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5 things you didn’t know your Google Assistant smart speaker could do

Google Assistant is one of the most powerful smart assistants on the market, rivaled only by Amazon’s Alexa. It’s capable of a huge variety of different tasks that can simplify your life (or just keep you entertained), but you also should know that Google Assistant can do a lot of things people aren’t aware of.

From ordering pizza to monitoring your home for potential problems, your Google Assistant smart speaker is a powerful device. The best news is that even the smallest of Google smart speakers can do these — you don’t have to have the latest entry on the market.

Google Assistant can listen for breaking glass

What’s the most common way a would-be thief enters the home? If you guessed through a door or window, you win a prize. While glass windows on doors look beautiful, they aren’t the most secure options in the world.

The good news is that Google Assistant can listen for the sound of breaking glass, whether it’s a window shattering or your dog knocking over a dish. By default, this feature is turned off — but you can enable it through the Nest Guard feature.

Google Nest Mini on table
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Glass break detection works best when the rest of the home is quiet, such as during the day when everyone is away at work or when people are sleeping. If you want to turn it on, first install Nest Guard and subscribe to Nest Aware, then open the Nest app and tap Settings > Security levels. Tap Away and Guarding or Home and Guarding, then tap Glass break detection. Turn the feature on, then choose the amount of time you want to allow before the alarm sounds.

Google Assistant can find your phone

If you’re anything like me, you have a bad habit of placing your phone somewhere and then forgetting it. Google Assistant can help with that. All you have to do is link your Google Account to your smart speaker; if you used the Google Home app to set up the speaker, your account should already be linked.

If so, just say “Hey Google, find my phone” or “Hey Google, ring my phone.” Google will call your number and it will ring, even if your phone is set to Do Not Disturb. Now you never have to make a panicked search through the house again.

Keep track of misplaced items through Google Assistant

Do you ever “put something in a safe place,” but later discover it’s too safe? In other words, you have no memory of where you left it. Whether it’s a passport or a spare key, important items are stored away from prying eyes, but this makes it easier to forget where they are.

John Velasco / Digital Trends

Google Assistant has a better memory than you. When you store something, just say “Hey Google, remember that my passport is at the bottom of the sock drawer.” When you go to search for that item, just ask Google where the item is. Assistant will respond with the information you provided before.

It even works for information, like a password. Say “Hey Google, remember that my password is password.” Google Assistant will provide the information when asked.

Google Assistant can reduce volume and brightness while you sleep

When the day winds to a close, the last thing you want is a loud response from your Google Assistant after giving a voice command — nor do you want the LEDs so bright they interfere with your sleep. The good news is that Google Assistant’s Night Mode makes it easy to control these settings.

You can activate this by opening the Google Assistant app, selecting your smart speaker from this list of devices, and then tapping Settings > Notifications & digital wellbeing. Choose Night mode > Enable night mode. 

After this, you can set up the time frame you want Night Mode to operate in. During this time, the LEDs will be dimmer and Google Assistant’s responses will be quieter. You can do this on a per-device basis — perfect for use in the bedroom.

Google Assistant can order pizza

The next time you feel a bit peckish, don’t reach for the nearest unhealthy thing in your freezer. Instead, order fresh, piping-hot pizza with as many unhealthy toppings as possible. After all, if you want something tasty, you might as well do it right. Google Assistant can order pizza for you with just voice — all you have to do is write up a few settings.

Google Nest Mini on wall
John Velasco / Digital Trends

In fact, we have an entire step-by-step guide on how to do that right here. You can order from Pizza Hut or Domino’s, so you have plenty of options. If neither of those sound appealing, Google Assistant can bring up a list of all the local pizza joints in your area along with their contact info. Just give them a call and you’re all set.

Smart speakers are often overlooked in favor of the more-versatile smart displays, but there is a time and a place for them both. Don’t disregard a smart speaker just because it lacks a screen — it’s still a powerful option that can handle a huge variety of different tasks.

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Patrick Hearn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick Hearn writes about smart home technology like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, smart light bulbs, and more. If it's a…
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