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Solve common Google Home problems before they occur with these 3 tricks



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Whether you have the Mini, the Max or the OG Google Home, nothing is more frustrating than asking for your favorite music and getting an error.


Chris Monroe / CNET

You bought a smart Google Home speaker or display because you wanted to do fun things with just your voice. And if you're like 74% of smart speaker owners, that means playing music – right? Me too. That's why nothing frustrates me more than when I ask Google Home ($ 49 at Walmart) to play something and instead of just play Google Assistant spits an error back or – even worse – does nothing, or the wrong thing.

For example, have you ever heard Google Assistant pronounce this gem? & # 39; To get help, you need to give me some more information. You can do that in the Google Home app. & # 39; I once asked for a Matchbox Twenty playlist, but that's what the Google Assistant sent back to me instead. If that happened to you, keep reading for the solution.

The fact is that for Google Home to get music requests for the first time, there are a handful of settings or commands that need to be chosen absolutely perfectly so that there is no sudden chaos. Here are a few ways to do that.

Hey Google, could you be more specific?

Worst of the message & # 39; … you need to give me some more information & # 39; is how vague it is. Fortunately, however, the solution is a breeze. It all comes down to a small privacy setting in your Google account called Web and app activity . To get there:

1. Open your Google Home app and then tap your personal icon in the top right .

2. Tap Assistant Settings and then tap Your details in the assistant.

3. Scroll down until you see Web & App Activity and toggle the switch to .

In short, so that Google Home cannot play music at all, Web and app activity must be enabled. That means that as long as you're signed into the same Google account as your Google Home, Google has your permission to include everything you do on Google sites (like Google Search) and Google apps (like Google Chrome), including using Google & # 39; s own words, "associated information such as location."

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Chvrches ("churches") is a synthpop band from Scotland, but Google Home may be playing church music if you don't say it just right.


Screenshot from CNET

A song by any other name

Asking Google Home to play music from the band Chvrches (pronounced the word & # 39; churches & # 39;) seems simple enough, but unless you fancy the Requiem of You can't just ask Mozart (ie & # 39; church music ") for" Chvrches music ". You can't just say" Hey Google, play Bad Company "and expect Google Home to know if you're talking about the band , their debut album or the hit single, all of which are called "Bad Company". "

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So, how do you get Google Home to play Chvrches music or Bad Company's debut album in its entirety? Likewise, you get it to play tunes from Haim or Bon Iver, or any album that shares its name with the band or any of its singles:

  • Make sure you say it right : Haim gets more pronounced like "high-uhm". Bon Iver is "baloney". MSTRKRFT is "masterpiece". Google it if you're not sure. There is even a YouTube channel that can help.
  • Add a specific descriptor : if you ask Google Home to play music from Chvrches, you get Mozart, but if you ask him to play music from the band Chvrches "takes care of Scottish synth pop." OK, Google, play the Bad Company album "will rock you to the full 1974 release." Play the song Like a Virgin "will queue up the Madonna single, not the whole LP.
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Google subjects its Google Home devices to a series of tests to get the very best sound quality from such small speakers.


James Martin / CNET

Band names that are anything but routine

Prince was not the only musician to use an unspeakable or difficult to pronounce symbol as the stage name. I happen to be a fan of the Brooklyn based dance punk outfit !!! (pronounced "chk chk chk"), but unfortunately Google Home expects vowels in your words. To get around this limitation, I created a routine. Here's how:

1. Open the Google Home app and tap Routines (purple moon / sun icon) then tap Manage routines at the bottom.

2. Tap the blue + icon in the bottom right corner.

3. Under When I say … tap Add commands (required) and enter the trigger phrase you want to use (for example " Play chick chick chick ") then tap Save in the top right corner.

4. Under The Google Assistant would … tap Add action and enter what you want to happen, for example " Play !!! (chk chk chk ) Radio on Pandora "then tap Add in the top right corner.

5. If you speak the trigger phrase now, Google Home should respond correctly.

Of course, asking your Google Home to play music will not work the way you want if you haven't synced your Spotify, Pandora or YouTube Music to the Google Home app – here's how to properly use music services sets. It is also not just what you play, but where you play it that matters. Here's how to organize your Google Home household into speaker groups. Follow these separate instructions for creating stereo pairs with two identical Google Home or Nest speakers.


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