Using Google Assistant Routines to Automate Your Morning, Noon, and Night

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Google Assistant is fast becoming one of the most valuable and useful personal assistant services available to Android users today. The recent addition of Google Assistant Routines only adds to that usefulness.

The following new routines are now available in your Google Assistant mobile app:

  • Good morning
  • Bedtime
  • Leaving home
  • I’m home
  • Commuting to work
  • Commuting home

These are fixed routines. You can’t add or remove them, but you can customize each so that they perform multiple actions at once when you say the trigger phrase (also customizable).

In this article, we’ll look at how to set up Google Assistant Routines and how four easy routines can automate your daily life.

How to Configure Google Assistant Routines

Accessing Google Assistant Routines is easy. Just click on the blue icon in the upper right corner of Google Assistant.

Then, click on Settings.

google assistant routines automate daily life

In the Settings menu, click on Routines.

Here, you’ll see all available routines. Only one routine was available when Google first launched this feature, so it seems they’re slowly expanding the list. Or hopefully, users will be able to add their own routines to the list at some point.

google assistant routines automate daily life

You can open each routine to customize them.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these four key routines.

1. Good Morning

Think about all the things you do in the morning. Maybe you grab your phone and turn off silent mode. Then you scroll through the weather forecast. You probably review your schedule for the morning.

It’s a known fact that productive people have a good morning routine.

With Google Assistant, all you have to do is say “OK Google, Good morning” and you can have the Assistant do any (or all) of those actions.

google assistant routines automate daily life

Available actions under the Good Morning routine include:

  • Take the phone off silent
  • Trigger smart home devices
  • Adjust the thermostat
  • Hear the weather
  • Learn traffic conditions and estimated time of your commute
  • Hear upcoming calendar events and reminders
  • Adjust phone volume (to your preset morning setting)
  • Play music, news, radio, or a podcast

The audio services like music and radio will access the default services you have installed on your phone. You can change these by clicking on the gear icon next to each action.

2. Commuting To and From Work

Part of your morning routine might be things you normally do on your way to work, like listen to the weather report or play your favorite podcast.

If you say “OK Google, Let’s go to work”, all actions you configured to happen under this routine will trigger one after the other.

google assistant routines automate daily life

Available actions under the Commuting to work routine include:

  • Hear commute conditions
  • Listen to the weather
  • Listen to your calendar agenda or reminders
  • Trigger smart home devices
  • Adjust the thermostat
  • Adjust phone volume (to your preset commute setting)
  • In the end, play music, news, radio, or a podcast

Available actions under the Commuting from work routine include:

  • Hear commute conditions
  • Send or listen to texts
  • Broadcast you’re on your way home to Google Home devices
  • Trigger smart home devices
  • Adjust the thermostat
  • Adjust phone volume (to your preset commute setting)
  • In the end, play music, news, radio, or a podcast

Just think of all the fiddling with your phone you currently do in the morning or when leaving work. You might sit and check the weather, then launch your favorite Spotify channel and adjust the volume. This prevents you from leaving right away. Save a few minutes and let Google Assistant perform all those tasks for you as you’re backing out of the driveway.

If you need some podcasts for your commute, make sure to read Kayla’s list of podcasts for commuters.

3. Leaving or Arriving Home

There’s another time of day when you waste a lot of time adjusting things to your liking. That’s when you leave the house, or when you arrive home.

You adjust the thermostat to save energy, turn down your phone volume so it doesn’t interfere with family time, or maybe you have a habit of shouting out “I’m home!”

google assistant routines automate daily life

When you tell Google Assistant “I’m leaving” or “I’m heading out”, you can automatically control Smart Home devices or adjust the thermostat. Available actions under the I’m home routine (when you say “I’m home” or “I’m back”) include:

  • Trigger smart home devices
  • Adjust the thermostat
  • Adjust phone volume (to your preset commute setting)
  • Broadcast that you’re home via Google Home
  • Hear your “home reminders”
  • In the end, play music, news, radio, or a podcast

Yes, Google Assistant can even announce that you’re home via all of your Google Home devices!

Should you buy Google Home? We reviewed Google Home and recommended that you should. If you do decide to buy one, be sure to use our Google Home setup guide to get it working just right.

4. Going to Bed

When you go to bed, there are many things you probably do and you don’t even think about it. Maybe you listen to some music or soothing sounds for a while. You probably set your phone alarm. Many people turn down the thermostat so cut down on heating costs.

