One of the best smart speakers can act as a hands-free remote for your smart home if you’ve already converted it or are planning to do so.
Now you can ask Google to turn on your smart lights and smart TV instead of using your phone or remote. A feature of smart speakers that you might not be aware of is the ability to chain together multiple commands so you don’t have to keep saying the wake word over and over again.
In 2017, I began the process of creating my own smart home, and since then, I’ve moved from an apartment to a house and have one of the best Google Home speakers in almost every room. I can be in any room in the house and still have my Google Nest Mini, Lenovo Smart Display, or Nest Hub Max hear and act on my commands.
Saying “Hey Google” over and over again to turn on (or off) multiple Philips Hue lights and other connected devices gets old really fast. Fortunately, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that can make multitasking with Google’s smart speakers easier.
The Word “and” Can Be Used Between Commands.
A Google Home
This one is as easy as it sounds. To combine two requests, just say “and” to Google Assistant.
For instance, I frequently find myself wanting to shut off the lights in one room as I leave it. In this case, I simply invoke Google with a phrase like “Hey Google. Toggle the switch from the bedroom to the kitchen. If you want to turn off the lights in more than one room at once, you can say something like, “Turn off the bedroom lights and the kitchen lights.”
Google’s support page(which opens in a new tab) states that you can only use “and” with two separate commands. However, I’ve found that by doing this, I can often chain together as many as four separate commands.
The use of “and” to combine commands will simplify controlling your smart home, but I’ve recently discovered an even simpler method.
Watch for The Lights on Your Smart Speaker or Smart Display
Google’s Nest Mini and Nest Audio, like most smart speakers, use a set of four lights to let you know when it’s actively listening.
I usually ignore these lights, but I recently learned that while the four are flashing on your smart speaker, you can issue another command. I can tell Google to turn off the TV and the lights in the living room without using the word “and” between the two commands.
The best part is that you can use this method to forever give commands to Google Assistant. As long as all four lights on your smart speaker are on, you can issue commands in rapid succession to accomplish any and all of your goals.
Do you have a cutting-edge smart TV, such as a Nest Hub or a Next Hub Max? The same principle applies; just make sure the four colored dots in the upper left corner of the screen are visible whenever you issue fresh commands.
Doing More with Fewer Wake Words
Both of these alternatives to the wake word “Hey Google” are great ways to get more out of your Google smart speaker. One more trick before I go, though.
A top-tier Android device will allow you to speak commands silently. Launch Google Assistant from your device, and if you prefer typing to talk, just tap the keyboard icon. For example, if you want to use Google to manage your smart home while everyone else is asleep, you can type in your commands instead of yelling them.
Create a Speaker Group
Those who are so fortunate to own multiple Google Home or Nest devices can organize their devices into a speaker group. If you have a set of compatible speakers, you can rename the groups and ask Google Assistant to play music from them.
Launch the Google Home app > A tab titled “Home” will appear in the bottom left of the screen; click this. Find the “+” in the upper left corner and tap it > If you want to make a new speaker group, select the button. Gather your Google Home and/or Nest devices of choice > Group Name > Save.
How to Filter Content
If you have young children in the house, you may want to set up age restrictions on your Google Home or Nest device to prevent them from hearing or seeing anything they shouldn’t.
Filters can be applied to the media played by Assistant and the features it offers. You can also pick and choose which devices will be subject to the filters you create, so you won’t need to worry about restricting access to the Internet on the Home Mini or Nest Mini in your secure office, for example.
Launch the Google Home app > A tab titled “Home” will appear in the bottom left of the screen; click this. Select Preferences > Digital Health > Do as instructed in the setup wizard.