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Google has 3 cool new Home features that you can now use



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Run custom commands without saying a word with the new widgets on the Google Home home screen on Android.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Getting things done Google home just got a little easier this week, thanks to a trio of updates that make it and – more importantly – trigger routine commands a little smoother. Even though it is one of our favorite things to do with Google Home create custom assignments (called “Routines”), the process to make them has always been a bit clumsy. When it came time to execute them, Google Home limited you to pretty much just voice commands.

But not anymore. First, Google brought it “Home and Away” function from Nest that allows you to automatically trigger commands when you leave or return home (here’s how to set that up). Then, over the past week, Google added app buttons, Android home screen widgets for on-demand access, and the ability to trigger your routines based on sunrise and sunset times for wherever you live (borrowed, it turns out, from Google Home’s new scheduling feature).

That’s a lot of options to work with, but once you get the hang of them, they become second nature. Here’s how to run custom commands with all of these new Google Home routine triggers.

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With Google Home, you can now trigger custom commands based on sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Dale Smith / CNET

Set your custom commands to track the sun

Many things in life follow a set schedule – what time you start work, when the hardware store closes, etc. But other events, such as when it gets dark or when daylight breaks for the first time, shift throughout the year. While it may be wise to turn on the lights in your living room at 6pm in mid-January, the evening may not fall well after 9pm, where you live, in June.

That’s where scheduling a routine around sunrise or sunset comes in handy. For example, set your lights to turn on just before sunset and you don’t have to adjust the setting again, even if the days get shorter or longer. Here’s how to do it:

1. Open the Google Home app and tap it Routines buttonand then tap it plus (+) sign in the lower right corner.

2. below New routine, crane + Add appetizerthen tap Sunrise Sunset.

3. below Select an event, choose either one sunrise or Sunset.

4. Crane Sunrise location to choose where to track the sunrise or sunset (even in the same time zone, it can vary up to an hour depending on the location).

5. Crane When the sun comes up to choose an offset, from 4 hours before to 4 hours after sunrise or sunset (for example, you want the lights to come on in the hour before sunset).

6. below Repeats each, tap which days of the week you want this routine to occur.

7. If your routine has an audio component (play music, report the weather, etc.), tap Hear assistant audio on this device and choose one of your speakers.

8. Switch Receive a notification on your phone when this routine starts on or off if you want a notification and tap Done.

You have to tap Add voting starter to create a voice command that also triggers your routine, even if you never intend to save it. Otherwise, continue creating a routine as you normally would (here are some simple instructions for how to do that).

Nest audio

Google introduced the new Nest Audio earlier this year and has been adding features ever since.

Juan Garzon / CNET

Silently activate routines with a tap

Once you’ve constructed a few routines, you don’t necessarily need to give a voice command or wait for the scheduled time to activate them. Google has added little recently triangular play buttons to the right of any routines listed in the app. Just tap on one of these and a little notification should appear at the bottom with the text Start routine to let you know it’s in progress.

Android users can routinely add widgets to their home screen

If opening the Google Home app is a step too much for you – and you happen to be using an Android phone – you can create a home screen widget for any routine you create. Here’s how:

1. Open the Google Home appand then tap it Routines and tap the routine you want to create a widget for.

2. At the top of the screen, just to the left of it Save button, there is one icon from a phone screen with an arrow pointing inward – tap it.

3. On the screen that appears, below Add to home screen, you will see the name of the routine, a Google Home icon, and two options: Cancel or Add automatically. Tap the last.

You now have an icon on your home screen that you can press to activate that particular routine.

Google has been in the process of adding features lately. Check out how to use this The new Google Home media controls here. You can now also link your Apple Music account to Google Home by following these steps for setting up music. And make sure to not only download the Google Home app, but also these other apps too to get the most out of your smart speakers.


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