Google Assistant has you covered at bedtime as well.

google assistant routines automate daily life

Available actions under the Bedtime routine include:

  • Trigger smart home devices
  • Adjust the thermostat
  • Put the phone on silent
  • Hear tomorrow’s weather
  • Hear tomorrow’s first calendar event
  • Set your alarm
  • Adjust your phone’s volume
  • In the end, play music or your default “sleep sounds”

When you’re exhausted at night, it’s wonderful to just say “OK Google, good night” and have everything taken care of for you. You just have to close your eyes and get some much-needed sleep.

Smart gadgets can help you sleep better, and now Google Assistant joins the list of technology to improve your rest.

Configuring Defaults for Google Assistant

If you haven’t used Google Assistant before, don’t forget to go into Settings and configure all your defaults. This way when you tell Google Assistant to “play music”, it’ll know what kind of music you like.

Also for “send a text” to work under the Commuting From Work routine, you’ll need to type in the number to text and the message to send.

google assistant routines automate daily life

You’ll also need to make sure all of your smart home devices are integrated with Google Assistant. You can access this under Settings, and then go to Home Control.

In the Home Control screen, just click on the blue plus icon to add a new device. Select your device from the list of compatible smart home hardware, and go through the authentication procedure.

google assistant routines automate daily life

You’ll only have to do this once. Once all your smart home devices are integrated with Google Assistant, you can start controlling them with your voice as often as you like.

Is Google Assistant Right for You?

Many people think that they wouldn’t be able to find any practical use for voice control. It does take a while to get used to talking to your phone. But after just a few days of using Google Assistant routines, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.

Once you become familiar with its basic features, you can always return and use Routines to automate your daily life in ways you never imagined possible.

Google Assistant is also available for iPhone users, and there are plenty of reasons iPhone users should start using it too. If you’re just getting started with Google Assistant, I highly recommend reading Ben’s complete guide to using Google Assistant.

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How Comcast’s Xfinity Home is using Analytics and more to Drive Business Decisions

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xfinity home

By: Comcast’s Shuvankar Roy, vice president, Xfinity Home and Neeraj Grover, director of business analytics and reporting, Xfinity Home

Q: Why are analytics right to use to drive business decisions?

A: Analytics can help to identify the actual pain points in many parts of the business, including the customer journey. By using analytics, it’s easy to prioritize initiatives and avoid making decisions based on hypothesis, with no evidence to back up your work. Data offers significant insights into your business and can help you to course correct, as needed. Additionally, data can help you to define goals, make forecasts based on trends, patterns or the season.

To give an example, we here at Comcast are hyper-focused on customer satisfaction. For us, it is imperative to gain insights into our customers’ interactions with our front-line employees, such as technicians and customer service representatives, to help serve them better. Measuring the net promoter score or NPS at all levels including transactional, products, and employees help us to identify pain points that customers may experience from our service and products. Without these insights, we would not be able to improve or change processes and better serve our customers at every level.

Q: What type of analytics are essential?

A: To a large extent it depends on the maturity of the organization. To start with, you need Business Intelligence tools to identify and measure leading and lagging indicators. With this level of analysis, you will be able to understand what is driving an uptick and what may be causing a downward spiral.With Business Intelligence, your organization will be able to start predicting what is happening and provide corrections as needed.

As the organization matures and starts collecting more and better quality data, consider digging deeper beneath the numbers by using machine learning algorithms. These can provide further insights into top factors impacting your KPIs and help come up with a few “if-then” solutions that may help improve your metrics. We recommend testing each solution separately to see if the outcome actually enhances the indicators you want to influence.  The tests help foray from predictive into prescriptive analytics.

A particular type of Analytics can also be used for specific applications. For instance, Artificial Intelligence when paired with chatbots can offer your customers immediate access to assistance, and the text analytics can also help provide insights into areas that may need improvement.

Adoption of technology that leverages analytics to solve issues could become the critical differentiating factor to improve service delivery.

Q: With so much data/analytics that exist within a company, what are some best practices to narrow down the data that matter the most?

A: We see three factors of success for any projects: rely on extensive domain knowledge, be very skeptical of visible past trends and don’t  overanalyze,

Providing enough domain knowledge at each step of the way is key to identifying the most relevant data for any analytics study. The structure that works the best for us is having the analytics and business intelligence teams work carefully (or at times embedded) within the business units. This ensures that there is participation from subject matter experts to provide real-time feedback as insights are provided. The input and validation from SMEs ensure that the right data elements are being considered.

The other factor is to be very skeptical of apparent past trends as market conditions evolve. Lastly, avoid over analysis. In some cases getting 80 percent, accurate data is sufficient to understand directional and correct patterns which can help you make timely decisions. Avoid the pitfall of ensuring 100 percent accuracy as you may miss the opportunity to course correct in time.

