I recently upgraded my phone because my battery was dying, and I received a promo code for a free Google Home Mini. I’m still on the fence about it. There are a lot of basic things the Google Assistant can do for you, get news or weather updates, control your smart home, make phone calls, etc. My friend wrote a short review on it. Check it out here. I don’t really NEED it, but hey, it was free.
Here are some of my favorite commands so far.
“Play Rogue One on Netflix”
Well, it doesn’t have to be Rogue One, but you get the idea. You can ask it to play a movie or show. This one definitely saves a lot of time so you don’t have to go searching for it. You can also ask it to play videos on YouTube or music from streaming services like Spotify or Pandora.
“Play Lucky Trivia”
I love trivia. I’m a devoted Jeopardy fan. I’ve been watching since high school. People know not to bother me between 7 and 7:30pm on weekdays, because my part of my daily routine is to have dinner while watching the show. With the command, the Google assistant will ask you how many players will be participating. It’ll then ask you to repeat a word, which then happens to be your player name from then on. There are 5 rounds, one multiple choice question per person. It’s pretty fun, although the first time I played, the questions didn’t seem too fair. The first player received questions like “In what year was the computer invented?” while the second player received questions like “What country starts with the letter ‘B’? Brazil or Romania?”
This one is the least used, but it’s still cool that it has a few touch features left. Google “permanently removed” the top touch functionality
because it was spying on users “to avoid any confusion and give you complete peace of mind”. You can still adjust the volume by touching the sides of the device.
“Talk to my bus stop”
I live right off several muni/bus lines, so it’s pretty convenient to be able to ask the Google Assistant to tell you when the next buses will be coming, without going into your phone. This seems to work with the SF Muni system, but I’m sure there may be similar commands for other cities.
You’d first have to use “talk to my bus stop.” It will then ask you to set your location. After the initial setup, you can use commands such as:
“Talk to my bus stop. When is the next inbound J?”
“Ask my bus stop when the next inbound L is coming.”
“Tell my bus stop to update my location.”
It will give you the ETA for the next two buses.
“Talk to spare the air”
I LOVE LOVE LOVE using my fireplace. But if air quality is forecast to be unhealthy, a Spare the Air Alert will be called. I usually just visit sparetheair.org on my phone before burning any wood, but now, I can just say “talk to spare the air” and it will tell me today’s Spare the Air status and tomorrow, if available. Or you can just say:
“ask spare the air about today”
“ask spare the air about tomorrow”
Bonus: Instead of “Hey Google” or “Ok Google,” I would use the following (and they work!):
“Hey Boo Boo”
I’ve only had this thing for about a week. I can see how this thing would be great for a parent trying to hold a baby while trying to cook or unload groceries. We’ll see if I find any other useful commands.