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 music listening, communicating with friends, language translation, news and information, and the ability to control other devices in your home.

Initial Setup Steps

Before you begin, you'll need:

Follow these basic 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 the Google Play or iTunes App Store.

    Download Google Home 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, then select Set up for the Google Home device.

  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 in a natural manner. So, you can ask Google a series of questions without having to say 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, then tap Continued Conversation.

This feature is only available in the U.S.

When Google Assistant recognizes your voice, the multi-colored indicator lights located on the top of the unit flash. Once a question is answered, or the task is complete, say OK Google, stop or Hey Google, stop. However, the Google Home smart speaker does not turn off as it is always on, unless you physically unplug it from its power source. If you wish to turn off the microphones, there is a microphone mute button.

When communicating with a Google Home smart speaker, speak in natural tones and at a normal 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 will sound.

Try Language Capabilities

Google Home smart speakers can be operated in several languages, including English (US, UK, CAN, AU), French (FR, CAN), and German. In addition to operational 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—though it does not include accents or other special characters.

Play Streaming Music

If you subscribe to Google Play, you can play music with commands such as 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 name of a radio station. 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 pairing instructions in the Google Home app on your smartphone or say OK Google, Bluetooth pairing.

In addition, 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, depending on the source, 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 do not support the Groups feature.

Once groups are established, you can send music to each group and change the volume of each device 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 wish 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 5 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 the call. 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 the TV 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

Say OK, Google, what is the weather? and it will tell you. By default, weather alerts and information correspond to the location of the Google Home. However, you can find out the weather for any location by providing Google Home with the relevant city, state, or country.

In addition to weather, Google Home provides things like traffic information (for example, 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 choices, 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 is 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, you need to download and install the Uber app (with a payment method) on your smartphone and link it to your Google account.

Once that is done, say OK Google, get me an Uber. Then, enter a pick-up destination in the Uber app. After that is taken care of, you can find out how far away your ride is so you can get 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 home, 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, additional control accessories and compatible home entertainment devices are required to use the Google Home smart home features effectively.