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The best Google Home commands in 2021

If you have Google Home or a similar smart Nest device in your house, then Google Assistant is just a quick voice command away. And while some voice commands are obvious, like asking about the weather or creating a reminder for later in the day, there are other excellent, useful commands that many users don’t know about. We’re working to change that with this updated list of the best commands for a Google Home or Nest device, and why they’re great to keep in rotation!

Note: Google Assistant can also control a host of various compatible smart devices. Take a look at our list for some examples when you feel like building out your smart home a bit more.

Google Nest Hub 2nd Gen on table.
John Velasco / Digital Trends

“Hey Google, call Steve on speaker”

This makes excellent use of the smart speaker functions on a Home or Nest device so you don’t have to pull out your phone to have a quick conversation with someone. It helps save time and is handy if you are otherwise preoccupied (cooking, unloading groceries, fighting off zombies, etc.).

“Hey Google, book a table at [restaurant]”

Restaurants have been especially busy lately, and it may be getting harder for you to find a table at one of your favorite spots. Google Assistant can interface with the restaurant and help you book seats with just a few simple voice commands. The caveat is that this only works with compatible restaurants, so it may take a bit of trial and error to find out which restaurants around your area support it.

“Hey Google, it’s homework time”

This command puts Google in a homework mode where the Assistant is ready to help out with all kinds of homework-based questions. It can help teach about historical events, parse out some of the harder words students may not be familiar with, explain concepts, help translate, and a whole lot more. It’s a great tool to help engage students who may otherwise find homework boring or are at a difficult spot and need some A.I. pointers. This works with the normal Google Assistant interaction, of course, but the homework command mode may be easier for younger students to work with.

Man sitting on sofa giving a Google Home a voice command.

“Hey Google, talk to MetLife”

The MetLife tool on Google Assistant opens up capabilities to find health services near you. For example, after the initial command, you can say something like, “Find an eye doctor in [location]” or “Find a Spanish-speaking dentist in [location].” You can even ask questions about the costs of specific procedures or treatments, like, “Ask MetLife, how much does a root canal cost?” The costs will all be ballpark figures, of course, but they can be useful for planning and budgeting.

“Hey Google, talk to Headspace”

Follow this one up with something like, “Hey Google, tell Headspace I’m ready to meditate,” and the tool will run you through a unique daily meditation that you can do right in your living room. The app also supports a sleep exercise for when you are ready to unwind and head to bed, along with a basics course if you are new to meditation and breathing techniques. It’s a great way to reduce stress if your world is feeling a little too chaotic.

“Hey Google, talk to Help Shopper”

Help Shopper is a hub for buying food: You can use commands like, “Ask Help Shopper to add a new item, [item name]” to create a quick grocery list, with the ability to create different categories (produce, gluten-free, tomorrow night, etc.). You can also search for loyalty cards or store coupons to help save money. When your food is in the fridge or at hand, you can also say things like, “Ask Help Shopper how to store cherry tomatoes” or “Ask Help Shopper how long cooked chicken lasts in the refrigerator.”

Man holding child and looking at a Nest Hub device.

“Hey Google, create a routine”

Once you have a variety of smart devices linked to your Google Assistant, use this command to tie them all together in a single routine. For example, you can create a voice command like “Good morning” to start a daily routine to give a weather update, turn on your lights, increase the smart thermostat, play your favorite morning playlist, and offer any available traffic information. The more smart devices that are linked to your device, the more in-depth you can go.

“Hey Google, talk to Just Watch”

This unofficial app is still incredibly useful as it taps into the Justwatch API to get tons of information about what’s currently streaming. For example, once the skill responds, you can reply with the show or movie that you are interested in, like, “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The device can then say something like, “Judas and the Black Messiah is available on HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video.” This can be very useful, as movies and shows can bounce around the major streaming services quite a lot. You can also narrow it down to your specific country to avoid any regional restriction issues.

A Nest mini attached to a wall.

“Hey Google, tell me about my day”

This is a native Google Assistant command that will summarize the events, reminders, and activities that you have logged for the day. If you use Google Assistant to create reminders or make events for Google Calendar, it’s a good idea to whip out this command in the morning while you are getting ready for the day and don’t want any task to catch you by surprise.

Hey Google and Chromecast

Finally, we want to remind you that if you have a Chromecast device, it can pair very well with your Google Home/Nest device for easy voice commands to your entertainment system. You can say things like, “Hey Google, turn on/power off my TV,” to get started, or something like, “Hey Google, play music/[specific artist] on my TV.” All basic playback controls are supported when you’re settled down to watch video as well!

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Tyler Lacoma
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