Are you looking for the best skills and commands for the Google Assistant? To ensure you make the most of your Google Home devices and smartphones, we have rounded up the best Google Assistant skills for 2020.

What is Google Assistant? 

Google Assistant is an artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant developed by Google. Just like Siri, or Amazon’s Alexa, the Google Assistant can help with a variety of tasks and requests, such as setting alarms, sending a text message or turning off your lights. The best part is that it’s no longer confined to just devices built by Google. Instead, a wide range of devices can support the Google Assistant, from the Google Home Mini to the latest Pixel phones and even iPhone users. 

To get help from your Google Assistant simply just start by saying “OK, Google”. 

Charcoal Google Home Mini on white surface | Photo: Thomas Kolnowski via Unsplash

What can Google Assistant do? 

The list is endless when it comes to the number of tasks and requests Google Assistant can assist with. So, to help you out, we have rounded up our favourites. Below you will find the 30 best skills and commands for the Google Assistant: 

Unlock your device:

You can let “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” unlock your phone when the Google Assistant recognises your voice. No more fumbling around with your pin code! To enable the Voice Unlock feature, go into your Google Assistant settings, select OK Google Detection then followed by Trusted Voice. 

Send a text message:

Do you need to send a text message to a friend telling them you are running late for lunch? Google Assistant is here to help. Simply ask “OK, Google, send a text message to (the person’s name)”. You will then be able to dictate what exactly it is you want to say and send it to the recipient.

Send a Whatsapp:

As well as being able to send a text message, Google Assistant can also connect to your WhatsApp. Stay connected with your loved ones by sending them a text or voice message on WhatsApp without having to physically open the app. Simply say “OK, Google, send WhatsApp message to (person’s name in your WhatsApp contact)” or “OK, Google, send WhatsApp voice message to (person’s name in your WhatsApp contact)”.

Set important reminders:

Do you find yourself forgetting things in your busy schedule? Perhaps you’ve forgotten to pick up flowers for your mother-in-laws birthday or need to remind yourself to buy bread for the morning? Google Assistant can help you remember these things. To create a reminder say “OK, Google, remind me to pick up flowers on [day] and [time]”.

Get the weather forecast:

Wondering whether you are going to get wet on your commute to work? Simply ask Google Assistant “What’s the weather today?” and it will tell you your local forecast for the day ahead. 

Tell your kids a story:

Want to hear a story or send your kids off to sleep with a bedtime fairytale? Just say, “Hey GoogleTell Me a Story” and the Google Assistant on your Smart Display or Speaker will read you a short family-friendly story for free. 

Remember things:

In today’s world, it can sometimes be hard to keep track of the small things, but it’s pretty simple for Google Assistant to keep on track for you. Want to remind yourself where you left your car keys? Just say “OK Google, remind me that my car keys are on the kitchen table”. Then simply, ask Google where you left your car keys.

Ask to meditate:

Had a stressful day at work and would like to meditate? With Headspace’s Google Action, it’s now even simpler to fit meditation practice into your busy schedule by connecting to your Headspace account. Simply ask “OK, Google, tell Headspace I’m ready to meditate”.

Play a game:

Wanting to play a game but not sure what to do? Turn to your Google Assistant for some entertainment. Tell the virtual assistant “I’m bored” and it can tell you corny jokes or even ask to play a game like “Tic-tac-toe”, “Lucky Trivia” or “Crystal Ball”. It’s a great fun way to pass the time.

Get daily updates on your interests:

You can ask Google Assistant to tell you daily updates on your interests. Want to have a fun fact told to you every morning or perhaps a useful mindfulness tip to prepare you for the day ahead? Just say “OK Google, send me a fun fact every day”.

Multilingual support:

Do you and your family speak two different languages in your household? Google Assistant can now allow you to switch between those two languages, and it will recognise and answer in the same language you’re speaking. 

Set a kitchen timer:

Preparing dinner for the family can be a stressful task. Trying to keep your kids entertained whilst cooking dinner could mean that you forgot to check the clock when you have put your dinner in the oven. Make your evening simpler by setting a kitchen timer with Google Assistant. Just say “OK, Google set a pizza timer for 20 minutes.”

Find your phone:

We’ve all experienced sheer panic when you are just about to leave the house and can’t find your phone. Luckily, Google Assistant is here to help. Just say “OK, Google, find my phone”. The virtual assistant will then give you the option to ring or call your phone at full volume, even if it’s set to ‘do not disturb’ mode.

Work out a calculation:

Sometimes, fumbling around with your smartphone trying to open the calculator app can be time-consuming. So, why not use your Google Assistant to help you with a calculation? Simply say “OK Google, tell me what is 12 x 32”, and it’ll reply with the answer.