Q: What type of business decisions can be made based on analytics?

A: Many decisions can be made based on analytics, but it’s important to look at the whole picture such as market conditions and what’s going on in the world. As you begin to make decisions based on analytics keep in mind these key points:

Analytics may be wrong sometimes as correlation is different from causation so take immediate corrective actions when you realize the change that was implemented is not working. Don’t be afraid to pivot and move on to another solution.

Prioritize analytics initiatives based on business goals. You can get a lot of data, and there may be many areas that need to be fixed, but you can’t do it all so narrow in on the few that will make the most significant impact to your business and go from there.

At times, be sure to complement data with other approaches. Sometimes it’s essential to conduct a few focus groups or review processes to find the triggers leading to the lagging data.

Q: Can you share an example where you made some critical business decisions based on the analytics?

A: Losing customers or churn is a measure that is key to most businesses. A while back our team leveraged decision trees and other machine learning algorithms to predict the type of customers that may have a high propensity to churn, and we identified key factors that led to it. The outcome of the machine learning algorithms identified customer engagement – the lack of activity and usage with the service – as the most impactful predictor of customer churn.

The importance of this factor led our teams to dig deeper into customers’ engagement with their services, their tenure, the services they have subscribed, and their preferred channels of engagement with us. This led to further insights into how our customers engage with each product and what service delivery steps could help drive customers to have a better experience. Ultimately, we found that customers who participate with or used the product(s) regularly led to more satisfaction with their service, which lowered churn.

Xfinity Home touch-screen

As the IoT space expands with more and more devices in a secured and connected home, the value for AI to help further improve customer service will be imperative.  Machine learning supported chatbots will become more sophisticated as they can scan for any system issues or other similar customer issues and quickly help to resolve and respond to customers. This level of customer care and service can be provided at an increased scale and response time will be quicker without adding to the cost of operations –the cost to provide the best customer service may even decrease.

The post How Comcast’s Xfinity Home is using Analytics and more to Drive Business Decisions appeared first on ReadWrite.

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The Best Advice For Using Your IPhone Like A Pro!

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With new technology comes the opportunity and necessity to learn new skills. An iPhone can make your life much easier and a little more fun, but only if you know how to use it. Below are some tips and advice compiled to help you become the master of your iPhone.

Did you just drop your brand-new iPhone in the sink or a pond? Don’t worry! Make sure you don’t turn the phone on. Instead, lightly towel dry it as much as you can. Don’t use a blow dryer. Then, put the phone in a small bag filled with white rice and leave it sit overnight. The rice will absorb any water left in it.

Turn off push notifications to control your data usage as well as preserve your battery life. Push notifications allow your phone to constantly be in touch with email servers and the internet in order to be notified immediately when something happens. De activating this will mean that you have to check your email, websites or other applications for new messages and alerts, but it will be dramatic in how it affects the functionality and performance of your phone.

Buy a screen to protect your phone. Those who do not use screen protectors run the risk of incurring scratches on the screen. Even dirt on your fingers may cause scratches. So take the precautionary step and add on that screen protection.

Do you want to extend your battery life? There are a few different things you can do to get the most out of your battery life. One thing you can do is turn down the brightness. Also, turn off any wireless radios when you are not using them. This can give you more battery life.

If you happen to get the iphone wet, the last thing you want to do is turn it on. By turning it on you run the risk of short circuiting the product. Instead, you should towel dry it and then put it into a Ziploc bag. After that place it in a bowl of uncooked rice and let it sit there until the moisture dries up.

Make your own ringtone. If the ringtones on your iphone do nothing for you, try creating your own. You can send a file from your computer to your iphone. To do this, make sure the file is a compatible mp3. Send it from your computer to your phone using either wifi or a usb cable.

One of the great benefits of an iPhone is the ability to use Facetime, which you should fully take advantage of. This function allows you to see your friend or family member in video on the other side of the phone. This helps to personalize your conversations so that they are more profound and fun.

When in your iPhone mail, it is simple to save a copy of a picture that you might want to view later. Just touch the image for a few seconds and it will be saved to your stored pictures. You can then access it at any time if you want to view it again, post it on the web or forward it to a friend.

Choose a carrier before choosing an iphone. You might have your eye on a particular iphone. Before you rush out and get it, make sure that it is compatible with the carrier of your choosing. Shop around for a cell phone plan you can live with rather than making the decision over which iphone you like best.

