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Smart Home

Google's routines look ready for prime time at CES

Control multiple smart devices, check on your day, get the news and more with a single command.

lenovo-smart-display-with-google-assistant-3277-010

Routines can make use of the screens on devices like the Lenovo Smart Display. 

Josh Miller/CNET

I've been eagerly awaiting Google's routines since the company announced they were in the works back in October. At CES, it looks like my wait is nearly over. I've seen routines in action, and while they look similar to Apple's Scenes or Amazon's routines, Google's have the potential to be even better.

I saw the demo while getting hands-on time with the Lenovo Smart Display -- an Amazon Echo Show competitor with Google Assistant built-in. Google's representative simply said, "Hey, Google, good morning," and a lamp turned on, then Google Assistant showed the weather, a calendar for the day, and started playing a personalized news feed.

Apple has Scenes in HomeKit (the company's smart home software) that let you control multiple smart home devices with a single, customizable command. Amazon added routines to its digital assistant Alexa's repertoire back in October. Routines not only let you trigger multiple smart home devices, you can also get a news briefing and see the weather and traffic in your area.

Google's routines still aren't live to the public just yet. A representative promised they'd roll out by the end of the month. Once they're live, you'll be able to do everything you can do with Alexa, plus get calendar updates from your Google Calendar. A device with a screen such as the Lenovo Smart Display will also be able to show you extra details and play you the news via YouTube.

Given the prevalence of Google's other services such as Maps and Calendar, routines that leverage that info could be extremely helpful, in addition to being a convenient extra in the smart home. We'll need to wait until the summer to get our hands on the Lenovo Smart Display. Hopefully, we'll be able to take advantage of routines on other Google Assistant devices such as the Google Home smart speaker before then.

What to expect from the smart home at CES 2018: We take a look at the smart home and appliance trends we expect to see this year.

CES 2018: CNET's complete coverage of tech's biggest show.