Earlier this month, Google unveiled Actions for Google Assistant. Actions are a lot like Skills for Amazon's Alexa speakers in that they allow third-party developers to easily integrate their apps and services with the brains of the Google Home ($99 at Target) speakers.
This means that if you want support for a device or service with any Google Assistant device, like the Google Home or Pixel phones, you won't have to wait for direct support from Google. Instead, developers can begin integrating with Google Assistant right now, and many already have.
These Actions allow you to call an Uber, order a pizza from Domino's or play games using Google Home. Here is how you can begin using third-party services on Google Home now.
Actions for Google Assistant
The first third-party support to come this month was Netflix, which lets you throw your favorite Netflix shows and movies to a nearby Chromecast.
However, many more services have since been added to the rapidly growing list. Currently, there are 51 services available in the Google Home app. Below are 10 of the most notable:
- Food Network
- NBC News
- NPR One
- The Wall Street Journal
How to use Actions on Google Home
Many of these third-party services simply work out of the box, which is one of the major differences between Actions for Google Assistant and skills for Alexa.
You must manually enable any skill you want to use with Alexa, which makes skills feel more like apps for your Alexa speaker.
On the other hand, with Google Home, most published Actions are available to use as soon as they're in the Services section of the Google Home app, no setup required. For instance, to play the Akinator game, you never have to enable anything on Google Home. Just say, "OK Google, let me talk to Akinator," and the game will begin. It feels much more like vertical integration, like your Google Home is just getting smarter every day.
That said, some services, such as Uber or Todoist, do require you to link your account. To do this, open the Google Home app on your iOS or Android device and tap the hamburger button in the top left corner of the app. Select More settings and tap Services. Scroll to find the service you want to activate and tap on its name. This will load the details page for that service. Tap Link Account and follow the on-screen instructions to authorize your account.
To use any of the services available, you need to know the invocation for it. You can look up how to interact with a service by opening its page in the Services section of the Google Home app. Some examples of how to launch or interact with that Action will be shown at the bottom of the page.
In many cases, as long as you know the name of the service, you can just ask Google to let you talk to it. For example, you can say, "OK Google, let me talk to Domino's," or, "OK Google, talk to Good Code Tips" to launch one of the services. From there, the Action will walk you through how to use it with voice prompts.