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20 Cool Google Assistant Tips You Must Learn

December 25th, 2016 - Filed under Mobile

In the last several years, we’ve seen Apple and Amazon push their virtual assistant platforms, Siri and Alexa. While Google’s had Google Now since 2012, it’s never been a personal assistant in the same vein as Siri and Alexa. Instead, it acted as more of a streamlined search engine.

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This changed in 2016 with the release of Google’s Pixel phones. Google Assistant is here, and it’s already making an impact on the personal assistant space. Like all assistant apps, Assistant has its own tricks and shortcuts to make users’ lives easier. If you’re a new user, check out these 20 tips to help you become an expert on Google’s new product.

1. Unlock Your Device

This sounds trivial when you first hear it, as unlocking your device doesn’t seem like a complicated task. We live in an era of fingerprint sensors and passcodes, however. iPhone owners have to pick their phone up to unlock it. With Assistant, you can unlock your phone just by using your voice, enabling true hands-free operation.

2. Keep up on News

There are so many news outlets in today’s world that it’s borderline impossible to keep up on them manually. Assistant fixes this problem to some degree. It intelligently gathers news stories that it thinks you’ll be interested in and then presents them as an individualized feed.

3. Integrate with Google Allo

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Assistant is far from Google’s only major product release this year. It also debuted its Allo messaging platform a few months back. The two work together, as you can go into Allo and start a conversation with Assistant by choosing it from your contacts. This lets you have voice-free interactions with Assistant for those times when you don’t want others to be able to listen in.

4. @Google in Allo

Conversations with friends in Google Allo also benefit from Assistant’s presence. If you need to look up something, such as when the football game starts, you can simply type “@Google” in your Allo conversation. Then you can ask Assistant without leaving your conversation.

5. Daily Briefing

The daily briefing is an excellent feature in Assistant. Simply ask what your day looks like, and Assistant will give you a summary of the items on your calendar and anything else noteworthy for the day.

6. Control Music

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Assistant also does a great job of playing DJ. Since it can interface directly with Google Music, you can ask Assistant to play music based on your mood, the artist you want to hear or virtually any other criteria. Assistant will then start your music for you, saving the time of going into another app and navigating through your library.

7. Change Units

By default, Assistant uses imperial measurements. If you’d rather hear the weather in Celsius or measurements in metric units, all you have to do is ask!

8. Translate

Just like it can translate between imperial and metric, Assistant can also translate between different languages. Ask it to translate some text or a phrase, and it will return a translation to one of more than 50 languages.

9. Alarms

This is another neat shortcut to save a few taps and swipes. Instead of going into your clock app and configuring alarms individually, just ask Assistant to do it.

10. Sing a Song

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While most Assistant features are quite useful, some are just entertaining Easter eggs. This falls into the latter category. You can ask Assistant to sing Happy Birthday or one of a number of other common songs, and it will oblige.

11. Change Your Name

Is your name Edward on your Google profile, but you prefer to go by Ed? Tell Assistant to call you Ed, or any other nickname you prefer, and it will change your name moving forward.

12. Set Reminders

If you’re on the go and remember something important, you don’t have to be hamstrung by opening a reminder app and filling it out. Just tell Assistant what and when you need to be reminded of, and it will take care of the rest.

13. Smart Replies in Allo

Assistant has even deeper Allo integration. If someone asks you a common question in Allo, such as your address, Assistant will suggest the appropriate response.

14. Settle a Decision

Can’t make up your mind on something? Ask Assistant to flip a coin, and it will help you settle any decision you’re torn on.

15. Watch Netflix

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Just like it can control your music, Assistant can also control your Netflix. If you know what you want to watch, just ask Assistant to start it instead of navigating through Netflix’s layers of menus.

16. Recite Poetry and Jokes

This is another Easter egg similar to singing songs, but it’s fun functionality you might use once or twice. Assistant will tell a joke or recite different poems if you ask it to.

17. Browse Photos

Google’s deep-learning Photos service can categorize your images based on the subject. Coupled with Assistant technology, this means you can ask Google to bring up photos of your dog, and it will automatically pull up all of the dog photos you have saved.

18. Get Directions

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Voice-activated directions have been in smartphones for years, but it’s always worth repeating for newer users. If you’re in the car and need to navigate somewhere, you can just ask Assistant – no need to take your eyes off the road.

19. Cure Boredom

If you get bored, just let Assistant know! Google built an array of games into the service. None of these are going to be as full-fledged as standalone releases, but it will definitely help you pass ten minutes while waiting in line.

20. I’m Feeling Lucky

A throwback to Google’s earlier days, this is related to the games feature we just mentioned. Tell Assistant that you’re feeling lucky, and it will take you to an audio-only trivia game – another great time killer!

The personal assistant software field is starting to get very interesting. The last few years have seen major leaps from Amazon and Apple, and now Google is seriously in the mix and introducing their ideas. As time goes on and these features evolve, we may soon see a day where we use our phones assistant apps more than we use the phones themselves! Until then, enjoy these tips and get the most out of Google Assistant.

Guest Author: Stephen Twomey

Stephen Twomey is an entrepreneur and the founder of MasterMindSEO. When he is not saving his client’s sanity, he is often found lifting things up and putting them down. He loves spending time with his wife and three young sons.

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