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Google Home: 12 tips and tricks to get started

Want to get the most out of your new assistant? Read this.

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The Google Home ($129.00 at Overstock.com) is one of those devices that the more you use it, the more you discover it can do.

For example, did you know you can call an Uber using the Google Home? Or what about playing YouTube videos on your TV without touching a single remote or device? It's all possible, and then some.

12. Set up multiple users

The Google Home can tell users apart based on their voice after a bit of training. Open the Google Home app, and navigate to the Devices section. When viewing your Google Home device, tap on the blue bar that should read something along the lines of "Multi-user is now available," and follow the prompts.

Of course, there's a lot more to it than that, which CNET's Taylor Martin goes into detail about here.

11. Disable the microphone

Tap a button and the microphone turns off. Tap it again and it turns back on.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

On the backside of the Google Home, there's a button that stops the microphone from constantly listening for the wake phrase of "OK, Google." When pressed, you will hear "The mic is muted," from the speaker and its indicator lights will turn orange.

Press the button again to enable the microphone and use the Google Home as you normally would. Some users like to have the option of disabling the microphone when not in use, or when having a sensitive conversation near a device that's always listening.

10. Rename Google Home

Naming your Google Home speaker can make it much easier to manage multiple devices in one home.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

In the Home app on your iOS or Android device, navigate to the settings for your Google Home device. This is done by going to the Devices > Menu > Settings. Under the Device Info section, tap on Name.

Rename your Home device whatever you'd like, but keep in mind that as you add more devices to your house, you'll make to make the names easy to remember based on location. That way when you request Home to start playing music on multiple speakers, you know the name of the exact speaker you want to use and aren't left guessing.

9. Play on Chromecast from the Home

Follow the same steps to change the name of your Chromecast in order to make it easier to play content on your TV. For my testing, I renamed my Chromecast to "TV." Doing so makes it simple to tell the Google Home to play a video from YouTube on my TV. (For example: "OK Google, play Stampylongnose on my TV.")

Rename your Chromecast to something that's easy to say and remember to make interacting with it through the Google Home a breeze.

8. Discover hidden features

There's no shortage of Easter eggs hidden within Google Home. CNET's Taylor Martin has compiled a list of 40 fun Google Home voice commands ranging from "OK Google, make me laugh" to "OK Google, who's the fairest of them all?"

Each answer is a bit cheesy, if not entertaining.

7. Guest Mode

You can let guests use your Google Home speaker without letting them on your Wi-Fi network.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The Google Home acts as a Chromecast audio device, allowing friends and family members to use it without accessing your Wi-Fi network.

Enable Guest Mode by going to the Home app > Devices > Menu > Guest Mode. Enable Guest Mode and then wait for a PIN code, which you will need to give to guests in order to connect to your device.

6. When all else fails, reboot

A few taps will let you reboot the Google Home speaker.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The Google Home surely isn't immune to a hiccup here or there, and when it does, a simple reset could do the trick.

To do this, open the Home app >Devices > Menu > Reboot.

5. Set Assistant preferences

You can make the Google Assistant a little more personal by tweaking these settings.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

All of your interaction with the Google Home is done with Google Assistant, the company's updated personal assistant that's found across Android devices, iOS and the chat app Allo.

You'll want to tailor what information Google Assistant knows and can use to better help you with your requests.

Open the Home app, slide out the menu drawer from the left side of the screen and then tap on More settings.

I suggest starting with the sections News and My Day. In News, you can select various audio news updates to listen to. Use My Day to set what details are included when you prompt the Home to tell you about your day. Options include the weather, commute time, next meeting, any pending reminders and then newscasts.

Learn more tips and tricks for Google Assistant.

4. Change the music source

The Google Home currently supports Google Play Music, YouTube Red, Pandora and Spotify. To set your preferred music source, open the Music section in More settings and select a music service. If you haven't linked it to the Home yet, you'll be prompted to at that time.

Bonus: When you first set up your device, you're given a complimentary six-month subscription to YouTube Red (and by extension Google Play Music).

3. Connect services

You can hail an Uber ride from the Google Home.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Third-party services will become key to the success of Google Home. At launch, Google Home's services were limited to Uber. Now the list is rather long and full of services ranging from WebMD to Uber to an animal quiz, where Google Home tries to guess the animal you're thinking of.

Find a list of supported services by opening More settings > Services. Tap on the service you want to connect to your Google Home device, then follow the prompts.

2. Restrict inappropriate content

With the Google Home making it easy for anyone to begin playing YouTube videos and music, it's likely your kids are going to have their own requests.

In order to avoid any inappropriate content, open More settings, scroll to the bottom of the page and enable YouTube Restricted mode.

1. View command history

You can find a history of all of your commands in the Google Home app.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Google saves a copy of every voice command given to the Google Home in the Google account tied to the device. You can view all of your previous commands, and remove anything you don't want to be stored in your account with just a few taps.

Again, go to More settings, scroll to the bottom of the page and tap on My Activity.

A webpage will open, displaying the time, date and request. Tap on the play button to hear what the Google Home recorded. If you want to remove it from your history, tap on the menu button and hit Delete.

Editors' Note: This post was originally published November 3, 2016, and has since been updated to reflect new features and changes to existing features.

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