10 Things You Didn’t Know The Google Assistant Could Do

By | May 9, 2022

Google Assistant is a smart helper available on almost all Android devices. And while you can use it for basic tasks like setting an alarm or sending an SMS, there’s a lot more hidden behind the scenes.

If you are already familiar with Google Assistant please dive into the commands below to learn the advanced functionality.

Have the Google Assistant Read The News To You

Did you know that the Google Assistant can read the news out loud? You can choose the topics you like from the sources you like. Plus, instead of a bland text-to-speech conversion, you’ll hear people actually reading the story.

To enable this, first go to Settings> Google on your phone. choose Account service, followed by Search, Assistant & Voice. Tap Google Assistant, then scroll down on the tab Service. choose News to view the relevant options.

Here, you can view news sources you’ve followed before and add new ones. It appears in several categories such as Liputan6, World, and Business. Sources include CNN, ABC, Bloomberg, Billboard, and more. Tap the star icon next to the one you’re interested in, then press Finished if you are satisfied.

Once you have it set up, just say “Play news” to the Google Assistant. Now, all the sources you selected will start playing one by one. You can also control playback by saying “Next” to jump to the next publication, or “Pause” or “Stop” to perform the action.

You can also play news from a single source by mentioning its name directly. For example, try saying “Play news from ABC News” to the Google Assistant to hear what’s new.

Manage Reminders and Shopping List

You probably know that you can ask a digital assistant to remind you of something at any given time. But did you know that you can use location reminders to view reminders when you arrive at a certain place?

Try saying a command like “Remind me to call Mom when I get home” to the Google Assistant. As long as you set your home location, a reminder will be sent every time you get there. Check this by visiting the same Settings page as above, but instead of tapping News, select Your place. Here you can set the location Home and Office You.

Furthermore, you can also make the Google Assistant remember items that don’t have a triggering time or location. For example, try “Remember that my house keys are in the flowerpot”.

Later, you can ask “Where are my keys?” and the Assistant will show you the relevant answer.

Finally, when you need to add something to your shopping list, just say “Add X to my shopping list”. You can also ask the Assistant to show you your shopping list.

Check Flight Schedules, Birthdays and Other Information

On Google, you’ll almost certainly come across the Knowledge Graph at some point. These are small cards that contain the answers to your search queries, along with additional information.

For example, if you ask “When was Edward Norton born?” You will see a card with his birthday. Thanks to conversational support, you can then ask “What was the first movie?” and he’ll know you’re talking about Norton.

Plus, the Google Assistant will read this card to you for a hands-free experience. So you can ask about flight status, like “Where is UA 48 now?” to find out the flight status of the aircraft. Of course, you can also ask questions about what you would Google and hear relevant information.

Perform All Types of Conversions

Don’t waste time with mental calculations; The assistant makes it easy to convert one unit to another. Ask something like “How many kilometers is 20 miles?” or “How much is 10 US dollars in euros?” and you hear the converted value spoken aloud.

You can also convert time; try “What time is it in Los Angeles if it’s noon in Tokyo?” and it will tell you.

Translate Sentences

With the help of Google Translate, the Assistant can speak whole sentences after translating from one language to another. For example, try “How to say thank you in German?” or “How do you say ‘I need help’ in Spanish?”. You will see the translated sentence appear on the screen, as well as listen to it through the speaker.

Get Traffic Information

Google Assistant can really get you out of a jam. Apart from navigating to your destination by voice, you can also check the traffic information of your location.

Ask “How was the traffic?” to view the general traffic jams in your area. Or try “How long will it take to get to Chicago?” before embarking on a journey elsewhere.

Play Music and Videos

You can play music through streaming services like Spotify and YouTube Music with sound. Try saying “Play The Story So Far” to play music from a specific artist. You can also use “Play Grayscale on YouTube” to search for your music videos.

To set your default music service, go to Settings > Google > Account services > Search, Assistant & Voice > Google Assistant > Services > Music. There, you can choose which service you want to use for music commands. Add “on YouTube Music” or similar to the end of the command to play with other services.

The assistant can also control music playback for you. Use commands like “Turn up the volume” or “Play previous song.”

Toggle Android Settings

In addition to controlling the music, there are other buttons you can control by asking the Assistant. Use “Turn on flashlight” or “Turn off Bluetooth” for easy access without having to scroll through multiple menus.

You can also ask about certain features of the app, such as “Take a selfie”. Depending on your device, this may only open the camera. But on the Pixel 4, it launches the front camera and counts down to selfies.

Internet of Things Device Control

Google Assistant works with all types of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. If you have a Philips Hue bulb, Nest thermostat, Belkin WeMo smart plug, or other smart product, you can configure the Google Assistant to work with it.

The exact command here will depend on what device you have, but general commands like “Turn off workspace lights” should work with almost any compatible bulb. To pair a smart device with the Google Assistant, return to the previously mentioned Google Assistant settings page, switch to the Assistant tab, and select Home controls.

This works fine for adding a single device, but we recommend using the Google Home app for more advanced smart homes. This makes it easier to add devices, plus you can access more options for your device.

For example, you can organize devices into rooms, which makes it easy to switch them all at once. Saying “Turn off all the lights in the bedroom” will turn off all the lights at once instead of naming them one by one.

Find Content in the App

Finally, if you use other Google services like Google Photos, the Assistant can help you find what you’re looking for. However, sometimes you have to answer your questions carefully.

For example, saying “Show me a picture of my cat” will display the cat image stored in your Google Photos. You can even fine-tune your query by saying “Show me a picture of my 2014 cat”. Similarly, “Show me a picture of my car” will post a photo of you containing the vehicle.

It’s important to use “Show me my photos about …” or “Show my photos …” because if you omit the word me, you may get Google Image search results instead of your photo library.

You can use a similar query to go to a specific Settings page and more. Additionally, you can search for messages with phrases like “Show me an email from Sam” or “Do I have any unread text from Jill?”

How You Use Google Assistant

Now you know some of the less obvious tasks that the Google Assistant can complete. The assistant is always the starter, so don’t be afraid to ask something different and see what happens!