10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Google Assistant
Google Assistant is a handy feature for your mobile device that helps you make phone calls, send texts, set reminders, and get directions through voice commands. But there are many more things Google's virtual assistant can do that you might not realize, from reading you articles on the web and screening your calls to making restaurant reservations and finding your phone.
The service comes built into most Android phones, but those with an iPhone or iPad can download the Google Assistant app from the App Store. Triggering Google Assistant is quicker on an Android device, as you need only press down on the home button at the bottom-center of the screen or say “OK, Google” or “Hey, Google.” On an iPhone, you must first open the app before giving a command.
But what can you do with Google Assistant beyond the usual tasks? Below are 10 tips for getting the most out of Google Assistant, based on feedback from actual Google employees who wanted to share some of their favorite features that they use on a daily basis.
Use Your Favorite Apps by Voice
You can ask Google Assistant to open your installed apps and request specific tasks unique to each app. The service works with many of the most popular apps, including Walmart, Instagram, Outlook, PayPal, Mint, Spotify, MyFitnessPal, and Discord.
Say things like “Hey Google, search for signed baseballs on eBay,” “Hey Google, send money in PayPal,” or “Hey Google, play jazz from Pandora.”
To see the full list of tasks you can ask Google Assistant to perform with third-party apps, say “Hey Google, show my shortcuts.” You can also create your own shortcuts. Swipe down the list and tap a specific app to create a shortcut for it. To see all the shortcuts you’ve created, tap the heading for Your shortcuts.
Read an Article Aloud
When you find an interesting article on the web through the Chrome browser, ask Google to read it aloud for you. To set this up, say “Hey Google, open Google Assistant settings.” Swipe down the Settings screen and tap General, then turn on the switch next to Use screen context.
Now use Chrome to find an article on the web that you want to read aloud. Say “Hey Google, read it,” and Google Assistant immediately starts reading it aloud. To help you follow along, the browser automatically scrolls down the page and highlights words as they are read.
You can pause and restart the reading, jump ahead or back 30 seconds, change the reading speed, and choose from multiple languages such as Spanish and German.
Don't Wait on Hold Again
Waiting on hold for customer support is always frustrating, but Google Assistant can help minimize the inconvenience by holding the line for you until a customer support representative is ready to talk. You must install the latest version of the Phone by Google app, then select the three dots at the top and select Settings > Hold for Me, and then turn on its switch.
Now when you place a call to a toll-free support line, Google Assistant will offer to hold the call for you. When a rep comes on the line, your phone will emit a chime and vibrate to alert you.
Let Google Screen Your Calls
You probably receive a lot of spam calls already, so why not let Google Assistant handle them? If you get a phone call from an unknown number or from someone you don't want to talk to, tap the Screen Call button that appears on the screen. Google Assistant will answer the call and provide a live transcription of the conversation. Jump in at any time or hang up.
Book a Restaurant Reservation
You can enlist the aid of Google Assistant to make a reservation at your favorite restaurant. Say “Hey Google, book a table at [restaurant name]” or “Make me a reservation at [restaurant name].” When prompted, provide more details, such as the number of people, the date, and the time you want to dine. Follow the steps to book the reservation and tap Confirm to send it.
Add Multiple Supported Languages
Family members in bilingual homes often have to switch back and forth between languages when using a smart device or smart assistant on their phone. However, Google Assistant lets you speak two languages interchangeably if you say “Hey Google, change language settings for Assistant.”
Tap Add a language, then select the language from the list. You can also change the primary language by dragging one language over the other in your list of added languages. Now speak the language you added, and Google Assistant will answer your question or act on your request.
Control Phone Settings
Using your voice, you can easily control many of the key settings for your phone. Say “Hey Google, turn on airplane mode,” “Hey Google, turn on do not disturb,” or “Hey Google, turn on the flashlight.”
Find Your Phone
Not sure where you left your phone? Say “Hey Google, find my phone” from another device or from a Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker connected to your account. Just keep an ear out for the ringing to track down your phone.
Use Google Assistant at the Lock Screen
Talk to Google Assistant even when your Android phone is locked. You can ask for the weather forecast, set a reminder, or get directions without having to unlock the screen.
Manage Your Data and Review Your Settings
You can control and review your data and activity by talking to Google Assistant. To delete data collected from your conversations with Google Assistant, say “Hey Google, delete the last thing I said to you” or “Hey Google, delete everything I said to you last week.” To learn more and review your privacy settings, say “Hey Google, how do you use my data.”