Turn night mode on

Night mode will reduce the volume of responses during specific times.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom left of the screen > Tap on your Home Hub device > Tap on the settings cog in the top right > Night mode > toggle on or off.

Change what the Home Hub display shows when not in use

You can change what your Home Hub display shows when it isn't being used to control your smart home devices, present you with news snippets or play a YouTube video on how to make the best cocktails.

You can select between Google Photos, Art Gallery, Full Screen Clock and Experimental. You can also select to hide or show the weather for your area, whether or not to show the time when in ambient mode and how the speed at which images change when in ambient mode.

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom left of the screen > Tap on your Home Hub device > Tap on the settings cog in the top right > Ambient Mode > Select your preferences.

Change the clock format between 12 and 24-hour

Open the Google Home app > Click on the Home tab in the bottom left of the screen > Tap on your Home Hub device > Tap on the settings cog in the top right > Time Format.

Using the Home Hub touchscreen navigations 

Swipe from the left edge to the right to display the clock screen. Double tap the clock screen to return to ambient mode. Double tap the display again from ambient mode to show calendar, weather, news information, or whatever you have set to appear.

Swipe up from the bottom to access display brightness, volume, alarms and settings. You can also turn do not disturb on from here.

Swipe down from the top of the display to see and control your linked smart home devices.

Mute the mic

Like Google Home, there is a microphone button on the back of the Home Hub's display at the top. Simply toggle it off to turn off the microphones.

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Google Home Easter eggs

Looking for some fun things to do with Google Home devices? These are technically Google Assistant easter eggs, but you'll find they really give your Google Home device some personality:

  • Say "I'm feeling lucky" to start up a multiplayer game show.
  • Say "Give me a random number between (x) and (y)" to hear a random number between the two - with beeping sounds to boot.
  • Ask it to "Roll (insert number)-sided dice": It'll give you a random number, complete with sound effects.
  • Say "(Contact name) is my (relationship)" to ask Assistant to associate certain relationship information with a contact for future reference.
  • Say "Good morning" to hear a rundown of your day's agenda, along with the current weather and news.
  • Say "Send a message to (Contact name) on (messaging service like WhatsApp)" to dictate a message to a contact.
  • Say "Wubba lubba dub dub" to get Assistant to respond with: "Are you in pain? How can I help?" or "Sorry, I don't speak Birdperson" (a reference to the show Rick and Morty).
  • Say "Beatbox" to hear a clip of someone beat-boxing.
  • Say "sing a song" to hear a horrible, brief song.
  • Say "Read a poem" to hear a random poem from Google search.
  • Say "Tell me a joke" to hear an age-appropriate joke from Pixar.
  • Say "F*** you" to submit a bug report.