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.

iPhone and iPad – MakeUseOf

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Google Play audiobooks get Smart Resume, bookmarks and Assistant routines support

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Google Play Audiobooks is getting a major update today that adds a number of new features to the service that were sorely missing when it launched earlier this year. None of these are groundbreaking, but they’ll help Google reach feature parity with some of its competitors while injecting a bit of its proprietary smarts into the process, too.

Maybe the most useful new feature in today’s release is Smart Resume. Instead of picking up in the middle of a sentence or even word when your audiobook playback gets interrupted (maybe by Google Maps giving you directions or a friendly passerby who is asking for directions while you are clearly listening to an audiobook). Depending on the length of the interruption, this new feature will smartly rewind to the beginning of the word or sentence to help you stay in the flow.

Also new in this update are the ability to set bookmarks so you can easily go back to your favorite part of a book and the ability to speed up the audio — or slow it down so you can really savor your favorite passage in Ulysses. Both of these features were definitely missing in the first release.

If you’re a regular Google Assistant user and are already making use of the recently launched Routines feature, you’ll be happy to hear that you can now choose to continue your audiobooks when you wake up or start your commute.

And if you have family that’s spread around the world, you’ll be happy to hear that support for Google’s Family Library, which allows you to share Google Play purchases like apps, games, movies, e-books and audiobooks, is now rolling out in 13 new countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Chile, Mexico, Japan (audiobooks only) and South Africa.

All of these new features are now available on iOS and Android.

 

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Google app hints at custom Routines in Assistant

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You can already use Routines in Google Assistant, but you've so far had to tweak "ready-made" examples to fit your needs instead of creating your own from whole cloth. That might not be a problem before long — 9to5Google has discovered code in the…
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Routines are nice, but Automations are what make the smart home smart

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The Wink Hub 2 is smart and sleek (Credit: Wink)

Routines, scenes and automations, oh my! These are some of the advanced smart home features that our digital assistants have or recently gained, but what are they and which are making our homes smarter? Let’s start with what I think are the lowest tier: Routines and Scenes, which are basically the same but have different names.

With Google Assistant recently adding support for Routines, it has some feature parity with the Amazon Echo. Alexa has had such routines for some time, which allow you to bundle several smart home actions into a single voice command. Apple’s Home application has long had such a feature, although in the iOS world, it’s called a Scene.

There are some minor differences between the implementations taken by Amazon, Apple and Google, but over time, I’m sure all three companies will improve the ability to use one command to control multiple actions. At least I hope so. Google Assistant Routines are limited to six different presets (shown below) and for now you can only choose from a select group of smart home actions, for example.

This is good momentum for the smart home. But the reality is that routines or scenes, aren’t truly “smart”. All these do is extend a voice command from a one-to-one action to a one-to-many action. Essentially, this is still a UI, or user interface tweak.

Automations though? Those are a step above routines in my book because they make your home take actions on device-triggered or time of day events. And they don’t require any voice interaction, which is extremely useful in certain situations. They do, however, require a smart home hub or some other centralized smart home “brain”, unless you want to use a third-party application that can tie some of your devices together.

I’ve had some readers suggest that we don’t need hubs. Instead they argue that we need defined IoT standards or that we can just use the cloud as a hub.

Those are valid thoughts, but the reality is that widespread IoT standards aren’t coming anytime soon, if ever. Using the cloud is great until your home’s internet connection goes down: In that case a local copy of your smart home devices with automation rules running on a small computing device would work, but that essentially is a hub.

Hubs solve a key challenge: individual devices in the smart home typically don’t know about each other. Instead, a hub is what bridges data from smart switches, bulbs, locks, webcams and sensors that can all use different radio technologies. Put another way: The hub is the traffic cop in the intersection of data created by all of our smart devices. It knows the user-programmed rules of who should do what and when in the smart home.

Let me offer a simple example: If I want to walk through my front door at 10pm and have the inside lights automatically turn on, how can the smart door lock tell the lights to illuminate?

Currently, it can’t. The lock and lights have no relationship that they know of. Nor do they have any processing power to programmatically make some cause-effect event happen. That’s where the hub comes in. It can see from the door lock that I’m home. And using a rules based system, along with the time of day, it can tell the smart lights to turn on through automation.

This is is why I think it’s so important that Google create a hub, especially since both Amazon and Apple both have one for the home. Granted, the Amazon Echo Plus doesn’t yet support such automations but it’s a matter of time before that happens. If you have an Apple TV, HomePod, or plugged in iPad, you’ve got a hub can automate your HomeKit devices. Apple’s implementation is in the Home app, and it’s surprisingly easy to use.

In my vision of the smart home capability ladder, routines sit below automations because they make the home experience “smarter” with less user input. Currently, automations are as smart as the home gets.

Above automations though, I look to autonomy. By autonomy, I mean a central home hub that combines context, user patterns and personal information to anticipate actions and even suggest them to us. But, that’s a ways off just yet, so for now, I’ll be content to use routines and automation in my home.

 

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

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[Update x2: All 6 now live] Google Assistant will have 6 routines at launch and each one has a limited set of actions

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We’ve been hearing about Google Assistant’s routines for months now.

Read More

[Update x2: All 6 now live] Google Assistant will have 6 routines at launch and each one has a limited set of actions was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google Assistant will have 6 routines at launch and each one has a limited set of actions

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

We’ve been hearing about Google Assistant’s routines for months now. Cody first discovered them in a Google app teardown last September, then they were officially announced in October, but Google was mum about them until last month when it said routines will launch “in the coming weeks in the US.” A few weeks have passed since then, so it’s about time we start seeing these routines for real. We haven’t spotted them on our phones just yet, but their support page just went live and now we know almost everything there is about them

There will be 6 routines to start: Good Morning, Bedtime, Leaving home, I’m home, Commuting to work, and Commuting home.

