8 Essential Google Nest Commands You Need to Try Now
Google Assistant can make life simpler with commands for temperature control, translating, cleaning and more.
Shelby BrownEditor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Equipping your house (or even just one room) with smart light bulbs is another way to take advantage of a Google Home or Nest. You do need special light bulbs to make this one work and they're quite a bit more expensive than your average bulb. We use Philips Hue's smart LEDs in our bedroom. It's really nice if I'm reading in bed with the lights on and start to get drowsy. All I need to say is, "Hey Google, turn the lights off." To bring the light back up, just say, "Hey Google, turn on the lights." You can also specify brightness, dimness and change the color.
Google Home and Nest support a number of bulbs now in addition to Philips Hue like Lifix and others. To add a new bulb, make sure your app is up to date, tap Add > Set up device > New Devices > Next. From there, follow the on-screen instructions.
You can control the thermostat from the app too, no talking necessary (Google Home app > choose the thermostat icon > change the temperature) One of my favorite parts about the Nest is that it learns how you like your temperature and adapts. For example, our Nest gets cooler at night before bed and warms up before we leave for work. The Nest can also remind you to change your air filter.
3. An added bonus to setting an alarm
to wake you up in the morning is a bit easier than setting the alarm on your phone's clock or -- gasp -- a real clock. Simply say, "Hey, Google, set my alarm for..." and give your desired time. The alarm will sound and to shut it off, you just have to say "stop."
Of course, you don't have to be turning in for the night to use the alarm. You can also say, "Hey, Google, set a timer for..." which keeps your hands free during workouts, cooking or if you're coloring your hair. To silence the alarm, again, just say, "stop." You don't have to say, "Hey, Google or OK, Google" before that.
4. Music, news and podcasts
To play your favorite songs and podcasts, make sure your preferred music app --
, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora and Deezer are supported -- is linked to your Google Home app. From there, you can ask Google to play a specific song or genre (e.g., "Hey, Google, play '90s rock"). If you like a song, you can ask Google to save it on the app. To end your tunes, "Hey, Google, stop the music" is your go-to phrase.
You can also use the smart speaker with podcasts, but you have to ask for a specific one (e.g. "...play Stuff You Missed in History Class"). If you stopped listening in the middle of an episode -- either on Google Home or Nest or your smartphone, it'll pick up where you left off. To hear the day's headlines you can customize your favorite news sources on the Google Home app and change the order they're played in. Most news stations have a podcast, so you can ask Google to play that, as well.
5. Get the weather forecast -- from today or next week
Are you going to need an umbrella today? Did it just get really cold? Just ask Google what the weather is like and it will give you the current temperature and an overview for the rest of the day wherever you are. Google can give forecasts further out, as well, if you ask for the weekend or next week.
6. Clean up your act
Google Nest works with most robot vacuums that have apps. Depending on the make and model, you can use Google Assistant and a Nest speaker to order your vacuum to start, stop and pause, direct it to clean a specific room or find it if you've misplaced it.
7. Find movies playing nearby
When you ask "Which movies are playing?" Google will list several new titles and ask which film interests you. From there, Google can help you pick a time and tell you how to buy tickets at your nearest theater through Fandango.
8. Speak a new language
Google Home can translate up to 50 languages in real time, which comes in handy if you're doing homework, talking to a non-native English speaker or just looking for a sophisticated turn of phrase.