How to Set Up Google Home Routines

Unlock your smart speaker's most powerful feature

Google Home speaker on kitchen table

Isaac Connor / Getty Images 

Using a Google speaker as an ever-present assistant or as a buddy to play games with is all well and good, but what else can the popular smart speaker do? Did you know that you can create routines to run several tasks with a single prompt? Using a single command, these Google Home routines can trigger multiple actions at the same time. And they're easy to create.

What Is a Google Home Routine?

A Google Home routine is a set of actions that your Google Home device controls with a single command. In fact, your Google Assistant already has six built-in routines waiting for you. They are:

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

Each of these ready-made routines can be customized. Within each routine, you'll find a set of parameters that you can edit:

  • When I say: This allows you to set your trigger word or phrase for the routine.
  • The Google Assistant should: This is used to assign tasks to be completed with the verbal cue.
  • And then play: Use this to decide if you need some music to go along with your new task.

How to Create Custom Google Routines

If the ready-made routines are not what you're going for then you can always create custom routines. Here's how:

  1. Open the Google Assistant App.

  2. Select your Profile Icon in the top-right corner to open the user menu.

  3. Select the Assistant tab under your user name.

    Tap the Assistant tab on the Google Home app.
  4. Select Routines to open the Routines menu.

  5. Select the Blue + icon in the bottom-right to create a new routine.

  6. Under When I Say choose a voice command to start your routine. You can also treat it as an alarm, setting it to start the routine on a certain day at a specific time.

    Screenshots showing how to created Google Home Routines.
  7. Under The Google Assistant Should, select Add Action. This will give you the option of adding a custom action. Alternatively, select Popular Actions to choose options from a list.

    The list will suggest things like lights, plugs, weather reports, commute information, and other actions. If you're selecting from the list, you can customize a choice by choosing the Settings Gear (where available), then selecting ADD in the top-right corner when you've made all your picks.

    Screenshots illustrating how to add and edit Google Home Routine actions.
  8. Under And then play, select Add Media. You will be taken to a screen where you can select the media that you want to play during this routine. Some options include:

    • Music: It will use your default music player that you've set for Google Assistant. You can change this setting by selecting the blue link default music service when you're selecting the music for your routine.
    • News: This options provides a number of major news outlets that you can prioritize by your level of interest.
    • Radio: Tune the media selection using a radio station call sign.
    • Podcasts: Either continue the last podcast you were playing or play the latest episode of a specific podcast.
    • Audiobook: Listen to and voice-control audiobooks from Google Play Books.
    • Sleep sounds: Pick from a variety of white noise type sounds like rain or ocean waves.

    Select ADD once you've selected your media source and customized the settings.

  9. When you're finished adding all of your actions and music, go back to the New Routine screen and select SAVE in the top-right corner. The routine will now be in your list of routines and be accessible when you say "Hey Google" and give the prompt that you chose.

    Screenshots illustrating how to add media to and save a Google Home Routine.

    Routines can be deleted from their edit screen. Instead of tapping to save, tap on the blue trash can icon to delete the routine.

If you're using other smart gadgets in your home that are compatible with Google Assistant—such as light bulbs, smart locks, security cameras, thermostats, or video doorbells—then routines are a great way to get the most out your smart tech. Give it a try and see just how smart your home can get.