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Smart Home

Set up your Google Home speaker the right way

There's so much you can do with your Google Home, but first, you have to get it working.

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Setting up your Google Home speakers take just a few steps with the app. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Google Home ($99) has come a long way since its debut in 2016. The original speaker is now complemented by the Google Home Mini ($49) and the new Nest Home products, formerly known as the Google Home Hub ($129). That means you have lots of smart speakers to work with, and even more if you count smart displays made by LG and JBL (note that these may have a slightly different setup process).

It's easy to set up your Google Home ($99 at Walmart) speaker for the first time, to adding your music and video accounts so you can play your tunes and kick start a movie night using just your voice.

We'll also tell you what you need to do to automatically pay for things you order through Google Home.

How to set up Google Home from the app

1. Plug in your Google Home speaker.

2. Download the free Google Home app on your phone.

3. Sign into Google with your email address.

4. Tap to enable location services. (You don't have to do this, of course, it just helps the Assistant provide you with more personalized information. Turn it on or off at any time.)

5. Tap "+" > Add new device > Choose where "home" is for your device (i.e. your apartment or house, the office, etc.).

6. The Google Home app will search for your device. Tap "yes" when the app locates it. You'll hear a chime when it's successfully connected and tap "yes" again.

7. Choose where your device is (i.e. bedroom, kitchen, shed, office, add a custom room, and more).

8. Select and sign into your local Wi-Fi network. Tap Connect.

9. Next, you can help Google learn your voice with Voice Match so you can give commands and get more personalized results. It might already know your voice if you've been using Assistant on your phone. If you've already set up Voice Match, just tap Yes, I'm In.

10. If you haven't set up Voice Match, follow the prompts from Google. You'll repeat a few phrases (Hey Google, OK Google, etc.). Once the Assistant is trained, tap Continue.

11. Then you'll choose your assistant's voice (male or female; no cool accents, sorry). Choose one and tap Next.

12. Enter your home or office address, so that your Google Home can share localized specifics like the weather and traffic). Tap Next.

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Add your music services

Once you've gotten to this stage, Google will give you the option to link your music streaming service so Google Assistant can play songs on your account.

You won't need an account to say, "Hey Google, play The Beatles" on YouTube Music and Google Play Music, but if you don't have one, you'll hear ads at intervals.  If you do subscribe, linking your account will skip the ads and let you access your custom playlists.

You can also link your Spotify, Pandora and Deezer accounts to your Google Home speaker. Follow the prompts during your initial set up, or add it later. Tap "+" on the app's main page >Music & Audio > select your music app(s) and sign into the music app (without leaving the Google app).

Add your video accounts

If you're a big TV and movie fan, don't skip this step! By logging into your Netflix, CBS, HBO Now, Starz and Viki accounts, you can stream videos on your TV or smart display without lifting a finger.

You'll say, "OK, Google, play Stranger Things on Netflix," and software magic takes care of the rest. As with your music services, you log into your accounts by tapping the "+" button in the Google Home app and signing into the service. Give it a test drive to make sure it's working before moving on.

We have even more tips on playing Netflix and YouTube videos from your Google Home. The device also supports your Chromecast.

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Chris Monroe/CNET

Pay for stuff with your voice

You don't have to link a debit or credit card to your Google Home by any means, but if you do, it can make certain tasks easier. You can shop on Google Express, order takeout or call Uber or Lyft.

You can add a payment card during your initial set up by tapping "Add a payment method" in the setup screen in the Google Home app. You can add any of these services and platforms later.

Here's how to set it up:

1. Tap the profile icon in the lower right.

2. Tap Settings.

3. Tap Payments > Next.

4. Google might have your card saved depending on your shopping habits. If you want to add a different card, tap Add Credit or Debit Card. If your card is already listed, tap the card number.

5. Add your address for deliveries.

6. From here you can customize your settings. Toggle yes or no to let Google allow Assistant to make purchases, authorize your identity before paying or use your fingerprint to confirm your identity. Finally, confirm that the card details and your address are correct and tap Done.

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