How to Set Up Google Home, Mini, and Max Smart Speakers

Enhance your lifestyle with Google Home smart speakers

Deciding to buy a Google Home smart speaker is just the beginning. After you get it up and running, you have access to abundant lifestyle enhancement capabilities, such as listening to music, communicating with friends using the intercom feature, language translation, news and information, and the ability to control other devices in your home.

How to Set Up Google Home, Mini, and Max Smart Speakers

Before you begin, you need:

Follow these instructions to set up Google Home.

  1. Plug the Google Home smart speaker into a power outlet using the provided AC adapter. It powers on automatically.

  2. Download the Google Home app on your smartphone or tablet from Google Play or the iOS App Store.

    Download For:

  3. Open the Google Home app and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policies.

  4. Go to Devices and allow it to detect the Google Home device.

  5. When the device is detected, select Continue on your smartphone screen and select Set-up devices.

    If you don't see Set up devices, tap Get started > Set up new devices > Create another home > Next and enter a home nickname. You can change your Google Home name later.

  6. After the app successfully sets up the selected Google Home unit, it plays a test sound. If it doesn't play the sound, select Play test sound on the app screen. When you hear the sound, choose I heard the sound.

  7. Using the Google Home app prompts on your smartphone, select your location (if you haven't done so already), language, and Wi-Fi network. You will also need to provide your password.

  8. To enable Google Assistant features on a Google Home device, select Sign In in the Google Home app and enter your Google account username and password.

Use Voice Recognition and Communication

To use Google Home, say "OK Google" or "Hey Google" and then state a command or ask a question. Once Google Assistant responds, you are ready to go. One fun thing to do is say "Hey Google, what's up?" You'll hear an entertaining response that changes each time you ask the question.

You must say "OK Google" or "Hey Google" each time you ask a question unless you activate the Continued Conversation feature. This feature allows you to interact with your Google Home naturally. So, you can ask Google a series of questions without saying "OK Google" before each question. However, if Google Home doesn't detect any questions after 8 seconds, you must say "OK Google" to start another conversation.

To enable the Continued Conversation feature:

  1. Go to the Google Assistant or Google Home app on your smartphone.

  2. Go to Settings in the Google Assistant app or More Settings in the Google Home app.

  3. Select Preferences and tap Continued Conversation.

This feature is only available in the U.S.

The multi-colored indicator lights on the top of the unit flash when Google Assistant recognizes your voice. After it answers a question or completes a task, say "OK Google, stop" or "Hey Google, stop." However, the Google Home smart speaker does not turn off. It is always on unless you physically unplug it from its power source. If you want to turn off the microphones, there is a mute microphone button.

When communicating with a Google Home smart speaker, speak naturally and at an average pace and volume level. Over time, Google Assistant becomes familiar with your speech patterns.

Change the Google Assistant Voice

The default voice response of the Google Assistant is female. However, you can change the voice to male by following these steps:

  1. Open the Google Home app on your smartphone.

  2. Select the Menu icon in the upper-left corner of the screen.

  3. Under Google Assistant, select More Settings.

  4. Under Account, choose Preferences.

  5. Select Assistant Voice. Before you finalize your choice, tap the speaker icon to hear how it sounds.

Try Language Capabilities

Google Home smart speakers can operate in several languages, including English, French, and German. In addition to these languages, Google Home devices can translate words and phrases into languages supported by Google Translate. For example, you can command any of the following:

  • OK, Google, say "good morning" in Finnish.
  • OK, Google, say "thank you" in German.
  • Hey Google, tell me how to say '"where is the nearest school" in Japanese.
  • OK, Google, can you tell me how to say "here is my passport" in Italian?

You can also ask a Google Home smart speaker to spell about any word, from cat to supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It can spell many words in some foreign languages using English spelling conventions, although it does not include accents or other special characters.

Play Streaming Music

If you subscribe to Google Play, you can play music by saying "OK Google, play music." However, if you have accounts with other services, such as Pandora or Spotify, you can command Google Home to play music from those as well. For example, say "Hey Google, play Tom Petty music on Pandora."

To listen to a radio station, say "OK Google, play [radio station name]." If it is on iHeart Radio, the Google Home smart speaker will play it.

You can also listen to music from most smartphones using Bluetooth streaming. Follow the Google Home app's pairing instructions on your smartphone or say "OK Google, Bluetooth pairing."

