How to turn Google Home into a white noise machine

Trouble sleeping? Here's how you can use Google Home as an ambient noise generator.

Taylor Martin CNET Contributor
Taylor Martin has covered technology online for over six years. He has reviewed smartphones for Pocketnow and Android Authority and loves building stuff on his YouTube channel, MOD. He has a dangerous obsession with coffee and is afraid of free time.
Taylor Martin
2 min read

Despite all it can do, first and foremost, Google Home is still a speaker. It specializes in streaming music , playing your favorite podcasts and keeping you up to date on what's happening in the world. But it can also help you relax or fall asleep with ambient sounds.

Here is how you can turn your Google Home into a sound machine.

'OK, Google, help me relax.'

Like Alexa, it's very simple to play ambient sounds or white noise with Google Home. You can specifically request certain sounds through Google Play Music, Spotify or YouTube Music .

However, Google Home has a selection of ambient sounds built-in, as well. To play one of them at random, just say, "OK, Google, help me relax." Here are some other things you can say:

  • "OK, Google, play ambient noise."
  • "OK, Google, play forest sounds."
  • "OK, Google, play white noise."
  • "OK, Google, what other ambient sounds do you know?"

Sadly, there is no sleep timer function on Google Home yet. The dedicated support page for relaxing with Google Home says you can set a specific duration for ambient sounds to play. However, in our experience, if you say something like, "Hey, Google, play river sounds for two hours," it doesn't play one of the built-in ambient sounds. Instead, it locates and plays a two-hour river soundtrack or playlist from Spotify or Google Play Music, depending on which you have set as your default.

That said, when you request any of the in-built ambient sounds, they will play for one hour, if you do not manually stop them sooner.

The full list of baked-in sounds you can play with Google Home are:

  • Babbling brook
  • Country night
  • Fireplace
  • Forest
  • Nature
  • Ocean
  • Oscillating fan
  • Outdoor
  • Rain
  • Relaxing
  • River
  • Running water
  • Thunderstorm
  • Water
  • White noise

If you ask for something not on this list, such as coffee shop sounds or city sounds, it will try to locate and play the request using your default music streaming service. These will not automatically turn off after one hour, but will stop playing after the track or playlist has finished.