How to use Google Assistant, plus all the ‘OK, Google’ commands you need to know

One of the best things about using Google on your smartphone is the voice commands. Using just your voice you can get your device to do all sorts of things on your behalf. It’s fast, convenient, and still feels a bit like the future. The complete list of “OK, Google” commands and compatible apps and devices has grown considerably over time, meaning there are likely things you can do with Google that you’re not even aware of. To find out more, check out everything you need to know about Google Assistant.

If you own an Android device, you might want to turn on “OK, Google” so that you can start using Google Assistant without having to tap the microphone icon. The first thing we need to do is make sure this feature is turned on, so let’s see if it is.

Turning on ‘OK, Google’

  1. Open your App Drawer and open the Google app, then tap the More (hamburger menu) in the corner, and go to Settings. Alternatively, you can go to Settings > Google > Search.
  2. Tap on Voice > Voice Match, and turn on Access with Voice Match. You may also want to toggle on Unlock with Voice Match if you’d like to be able to use “OK, Google” even when your phone is locked.
  3. Follow the instructions to train your phone to respond to your voice.
  4. If you’re having trouble when you say “OK, Google,” and it doesn’t seem to be working for you, then try tapping Retrain voice model, or Delete voice model and set it up again.

Now that it’s turned on, we can start using voice commands. Let’s take a look at all the different commands you can use with your device. All you have to do is say “OK, Google,” or “Hey, Google,” and Google will start listening to your commands. You can always tap the microphone icon and issue a voice command if you prefer not to use the “OK, Google” feature, or you can tap the keyboard icon at the bottom left and type your queries and commands.

Searching and asking questions

Asking Google about anything

  • “How old is [name]?”
  • “Where was [name] born?’
  • “Who invented [anything you want to find]?”
  • “How tall is [name of person or building]?”
  • “What country is [anything you want to find] in?”
  • “What’s my commute like?”
  • “Will it rain tomorrow?”
  • “How far is [any business you want to find] from here?”
  • “What’s a good restaurant nearby?”
  • “Help me relax.”
  • “Where’s my hotel?”
  • “Browse [nameofwebsite.com],” when you want to go directly to the website.
  • “Go to [name of website],” when you want it to appear in a Google search.

Google can obviously turn to the internet for answers, but it can also search your Gmail inbox and some other places. For example, when we asked “Where’s my hotel?” it looked in Gmail and found an upcoming reservation.

Sports

  • “How is [say the name of the team] doing?”
  • “Results from [say the name of the team] last game.”
  • “When is [say the name of the team] next game?”
  • “Did [say the name of the team] win the last game?”

Weather

  • “Will it rain today?”
  • “What’s the weather like in [say location]?
  • “When is sunset?”
  • “What’s the temperature?”

Stocks

  • “What is [name] stock price?”
  • “What is [name] trending at?”

Words

  • “What is the definition of [say the word]?”
  • “Define [say the word].”
  • “Synonyms for [say the word].”

Google account and privacy settings

  • “Open Google account settings.”
  • “Show my Google search history.”
  • “Adjust my Google privacy settings.”
  • “Adjust my Google security settings.”
  • “How are you keeping my data safe?”
  • “Delete everything I said today.” (Also works for this week, month, or year)

Finding and unlocking your phone

  • “Find my phone.”
  • “Ring my phone.”

Both of these commands will work, even if your phone is on a Do Not Disturb setting. However, your Android phone location needs to be turned on, and the phone needs to be connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi. If you have multiple people using the same device (such as a Nest Home) to find their phones, then all their individual Google Accounts must be separately linked.

Messaging, notes, and music

  • “Show me my messages.”
  • “Text [name of contact] [say the message].”
  • “Send an email to [say the contact name] [say what you want to write in the email].”
  • “Call [say the name of the contact].”
  • “Call [say the name of the contact] on speakerphone.”
  • “Note to self [dictate note].”
  • “What’s this song?”
  • “Play some music.”

Other messaging, music, and social apps that work with ‘OK, Google’

If you want to send a message with Viber, and not your default text messaging app, then you would say, “OK, Google, send a message with Viber.” You can also try commands such as “take a note with Evernote,” or “search for cat videos on YouTube.”

These are all apps that are compatible with “OK, Google,” but this is not a complete list:

  • Evernote — “Make a note with Evernote.”
  • Whatsapp — “Send a Whatsapp message to [say contact name].”
  • Viber — “Send a message with Viber.”
  • Telegram — “Send a Telegram message to [say contact name].”
  • YouTube — “Search [say what you want to search for] on YouTube.”
  • Pandora — “Play [name of song] on Pandora.”
  • Google Music — “Listen to [name of song].”
  • Facebook — “Post [say your message] on Facebook.”
  • Twitter — “Post [say your message] on Twitter.”