Read More

Google Assistant will have 6 routines at launch and each one has a limited set of actions was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google Assistant To Get 30 More Languages, Routines, Location-Based Reminders Soon

Google Assistant is set to get support for 30 more languages, on-the-fly language switching, routines, and location-based reminders on Home soon.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Redmond Pie

As Routines come to digital assistants, what happens to Yonomi, IFTTT and Stringify?

Google Assistant is closing another gap with Alexa today. In a blog post, Google says that it will begin rolling out Routines for its digital helper.

If you’re not familiar with routines, they’re similar to, but more powerful than smart home shortcuts. You can program different actions with a key difference over standard shortcuts: Routines can handle multiple actions with a single command.

For example, I have one called “Relaxation mode” that dims the lights in my office and also tune my office Sonos to New Age music. Instead of using two shortcuts or voice commands, I have both actions happen with a single command. You can even add more actions to a routine, such as dimming lights, closing your shades and firing up Netflix on the TV for a “Movie night” routine.

Alexa already has Routines and Google says it will be rolling them out for its product line in the coming weeks. I can’t wait. Until then, I’ve had to use a third-party app to tie multiple actions to a command. In my case, “Relaxation mode” is a custom routine I set up in a fantastic app called Yonomi. You can accomplish similar results with IFTTT and Stringify.

Here’s the thing though: What happens to these third party services once the major platforms all have native routines?

Granted, some of the native routine support may be limited, so there might still be room for a Yonomi, IFTTT or Stringify. In fact, Google today said “you’ll be able to use six routines that help with your morning, commutes to and from work, and evening at home.” That leads me to believe Google’s first implementation will be somewhat limited. So I’m not uninstalling Yonomi just yet.

Regardless, it’s likely that native integrations and expanded functionality will take the place of third-party services so they’ll either have to pivot, adapt or maybe even go away. Perhaps one of them is purchased since they all have solid user bases and, for the most part, easy to use interfaces.

Stringify is already off the block since it was purchased by Comcast in September. Unless Comcast wants to keep the brand alive, I think Stringify will simply melt into Comcast’s Xfinity smart home line.

I recently suggested that IFTTT would be a smart buy for Amazon. We’ll see if that happens. That would actually leave Yonomi as a prime Google target and since I’m already a Yonomi user with multiple Google Home products, I wouldn’t mind seeing that happen.

In any case, I don’t see much of a long-term future for a standalone, third-party smart home integration service for two reasons: Routines are becoming native features in assistants and because the digital assistant platforms have quickly worked to integrate with as many apps, services and devices as they can.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Google Assistant will soon learn new languages and Routines feature

Google Assistant Pixel XL

Google Assistant is growing in a big way.

Google today announced some new features for Google Assistant. The company says that Google Assistant will be available in more than 30 languages by the end of 2018, up from the eight languages that it currently supports.

Some of the new languages that Google Assistant will learn include Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, Norwegian, Swedish, and Thai.

Google Assistant will also learn to be multilingual this year, meaning you’ll be able to speak to it in more than one language and it’ll understand you.

Google is also bringing Routines to Google Assistant. Starting next week, you’ll be able to use six routines that’ll help you get multiple things done with one command. For example, you can say “Hey Google, I’m home” and your Google Assistant will turn on your lights, share your home reminders, play music, and more.

Also coming next week are location-based reminders for your smart speaker. This feature is already available on phones, but next week you’ll be able to tell your Google Home to remind you to get milk at the grocery store and when you get there, the Google Assistant on your phone will remind you.

Finally, Google says that it’s working with device makers and carriers to make Google Assistant better. Through the Assistant Mobile OEM program, Google is helping device makers to build deeper integrations into their devices with Google Assistant. Soon, integrations on devices from LG, Sony, and Xiaomi will be available.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Carrier program will help Google Assistant users get more details on their service, such as getting customer support and adding new services. Sprint, Koodo, Telus, and Vodafone are already working on integrations with Google Assistant.

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Google Assistant rolls out ‘routines’ and plans deeper integration with hardware — and even telcos

Google Assistant is rolling out its ‘routines’ feature and plans to embed itself deeper into devices — even integrating directly with telcos.

First announced back in October, the routines feature allows several commands to be linked together from a single phrase. For example, saying “Hey Google, I’m home” may switch on your lights, play some music, set a comfortable temperature, and get the kettle boiling.

Perhaps most intruiging are Google’s plans to integrate with telecoms providers

The virtual assistant integrates with a wide range of IoT devices today for specific actions such as turning on your Hue lights. Google will soon integrate with the specific hardware of a device so a user could say “Hey Google, open my camera’s portrait mode” for smartphones with the feature.

While it’s camera-based features Google is focusing on first, the company plans to expand it to other innovations that hardware manufacturers may debut in the coming years. Initial partners include Sony, LG, and Xiaomi.

Perhaps most intruiging are Google’s plans to integrate with telecoms providers. Users could ask for things such as how much data is left in their plan, add certain features like roaming passes, or even ask for programs to be recorded in the case of companies which also offer DVRs with TV packages.

There’s no current timeline for the feature, but it sounds as if carriers are being supportive of Google’s plans. Initial carriers will include Sprint, Vodafone, Koodo, and Telus.

Are you impressed by Google Assistant’s features? Let us know in the comments.

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