If you have a Google Home Max, you can physically connect it to an external audio source (such as a CD player) with an analog stereo cable. However, you may need to use an RCA-to-3.5mm adapter to complete the connection.

While your Google Home is playing music, you can interrupt with a question about the musical artist or something else. After it answers, it returns to the music automatically.

Google Home supports multi-room audio. You can send audio to other Google Home smart speakers around your home (including the Mini and Max), Chromecast for audio, and wireless powered speakers with Chromecast built-in. You can even place devices into groups. For example, you can have the devices in your living room and kitchen designated as one group and your bedroom devices in another group. However, Chromecast for video and TVs with Chromecast built-in does not support the Groups feature.

Once you've established groups, you can send music to each group and change each device's volume or all of the devices in the group. You also have the option of controlling the volume of Google Home, Mini, Max, and Chromecast-enabled speakers using the physical controls on each unit.

Make a Phone Call or Send a Message

You can use Google Home to make free phone calls. If the person you want to call is on your contact list, say something like "OK Google, call [name]." You can call anyone or any business in the U.S. or Canada by asking Google Home to dial the phone number. You can also adjust the volume of the call using voice commands. For example, say "Set the volume at five" or "Set the volume at 50 percent."

To end the call, say "OK Google" followed by stop, disconnect, end call, or hang up. You can also place a call on hold, ask Google Home a question, and then return to it. Tell Google Home to place the call on hold or tap the top of the Google Home unit.

Play Videos

Since Google Home devices do not have screens, these devices cannot show videos. However, you can use them to show YouTube videos on your TV using a Chromecast unit or directly on the TV if it has Google Chromecast built-in.

To access YouTube, say "OK Google, show me videos on YouTube." If you know what type of video you are looking for, you can say something like "Show me dog videos on YouTube" or "Show me Taylor Swift music videos on YouTube."

You can also use your Google Home device to control a Google Chromecast media streamer or a TV with Chromecast built-in.

Get Weather and Other Information

If you say "OK Google, tell me the weather," it will tell you. By default, weather alerts and information match the location of the Google Home. However, you can find out the weather for other places by providing Google Home with the relevant city, state, or country.

In addition to weather, Google Home provides traffic information (ask "How long will it take to drive to Costco?"), sports updates, word definitions, unit conversions, and fun facts.

With fun facts, ask Google Home specific trivia questions such as:

  • Why is Mars red?
  • What was the largest dinosaur?
  • How much does the Earth weigh?
  • What is the World's tallest building?
  • How does an elephant sound?

You can also say "Hey Google, tell me a fun fact" or "Tell me something interesting." Google Home responds each time with a random piece of trivia that you might find interesting.

Shop Online

You can use Google Home to create and maintain a shopping list. When you place a delivery address and payment method (credit or debit card) on file with your Google account, you can shop online. Use Google Assistant to search for an item or say "Order more laundry detergent." Google Home will give you some choices. If you want to hear more options, say "List more."

When you make your choice, select and buy it by saying "Buy this." Then follow the checkout and payment procedures as prompted.

Google partners with a large number of online retailers to make shopping possible.

Cook With Food Network Assistance

Don't know what to cook tonight? Check out the Food Network Assistant. Say "OK Google, ask Food Network about fried chicken recipes."

Google Assistant establishes voice assistance between you and Food Network. The Food Network voice assistant acknowledges your request and confirms that it has found the requested recipes. It either emails the recipes to you or asks if you would like to request more recipes. If you choose the email option, you will receive the recipes almost instantly. Another option is to have the Food Network Assistant read you the recipe step-by-step.

Call for Uber Rides

You can use Google Home to reserve a ride on Uber. First, download and install the Uber app (with a payment method) on your smartphone and link it to your Google account.

Then, say "OK Google, get me an Uber" and enter a pick-up destination in the Uber app. After that's taken care of, you can find out how far away your ride is so you can be ready to meet it or find out if it is running late.

Implement Smart Home Controls

A Google Home smart speaker can serve as a control center for your home. For example, use it to lock and unlock doors, set thermostats for areas of the house, control room lighting, and provide limited control of compatible home entertainment devices. You can control TVs, home theater receivers, motorized projection screens, and more, either directly or through compatible remote control devices like Logitech Harmony, Nest, or Samsung Smart Things.

However, you need additional control accessories and compatible home entertainment devices to use the Google Home smart home features effectively.

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