If you want to install any of these apps, you can find them in the Play Store by saying, “OK, Google, search for [name of app] in the Play Store.”

Streaming shows with Google Assistant

Google Assistant supports a variety of streaming apps including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, YouTube TV, and many more. Some of these may need to be individually linked via the partner app for full compatibility. When this is done, it can open up a trove of commands for controlling your favorite streamer, like:

  • “Open YouTube on TV.”
  • “Play The Umbrella Academy on TV.”
  • “What’s new on Netflix?”

Other to-do and notes apps that work with ‘OK, Google’

These note apps all work by saying “Make a note with [name of app]”

  • Wunderlist
  • Trello
  • OneNote
  • Catch
  • Google Keep
  • Any.do
  • Bring!
  • AnyList

Send money with Google Assistant

As long as you have Google Pay set up on your phone, you can send money to people or request money from them using Google Assistant with commands like:

  • “Send [say contact name] $20.”
  • “Request $10 from [say contact name] for dinner tonight.”

Alarms, math, travel, and more

Alarms

  • “Set an alarm for [say time].”
  • “Set an alarm in [say how many minutes, or hours].”
  • “Set a repeating alarm for [say the label].”
  • “Set a repeating alarm for [say the label] at [say the time].”
  • “Set a repeating alarm at [say the time] for [say the label] every/on [say the days of the week, or say every day].”
  • “Show me my alarms.”
  • “When is my next alarm?”
  • “Wake me up at [say the time] then [the day, or say ‘everyday’].”

Calendar

  • “Create/Add/Schedule a meeting.”
  • “Create a calendar event.”
  • “Schedule an event [say the title of the event] then [say the day and time].”
  • “What’s my next appointment?”
  • “Show me the appointments for [say the day].”
  • “What does my [say schedule or calendar] look like on [say the day]?”

Reminders

  • “Add a reminder.”
  • “Remind me to [say what you want to be reminded of] at [say the time].”
  • “Remind me to [say what you want to be reminded of] when I get to/next time I’m at [say the location].”

Math

  • “What is the square root of [number]?”
  • “What is [number] divided by/multiplied by/plus/minus [number].”
  • “What is [number] percent of [number]?”
  • “What is [number] percent of [number] divided by/multiplied by/plus/minus [number]?”
  • “Flip a coin.”
  • “Roll a dice.”

Conversions

  • “What is [say the number] [say the conversion category: meters, years, yards, liters] in/to [say what you want to convert it to].”
  • “Convert [say the number] [say the currency] into [say the number] [say the currency].”
  • “What is the tip for [say the amount]?”

Maps and travel

  • “Where is [say the name of the location]?”
  • “Walking directions to [say the name of the location].”
  • “Show me the nearest [attractions/coffee shop/restaurant/gas station/bank/mall/etc].”
  • “How far is [say the name of the location] from [say the name of the location]?”
  • “Navigate to [say the name of the location].”
  • “Distance from here to [say the name of the location].”
  • “How far away is [say the name of the location]?”
  • “How do you say [word] in [say the language]?”
  • “What is the flight status of [say the name of the airline] [say the flight number]?”
  • “When does [say the name of a business] close?”

Translations

Google Assistant now has a built-in interpreter mode, as well as compatibility with a variety of translation apps. Without downloading anything extra, you can switch Assistant to translate with commands like these:

  • “Be my Italian interpreter.”
  • “Turn on interpreter mode.”
  • Interpret from Chinese to English.”

A tone will then play, and anything said after the tune will be translated by Google Assistant. If you’ve specified two languages, you don’t have to alternate between them; Assistant will just interpret based on the last thing you said. You can exit this mode at any time by saying “Stop” or “Quit.”

Controlling your device

  • “Take a picture/photo.”
  • “Record a video.”
  • “Take a selfie.”
  • “Increase/decrease volume.”
  • “Mute the volume.”
  • “Turn [on/off] [Flashlight, WiFi, Bluetooth].”

Games

  • “Play Lucky Trivia.”
  • “Play Animal Trivia.”
  • “Tell me a riddle.”
  • “Crystal Ball.”
  • “Roll a die.”
  • “Flip a coin.”

Other apps compatible with ‘OK, Google’

From smart device controls to apps for shopping and entertainment, there are many apps and services that are Google-compatible with Google Assistant. And the list keeps growing. For example, try ordering from Starbucks, booking an Uber, or checking your Walgreens rewards balance. Or to see more options, navigate to the Google Assistant website and search the variety of categories. 

Please note that different devices can handle specific tasks (while others can’t). For example, some functions work on your phone, and other ones are only available via Google Home speaker or with an Android TV.

To learn more, check out our guides: how to get started with Google Assistant, what Google Home can do, and our suggestions for funny questions to ask Google Assistant. It’s also helpful to note that you can turn Google Assistant off if you have privacy concerns or if you need a break from its helpfulness.

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