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Enter Zoom calls and other hidden Google Home talents we’ve discovered



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Google Home keeps adding new features every few weeks.

Dale Smith / CNET

Most Google home characteristics are quite clear. Tell your smart speaker to play music and it will (as long as you follow these steps for the best music setup first). Ask about the weather and you will get the weather forecast (explore your Weather options for Google Home here). But some Google Home tricks, despite being pretty cool, are tucked out of sight.

There has been a blizzard of Google Home feature updates in recent weeks: new settings for home and on the go, a lot of different ways to activate routines, Google Home is finally getting friendly with Apple Music. There are also a few more updates that have flown under the radar, such as the recently added ability to Summon Zoom.

Here are three things you might not have known Google Home could do, either because they’re brand new features or because they’re buried so deeply you’d be lucky to find them.

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For now, you’ll need a Nest Hub Max to make and take Zoom calls on Google Home, but hopefully the feature will be expanded to more devices soon.

Juan Garzon / CNET

Outsource your Zoom calls to Google Home

The reason for keeping a Google Home smart device on your desk just got a lot more compelling after Google Home released the ability to make Zoom calling earlier this month. The advantage? You are not using screen space on your primary computer. The disadvantage? Right now you can alone Make and answer Zoom calls on the Nest Hub Max ($ 230 at Best Buy), the only Google Home device with a camera.

Since you don’t need a camera to join an audio-only Zoom call (you can even dial in with your phone), hopefully this feature will be extended to other devices soon. In the meantime, whether you have a Nest Hub Max or not, here’s how to set it up in the app:

1. Open the Google home app, tap your personal icon in the top right corner, then tap Assistant settings.

2. Scroll down and tap Voice and video callsthen tap Video and voice apps.

3. At the top of the screen you should see an option for Zoom, which states Create or link an account and has one chain-link icon to the right. Press link icon then tap Yes, link account.

4. The Zoom login screen will open. Enter your username and password or choose Log in with SSO (if you are using a single sign-on service such as Okta), Log in with Google or Sign up with facebookdepending on which one you use for Zoom calls.

5. Decide on the next screen if you want Accept or Sign out van Zoom who shares your information with third parties (hint: choose Sign out), then tap Authorize when asked whether or not you want to give Google Assistant access to your Zoom account information.

The Google Home app should now show that your Zoom account is linked. From there, you can say things (starting with ‘Hey, Google’ or ‘OK, Google’) like ‘join my next meeting’ or ‘join a meeting’ and, to finish, ‘Close Zoom’.

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A Google Home or Nest device is a great addition to your home office, especially with the new Workday routine.

Dale Smith / CNET

Use the daily Workday routine to simulate the office

Speaking of scenarios for using a smart speaker at work, in the fall Google Home added a feature called Workday. It’s in the section of the app where you can create custom commands called “routines” (here’s a introduction to do just that). Workday is the mother of all routines. It’s a big routine made up of a series of smaller routines to remind you to keep track of your agenda, take breaks, and so on throughout the day.

Google gets you off the ground with a preset Workday routine (thank goodness – both creating and using routines can get tedious unless you’re doing well). All you need to do is program the things you normally do at different times during the work day, such as checking your calendar at the start of your shift, and the things you might not be able to remember very well, such as getting up Or drinking water. Plus, you can encourage yourself to start your winding down routine before the end of your workday so you don’t have to spend extra time outside of office hours.

To plan your perfect workday with Google Home:

1. Open Google Home app, tap it Routines iconthen tap Business day.

2. Switch Enable routine to the On position and then choose which smart speaker is closest to your workspace.

3. Choose which days of the week you work (the default is Monday through Friday) and decide if you want to receive a notification on your phone when your workday starts.

4. If the default times don’t match your schedule, tap the arrow to the right of the time to change it. From there, go ahead and delete the tasks you don’t need (for example, if you’re working at a standing desk, you don’t need to set a ‘time to stand’ reminder) and add the tasks you want that aren’t pre-populated (for example, playing a playlist, radio station or music channel).

When you’re done building your workday, tap Save, then just work as you normally do and let Google Home do the rest.

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Use Google Home’s new Family Bell feature to plan family events such as meals throughout the day.

Dale Smith / CNET

Saved by the Google Home Family Bell

Like Workday, but geared toward the whole family, Family Bell can help bring order to the chaos that can ensue when adults and children are trapped in a house for days, weeks, or even months at a time (like, well, the biggest part of 2020). Instead of filling out the schedule for you, there are no less than 17 different preset templates for activities (like crafting) or transitions (like bedtime).

The presets are also a lot nicer than the Workday defaults – especially the announcements like “Crunch, crunch, it’s lunch time” and “Call all the secret agents. It’s your mission to get the chores done”.

Here’s how to set up Family Bell:

1. Open Google Home app, tap your personal icon in the top right corner, then tap Bell family.

2. Tap to add a preset activity + Add in the box with the activity you want to schedule and add any required details.

3. Tap to create your own bubble + Add a bubble At the top of the screen, make your own announcement, choose a time, select the days of the week you want it to happen and the speaker you want to announce. Finally, switch Switch to the On position and tap Make a new bubble to finish.

Some of the other recently added Google Home features are real game changers too, like planning tasks that take place later, the new centralized media control and all kinds new ways to fire routines.


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