There are timers when your iPhone may have an issue with an application like any computer would. This can easily be solved by force quitting it. To do this on your phone, press and hold your Home button for about six seconds. This will cause it to quit the problematic application quickly.

You can check where links will take you to by slightly pressing on them instead of tapping. This is the equivalent of hovering your mouse over an element displayed by your computer; you will see more information about the links you touched. Always check links you receive in your emails, especially if you do not know the sender.

It’s important that you always have the most recently updated version of the OS. Apple iPhones are close to being as complex as some computers today, so keeping your phone updated will include any necessary patches, bug fixes, security fixes or functionality issues. These updates are critical for the security of your phone and any personal information that you may have stored on it.

Lock your screen, if you need to. If your iphone seems to have trouble determining whether it’s up or down, try locking your screen. The constant shift between portrait and landscape can get rather frustrating. By going into your settings or, sometimes, by just checking the bottom of your screen, you can lock your phone’s screen to one or the other.

Go to your camera quickly when your phone is locked. A good photo opportunity can come and go in the breadth of a heartbeat. To avoid missing out on such an opportunity, just give your iphone’s home button two quick taps. This should immediately bring up your camera or the icon for it.

If you lose your connection while writing an email or if you encounter another issue with your iPhone, check the outgoing folder of your mail box. You will be able to finish writing your email. Use this folder to make sure all your messages have been sent, especially if you encountered a connection problem while sending your email.

Set your iPhone to retrieve emails and other data less frequently. Some individuals have their phones set to retrieve these things every minute, and this drains battery life faster than almost anything else. If you instead set your phone to retrieve data every five or ten minutes, you will conserve your battery and therefore, make your phone more useful.

As it was stated in the introduction of this article, owning an iPhone can change your daily life for the better once you know how to use it to its fullest possibilities. Use the advice and tips in the article above to get the most out of your iPhone.

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AI predicts your lifespan using activity tracking apps

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Researchers can estimate your expected lifespan based on physiological traits like your genes or your circulating blood factor, but that's not very practical on a grand scale. There may be a shortcut, however: the devices you already have on your bo…
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China Catches Smugglers Using Drones to Transport $80M Worth of iPhones From Hong Kong to Mainland

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A group of criminals in China were caught smuggling 500 million yuan ($79.8 million) worth of refurbished iPhones from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, using drones connected via cables to transport the smartphones. Reported by the Legal Daily (via Reuters), customs officers in Shenzhen caught the group and ceased its illegal actions, arresting 26 total suspects in the process.

Photo by Liu Youzhi/Southern Metropolis Daily via Reuters

The group was using drones to fly two 660-foot cables between Hong Kong and the mainland as a method of transporting the iPhones. They typically operated after midnight and into the morning hours, and “only needed seconds” to transport small bags that held 10 iPhones or more using the cable-connected drones. In one night, they could reach a quota of as many as 15,000 iPhones transported.

According to a news conference held by the customs officers, this marks “the first case found in China that drones were being used in cross-border smuggling crimes.”

Shenzhen customs was quoted by the Legal Daily as saying it would closely monitor new types of smuggling with high-tech devices and enhance their capability with technical equipment, including drones and high-resolution monitors, to detect smuggling activity.

Drone regulations are said to be “an important task” for Chinese officials, with the government publishing a series of strict rules in 2017 after drones were found to be interfering with aircraft flight paths. Civilian drone owners are now required to register any drone “up to a certain weight” using their real names.

While using drones might be new, the act of individuals attempting to smuggle iPhones out of Hong Kong has certainly been around for years. In early 2015, a man tried to smuggle 94 iPhones into mainland China by strapping them onto his body and under his clothes. Smuggling operations pop up frequently because of higher import taxes, which cause the iPhones to be more expensive in the mainland than they are in Hong Kong.

Tag: China

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AT&T reaches 537Mbps download speed using LTE LAA in Chicago

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AT&T globe logo packaging

Recent speed tests showed T-Mobile’s network posting download speeds higher than 500Mbps using License Assisted Access (LAA) LTE in New York City. Now AT&T’s network has done the same thing in Chicago.

Speed tests conducted by PCMag show AT&T’s LTE network putting up speeds of 537Mbps in downtown Chicago. The test was conducted using a retail Galaxy S9 on AT&T’s regular LTE network, which included LAA small cell sites. They aggregating 15MHz of LTE Band 2 with 60MHz of LAA coverage. 

While 537Mbps was the top download speed that the Galaxy S9 achieved, PCMag was able to get some pretty respectable speeds in other locations. This includes 273Mbps down at Kinzie and Dearborn in River North and an average of 424.2Mbps near the Merchandise Mart.

