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Smart Home

9 unusual things to try with your Google Home speaker

The Google Home speaker isn't just for spewing facts and turning on the lights. Here are some unexpected ways it can help you through the day.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Your Google Home speaker probably gets most of its use through routines, controlling your smart home and playing games. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. 

Google has a library of Assistant apps, similar to Alexa's skills, that allow you do all sorts of new things with your smart speaker.

Below are nine unusual -- yet very helpful -- things you can do with your Google Home speakers thanks to Assistant apps.

Time Machine

The Time Machine Assistant app, sort of like This Day In History from The History Channel, will read you some of the top headlines from the same day in past years.

This app is a great way to teach your children something new about the world each day before they go to bed. And just as likely, you'll learn something you didn't know before.

Memory Aid

Memory Aid is similar to the built-in reminders feature of the Google Home. But instead of reminding you of something after a set amount of time, the Google Home will simply remember what you told it until you ask for that information again.

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For instance, if you don't want to forget where you stored your passport, you can say, "Hey, Google, remember that I put my passport in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet." If you ever forget where your passport is, you can ask, "OK, Google, what did I tell you about my passport?"

Find your lost stuff

If you tend to lose things and forget to tell Google where you stored them, you can use your Google Home to find your phone by saying, "OK, Google, find my phone," or "Hey, Google, ring my phone."

If you have a device like a Tile tracker attached to your keys, wallet, backpack, etc., you can use the use the Tile Assistant app. Then say, "Hey, Google, ask Tile to find my keys." If you don't want your Tile to ring, you can say, "OK, Google, ask Tile for the location of my wallet."

Just know that you will first have to link your Google and Tile accounts for Google Assistant to be able to locate your Tile trackers.

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Writing Prompts

Whether you're journaling or just trying to get past some pesky writer's block, the Writing Prompts app should come in handy. Just ask for a prompt and it will feed you an idea to write about.

Prompts range from something as simple as what made you smile yesterday to the beginning of a fictional story, like your phone ringing in the middle of the night and a voice telling you there is a car waiting outside.

Dress Right

Sometimes it's nice to get a simple weather forecast. Other times, it'd be nice to have an assistant tell you what attire would be appropriate for the weather. Dress Right does just that.

Just say, "OK, Google, ask Dress Right what I should wear in New York City." It will start with the weather forecast, followed by clothing recommendations based on the weather. If you want, you can ask for additional outfit suggestions based on gender.

Headspace

Meditation and relaxation are two things that are easily forgotten in our busy schedules. But you can use your Google Home speaker to help you meditate before work in the morning or when you're ready to wind down for the day.

Headspace is one of the many meditation apps available for the Google Home. Just say, "OK, Google, tell Headspace I'm ready to meditate," or, "OK, Google, ask Headspace to help me fall asleep." You will need to connect your Headspace account in order to use this app, and while it's free to use, there is a premium option.

If you'd rather try another app, there are several alternatives to choose from, such as Meditation Timer, Calm or Yoga Master.

Repeating timers

Google Home's built-in timer function is sufficient for most people's needs. However, if you like to work, study or work out using something similar to the Pomodoro Technique, try the Repeating Timers app.

To start a repeating timer, just say, "Hey, Google, talk to Repeating Timers." Then tell it the number of repetitions you want, how long you want each timer to last and how much of a pause there should be between them.

Cool Events

If you want to find all the events going on around you, try Cool Events. Set your location, and then you can check all the nearby events happening with Eventbrite, Meetup, SeatGeek and Ticketmaster. You can search events by name, type or performer.

Tell Me Something Good

In a world that feels overrun by bad news and constant tragedy, an app like Tell Me Something Good is almost necessary. All you have to do is say, "OK, Google, tell me something good." You'll receive a two- to three-sentence summary of a news article about something positive, like people who are working to benefit communities around the world.

If nothing else, these short news articles will restore some of your faith in humanity.

Here are some other things to try with your Google Home speaker.

If you're an Alexa user, try these seven unusual skills instead.