Control smart home devices:

From dimming the lights to checking the footage on your home security camera, Google Home now works with more than 10,000 devices to create a more efficient smart home. Have a smart switch installed and want to turn off the lights? Say “OK, Google, turn off my lights”.

Broadcast messages:

If you have more than one Google Home speaker in your house, then Google Assistant gives you the ability to broadcast a message to all speakers. You can either create your own message or use one of the built-in commands. Want to call the kids down for dinner? Just say “OK, Google, broadcast dinner is ready”.

Set your morning alarm: 

Do you need to wake up at the same time every day? Then why not use your Google Assistant to help you rise in the mornings? To set an alarm, simply say “OK, Google, set an alarm for every day at 6.30 am”, and it will wake you up on time.

Ask for help:

You can use Google Assistant to ask for information and help with everyday tasks. From wondering how the traffic is on your way to work, or using it as a dictionary, there are so many things the Google Assistant can help with. For ideas about what your Assistant can help with, ask “What can you do?”.

Make restaurant reservations:

You can have Google Assistant make restaurant reservations for you. If an online booking service isn’t available, the Google Assistant will call the restaurant for you and request a reservation. Say “OK, Google, book a table at [restaurant name]”. When prompted, you can then give more details like the date and time you want.

Play your favourite music:

Listening to music should be easy. This is where the Google Assistant comes in. Play your favourite music for whatever the occasion, hands-free. Simply ask “OK, Google, play Snow by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on Spotify”.

Look up emails and appointments:

Google Assistant can take information from other Google apps to help create a seamless experience for when you most need it. For example, if you are worried that you missed an important email when you took yesterday off, simply ask “OK, Google, did I miss any emails from yesterday?” and Google Assistant will tell you of any unopened emails. Or better still, check with your assistant what appointments you have scheduled in your calendar for the upcoming week.

Get told a motivational quote:

Need a bit of motivation on a Monday morning to help you kick-start the new week? Let Google Assistant tell you a motivational quote to get you up and moving. Just ask “OK, Google, tell me a motivational quote”. Google Assistant really can be your best friend in a time of need (before you’ve drunk your morning coffee).

Find the nearest restaurant:

Hungry but unsure of where to eat? Ask Google “Where’s the best restaurant near here?” and it’ll tell you a select few of the well-reviewed nearby restaurants from Google.

Raise an alert:

A prototype system has been designed by researchers from the University of Washington that can listen in and detect when a person is suffering a cardiac arrest, and this system could soon be coming to the Google Home. For the time being, if you are in an emergency and need help from the emergency services, you can ask Google Assistant to call 999 if necessary.

Order items:

Order everyday essentials and buy items on your shopping list with your Google Assistant. Say you want to buy more toilets rolls, say “OK, Google, purchase toilet rolls”. Unfortunately, this functionality is only available in the US, but we will update this article as soon as it’s available to shoppers in the UK.

Make a shopping list:

Always adding to your never-ending shopping list? Well, no shopping list is more convenient than using voice commands with your phone or Google Home device. To add an item to your list say “OK, Google, add milk to my shopping list”.  If you use Google Keep, Google Assistant can then send your shopping list straight to your phone. The weekly shop will be easier than before!

Play your favourite Netflix movies and shows:

With a simple voice command, you are able to watch your favourite Netflix movies or shows. Kick back with the family and kids and catch up on an old movie or enjoy a new series. Just ask “OK, Google, play Stranger Things on Netflix”.

Plan a holiday:

If you are looking to get away or plan your next holiday, Google Assistant can help. Just ask, “OK, Google, what are some great vacation ideas in December?” and Google Assistant will reply with search results. Alternatively, you can use Google Assistant to ask what the weather is usually like in a specific country at a particular time or recommended hotels.

Stay connected in your car:

You can easily stay connected, get things done, and enjoy your next road trip with hands-free help from Google Assistant, no matter whether it’s in a compatible Android Auto Vehicle or just with your phone. To ask for navigations to the nearest petrol station, just say “OK, Google, find petrol stations nearby”.

Get the latest news:

With Google Assistant, you can listen to top headlines, local news in your area, or get the latest on a certain category of news (like sports). When choosing to listen to news reports or headlines you can ask “OK, Google, tell me the news” or “What’s the latest in sports?”.

Now you are aware of the best Google Assistant skills, check out our full range of Google devices to enhance Google’s virtual assistant. 

Editor’s Note: Originally published 28 August 2019 at 15:57 PM, updated 9 June 2021 at 13:25 PM

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