AT&T began deploying LAA in Indianapolis late last year, and since then it’s been deployed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, too. AT&T plans to roll out LAA in 24 cities in 2018.

You will need a phone that supports LAA to take advantage of the improved coverage. Devices like the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 support LAA, as does the Galaxy Note 8, LG V30, and Moto Z2 Force Edition.

LAA is another way that U.S. carriers are bolstering their 4G LTE networks while they begin building out their 5G coverage. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon are deploying LAA, which utilizes unlicensed 5GHz spectrum. LAA coverage doesn’t reach very far, but for devices within range of a small cell site, it can help to offer seriously faster speeds.

Hit the source link below for more details on AT&T’s LAA coverage and speeds in Chicago.

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How to Quickly Join A WiFi Network Using Your iPhone’s Camera App

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How to Join Wi-Fi Network Using iPhone Camera

Connecting to a Wi-Fi has been made pretty simple in iOS 11 as you no longer require entering the password! The stock Camera app for iOS now supports QR code scanning. Hence, you can add contact info, pair with a HomeKit accessory and also quickly join a Wi-Fi network using your iPhone’s Camera app.

So, if you ever find your iOS device without the Internet, you can instantly jump onto your friend’s WiFi networking without having to dabble with the password. Let me show you how it works the right way!

How to Join Wi-Fi Network Using iPhone Camera

How to Quickly Join A WiFi Network Using Your iPhone’s Camera App

Before getting started, just ensure that you have iOS 11 or later.

Step #1. Launch Settings app on your iOS device.

Step #2. Now, scroll down and tap on Camera.

Tap on Settings then Camera on iPhone or iPad

Step #3. Next, turn on Scan QR Codes.

Turn On Scan QR Codes in iPhone or iPad Settings

Step #4. Next up, open the Camera app and make sure Photo selected at the bottom.

Step #5. Up next, you need to point the camera at the QR code, which may be printed on the back of the router.

Once it has successfully scanned the QR code, the Camera app will show a notification banner with the network name.

Finally, just tap on the banner to let your iOS device instantly join the join the Wi-Fi network by accessing the credentials stored in the QR code.

That’s pretty much it!

Have your say

With iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, you can also share your Wi-Fi password with other nearby Macs or iPhone/iPad. It’s a secure way to let other people use your Wi-Fi network without revealing the password.

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Like this tutorial? Download our app and stay connected with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus to read more such hands-on guide.

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Why You Need to Be Using Your iPhone’s “Do Not Disturb” Feature

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Are you tired of notifications distracting you from getting work done on your iPhone or iPad? Do you use your phone as an alarm and worry about unimportant notifications waking you up? Your iPhone has a solution for these issues: Do Not Disturb mode.

When Do Not Disturb is on, all calls and other alerts you receive when your phone is locked won’t make a sound. To easily toggle Do Not Disturb at any time, slide up from the bottom of the screen to access the Control Center. Tap the crescent moon icon to enable it.

Navigate to Settings > Do Not Disturb to take a look at what you can do with this. You can enable the Do Not Disturb (DND) slider here and your phone will immediately enter DND mode. When it’s on, you’ll see a crescent moon icon in the status bar to indicate so.

Enable the Scheduled slider and you can set a time interval to automatically enable DND. This is an easy way to avoid interruptions while you’re sleeping.

Under the Silence header, you can choose to silence notifications Always instead of just when your phone is locked.

Check the Allow Calls From option to choose who can still call you in Do Not Disturb. You can choose Everyone (which kind of defeats the purpose), No One, Favorites, or another contact group you’ve created.

Enable Repeated Calls, and anyone who calls you two times within three minutes will break through DND.

Do Not Disturb keeps you in control of when your iPhone notifies you. It lets you suppress notifications you don’t need to see while still letting important ones through.

And don’t forget that Do Not Disturb has a few driving options to look at too. You can choose whether to enable it automatically while driving or not, as well as automatically replying to messages from your Favorites contacts group.

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Alphabet’s X lab explores using AI to improve food production

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Add Alphabet to the growing number of companies hoping that AI will solve food production problems. The Google parent brand's X lab has revealed that it's exploring ways machine learning could improve farming. While X hasn't focused on any specific…
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No Privacy For The Dead: Police Reportedly Using Dead People’s Fingerprints To Access iPhones

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Questions surrounding the use of a deceased person’s finger to unlock a smartphone have been asked a lot of late, and now, a new report has taken a more in-depth look at just what goes on when someone wants to get into a device while its owner is no longer in a position to argue.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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