While Apple has Siri and Amazon have Alexa, it's a third major player in the voice assistant game: Google's own voice-activated bet, Google Assistant.
It may not have caught the audience's imagination in the same way as its colleagues, and Alexa in particular, but it is no less useful. In fact, there are some things, this handy little tool can make most users not even know it is capable.
So to make sure you get the most out of your faithful voice-activated partner, we've gathered 9 useful but not necessarily obvious Google Assistant features that can help make it really useful in many situations you may not have expected.
Find your way home (and check for traffic updates)
It's safe to say that Google Assistant has many potential uses, including the ability to find the best route to a specific place.
Just say "Get me home" and it will draw information from Google Maps to show you (or tell you) the best route based on your current location.
You can also use the voice-activated item to check traffic updates, and get the latest information on deviations and closures. This feature is especially useful if you primarily use Google Assistant along the way.
Create a shopping list … with your voice
Google Assistant is designed to help you, after all, so it makes sense that something so secular (but important) as making a shopping list can be done with your voice.
No more scrabbling for a piece of paper (just to lose it) or writing one in your drafts ̵
Not only does Google Assistant collect all of these items into one place, it will even read back what is on your saved list to make sure you haven't left anything so you can go by day with a smaller thing to worry about.
Listen to the latest News headlines
Most of us are so busy these days that even taking the time to browse the latest stories on Twitter or your chosen RSS Feed can feel like a drag on your time.
So why not use Google Assistant to read them out for you? It's not an obvious feature, but if you say "Play the news," assistant will start reading stories from your favorite news sources.
You can ask to stop, pause and play at any time, and you can even ask to read stories from a particular source or specialized media site. If you drive around the house trying to find your keys while taking a piece of toast before work, it's a great way to stay up to date.
Check your smart home
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] If you're like us, and you've started slowly adding more and more smart devices to you home – whether they are thermostats, light bulbs, or preheating heaters – you can use Google Assistant to connect to them via a single voice controlled hub.
Open the Google Assistant, tap the menu icon at the top right of the screen and select Settings. From there, you can add compatible smart devices (and many devices are compatible) that are currently active in your home.
From Philips Hue light bulbs to Honeywell thermostats, many gadgets will respond to your voice-activated commands.
Convert Money, Measurements and More
Whether you're looking for how many dollars you can get to the pound or wonder how many inches it is in a kilometer, you can trust on your voice-activated server to do math for you.
Google Assistant can perform almost any conversion calculation, and it will read the answer.
The same goes for translations. If you are wondering what the word "Hello" is in Swedish, you just have to say "What is the Swedish word for" hello "?" And the assistant will immediately respond with the correct answer: "Hi!"
Screenshot your phone call
Are you tired of being anchored with cold calls from automated messages and companies trying to sell you a dodgy service? Well, Google Assistant can also help with that.
If you happen to own a Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, the voice-enabled service includes a feature that responds to specific calls on your behalf.
It's one of the many ways Google develops Assistant, with the Call Screen feature allowing you to leave the Assistant to answer the call and even record a transcript of the conversation so you can review it later . Telemarketers, beware …
Queue your favorite programs on Netflix
Netflix has made way for most of our smart devices, and whether you continue to cancel Daredevil or Looking for a stomach or two with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Google Assistant can help you connect to your favorite TV shows and movies, all with voice commands.
Just say, for example, "Play Mowgli: Jungle Doctor on Netflix" and – as long as Netflix is set up on your Android device, you're signed in to the app and you've connected it – Google Assistant will run up the show / movie and start playing it in seconds.
This is more convenient on a TV with Google Assistant built in than on any other device, but it's an easy way to call a movie to watch your phone as well.
Check appointments and emails
If you use Google Assistant, there is a good chance that you are using some of Google's other services, including Gmail and Google Drive, so why not use assistant to connect to any of these apps?
If you use Gmail as a work account, you can ask the tool to check through your email addresses for specific keywords, or retrieve an appointment that has been added to your Calendar app.
You can even use Google Assistant to take notes with Google Keep, write down a quick thought or idea while you are busy with other tasks. This feature is especially useful if you need to retrieve new e-mail messages that you have not yet read or responded to.
Let the assistant entertain you
Fight to find someone to enjoy a fast game with? Do you want to test your gray case while you have a few minutes to spare? Well, Google Assistant can help on both accounts by challenging you to a game of solitaire or naughts and crosses / tic-tac-toe.
It can also tell you some terrible jokes or puns, and even read out an inspirational quote or message if you need some motivation – you can even ask the assistant to find something fun for you to see by checking instant videos on YouTube.
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