Smart speakers like Google Home come with a litany of preset commands that can play music, control smart home gadgets, or set reminders. However, with a little tweaking, you can create your own custom commands that can do several things at once. If you don’t already have a smart speaker or smart display, we’ve reviewed the best smart speakers with Google Home here.
Why You Would Want to Use Routines
While smart gadgets can be useful for a lot of things—there’s nothing quite like the convenience of turning off your bedroom light from under the covers—they’re often persnickety, requiring very specific voice commands to work properly.
Routines let you simplify the commands you use regularly, stack multiple commands together, and even automatically perform certain actions based on the time of day. Instead of saying, “OK, Google. Turn off bedroom and play rain sounds,” and hoping Google correctly processes that those are two separate commands, you can say “OK, Google. Good night” and have a routine take care of the rest.
Google Home comes with a few template routines to get you started, but we’ll walk through how to create your own custom routine so you can make your smart speaker behave exactly the way you want it to.
What You Can Do With Routines
Google’s premade routines focus on things like your morning or evening routine, because those are fairly universal tasks that anyone can use. But they’re also not very imaginative. If you’re having trouble seeing why you’d want to go to the fuss of building your own custom routine, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Make long, complicated commands easier. Philips Hue lights let you create custom color profiles, from bright saturated color themes to soft, warm lighting for reading. But switching between them with commands like “Set living room to Relax” is awkward and requires you to memorize a lot of scene names. Instead, create a routine with the command “Reading time” and program it to automatically set the correct lighting profile, and put on some soft jazz while you’re at it.
- Get ready for a movie. When it’s time to watch a movie—something you probably do a lot at home these days—you need to turn the lights down low, turn on the TV, and maybe turn on your TV’s backlight. The routine in movie theaters of playing a couple trailers before dimming the lights really helps you get into the mood to watch a film, and it’s something you can replicate with routines in your own house.
- Block out distractions. Your smart home gadgets aren’t the only thing a Google Home can control. It can also turn your phone on silent, which can be handy for work or study sessions. Create a focus routine that will mute your phone and start playing some lofi beats to study to.