Feed your Google Home obsession with these 8 next-level tips and tricks

Ready to turn your Google Home habit into a full-blown addiction? Start here.

Sarah Mitroff Managing Editor
Sarah Mitroff is a Managing Editor for CNET, overseeing our health, fitness and wellness section. Throughout her career, she's written about mobile tech, consumer tech, business and startups for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat.
Expertise Tech, Health, Lifestyle
Dale Smith Former Associate Writer
Dale Smith is a former Associate Writer on the How-To team at CNET.
Sarah Mitroff
Dale Smith
4 min read

If getting Google Home to play music and flip the lights on and off with just your voice are the gateway to a smart home fixation, these next-level tips and tricks might leave you with a full-blown Google Home obsession. After all, it's one thing to use Google Home to listen to music, podcasts or relaxing sounds. But once you learn how to order a pizza, control your TV or estimate your morning commute with Google Home, it becomes an indispensable part of your daily routine.

The real power behind Google Home and Nest Home smart devices comes from Google Assistant, a powerful tool with hundreds (if not thousands) of connected applications. And with increasing competition from Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri, Google engineers are adding new Google Home Actions all the time.

Here are eight of the most addictive and useful things you can do with your Google Home setup that before long will have you jonesing for more.

Order a pizza, lock your doors (not necessarily at the same time)

Google Assistant connects with a ton of third party services that let you broaden its abilities. These integrations, called Google Assistant Actions, can order you a pizza from Domino's, remotely start your compatible Mercedes, or lock your doors if you have an August smart lock.

Want more? The list of Google Assistant Actions goes on and on.

Go shopping without leaving the house

Out of milk? Need more shampoo? Want to order another Google Home smart speaker? Google Assistant can handle that for you. Once you set up your payment method, you can ask your Google Home to shop for you at Target, Whole Foods, Costco, Walmart, Petsmart, Walgreens and many more stores.

Toothbrush timer

Sometimes the simplest tools are the best ones. If you usually rush through brushing your teeth, setting a tooth brushing timer is dead-simple way to make your dentist happy.

Sure, you can ask Google Assistant to "Set a timer for 2 minutes," but you can go one step further and set up your own custom command. Just say the magic phrase, like "OK Google, toothbrush time" and it starts the countdown to cleaner teeth.

The growing crowd of smart speakers is ready for your command

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Ditch your remote

Never again will you need to sift through Netflix recommendations with a remote. With Google Home, you can turn on select TV models and start playing movies and shows from Netflix, HBO, Google Play and YouTube.

Google Home also recognizes several playback commands for Netflix such as PauseStop and Start at the beginning. Just say the magic words and you get complete control over your TV.

Change Google Home's Voice


Routines set off several actions with one simple command.

Screenshot: Sarah Mitroff/CNET

If you're tired of the standard voice of Google Assistant, you can change it! From the Google Assistant iOS or Android app, just head to Settings > Preferences > Assistant Voice. There you can pick from eight different voices, some more robotic-sounding than others.

If none of them suite your tastes, singer John Legend's smooth-as-silk voice is one the options.

Your new morning routine

Imagine when you wake up, Google Assistant can relay your calendar events, turn on your bedroom lights and start making you coffee, just by saying "Hey, Google, good morning" (or any phrase you want to use). You can set this up right now with your Google Home.

To set up a Routine, as Google calls it, open the Google Assistant app and select any of the six pre-installed Routines, such as "Good morning" or "Commuting to work," or create your own from scratch. Routines can do everything from play music and read your reminders to turn on lights and smart switches and adjust your smart thermostat temperature.

Give Google Home a makeover

While the Google Home Mini and Nest Mini come in a variety of colors, the original Google Home speaker is clean, white and, frankly, lacking in the personality department.

Fortunately, it's easy to customize the speaker to better fit your taste in decor. You can swap out the gray base for official copper, black, or red options from Google. Don't like the white top part of the speaker? Cover it with a custom skin.

If you'd like to untether your Google Home from your wall outlet, you can easily install a portable battery pack for it. That lets you bring your Google Home speaker into the backyard so you can play music without running an extension cord.

Google Assistant 101: Get to know Google's voice-activated helper

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For a full and often-updated list of everything you can do with Google Home, here is every command you can use with it. Tired of Alexa and Siri fans throwing shade at Google Home? Show them what Google Home can do that their assistants can't. Unfortunately, Google Home doesn't always work absolutely perfectly, but we've got a guide to the top three problems and how to fix them so you can get things back on track.