Google Assistant has been around since 2016, so you’ve undoubtedly picked up on a lot of the tricks that Google’s voice-activated helper is capable of, from setting alarms and timers to performing calculations and looking up definitions. But the number of skills at the Google Assistant’s disposal is growing all the time, and there are some that you may not have come across so far.
As always, you need to put a “hey Google” or “OK Google” ahead of each of these commands. Now let’s dive in.
1. Take screenshots
A simple “take a screenshot” will grab an instant screenshot of your Android device, though you can’t use this one on the other devices compatible with Google Assistant — yet.
2. Play podcasts
Like every other company out there, Google is keen on podcasts. You can say “play the latest episode from…” followed by the name of the podcast to start listening.
3. Dig into your photos
With Google Photos open on a Pixel phone, you can tell Google Assistant to “show me pictures of…” a place, then follow it up with “the ones at…” and a particular landmark. The example Google gives is “show me New York pictures” and then “the ones at Central Park”, so you can adjust the commands to match your own travels and collection of images.
4. Track your exercise
Wear OS might not be the most popular smartwatch platform in the world, but it does feature tight Google Assistant integration. You can use commands such as “track my run” and “start a bike ride” to begin logging your exercise without touching your watch.
5. Watch some TV
You can tell Google Assistant to play particular movies, shows, or types of video on Netflix or YouTube. Just say “play…” and then what you want to watch and on which app. This works with Android TVs and Chromecasts, as well as on Android phones and tablets.
6. Find your phone
This one works with smart speakers and smart displays with Google Assistant on board. Say “find my phone” and your phone will start ringing, even if it’s on silent — as long as it’s an Android phone signed into the same Google account as your speaker or display.
7. Control your apps
Google Assistant can interact with numerous apps on Android, including Mint, Instagram, Outlook, Discord, and Spotify. You can use commands like “search for candles on Etsy” or “send money in Venmo” to save yourself some taps on the screen. Use the command “show my shortcuts” to see all the available ones based on the apps you’ve got installed.
8. Read out articles on the web
If you’re using Google Chrome on Android then you can say “read it” to the Google Assistant with a webpage open, and you’ll get the text of the page spoken back to you.
9. Take a timed photo
Make sure you get the perfect picture every time on Android phones by saying “take a photo in five seconds” or “take a selfie in 10 seconds,” adjusting the countdown as needed.
10. Remember where you put stuff
Google Assistant’s long memory might be a bit of a privacy nightmare, but it can help you keep track of where everything is. Tell the Assistant to “remember that my spare keys are in the filing cabinet” and when you later ask “where are my spare keys?” you’ll get the right answer back. You can choose to get the Assistant to remember other bits of information too, such as what your friend’s favourite cake is, or what your locker number is.
11. Hear animal sounds
You might be surprised at how much educational content is packed into Google Assistant for the kids. Try asking, “What does an elephant sound like?” for example, or choose a different animal (the Assistant can carry on picking animals for you if necessary).
12. Wind down slowly
You probably knew that Google Assistant can play music and set timers, but did you realise that you can combine the two — if you’re drifting off to sleep, for example. Just tell the Google Assistant to, “Stop the music in…” and pick your time period to start the timer.
13. Broadcast to multiple speakers at once
If you’ve got a bunch of Google Nest speakers and displays around the home, then you can broadcast a message to all of them at once — just say “broadcast” and then your message.
14. Flip a coin or roll a die
A classic Google search engine trick has made its way over to Google Assistant — ask to “flip a coin” or “roll a die” and the Assistant obliges, with a nice animation on certain devices.
15. Create and edit lists
Another way to take advantage of Google Assistant’s powers of recall is to have it manage lists. If you’ve got a shopping list, for example, you can say, “Add eggs to my shopping list” and then hear everything at once with a, “What’s on my shopping list?” voice command.
16. Delete voice recordings
You can delete the voice recordings Google Assistant has logged via your Google account page on the web, but you can also do it through the Assistant itself with commands like, “Delete the last thing I said to you,” or, “Delete everything I said to you last week.”
17. Mute your phone
This one is exclusive to recent Pixel phones, but is useful: You can tell Google Assistant to “turn on Do Not Disturb” to apply the quiet mode using the current default settings.