How to Use Google Home App for Android

Run your Google smart home from your phone

Google Home logo

Google

Google Home is an app that pairs with products that use Google Assistant, like the Google Home Mini. And even with just your Android, it's a powerful tool. Here's how to get the most out of it.

Downloading and Using the Google Home App

Google Home settings screen on Android
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Google Home is found in the Google Play Store. Install it and open it, making sure your phone or tablet is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Google Home device. It will search for your device, or devices, that are compatible and identify them by the name you gave them when you set them up. Simply select it and they'll connect automatically; your Google Home speaker will make a noise to acknowledge this.

Next, you need to add services. First, click on the account button in the bottom far-right corner. On the following screen, choose Settings. There are two tabs of interest here: Assistant and Settings. If you choose “Assistant,” this will take you to a tab that lets you configure Google Assistant and the various chores it can do for you. If you choose services, that will take you to a suite of different handy functions.

Google Home and Google Assistant

Google Home devices are powered by Google Assistant. Most current Android devices have Google Assistant, but you can download it from the Google Play Store if it's not on your phone. Google Assistant will allow you to use features like shopping lists and reminders on the go, although connected devices like lights or appliances may not work unless your phone is connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Check the manual of the device to see how to enable it remotely. You may also need to open Google Assistant first, or use the Google app and tap the microphone button, depending on your preferred settings.

Turn Down the Lights With Google Home

If you have “smart” appliances, such as smart lightbulbs or smart outlets, you can connect them to voice control with the Google Home app. First, you should check to ensure they're compatible with Google Home; you can find a full list of devices and apps by category on Google's Assistant site. Once you have the device, use its app to connect to the same network your Google Home speaker is on, and then open Google Home, click the Assistant tab, then “Home Control” and your device should be automatically added to the list. Tap the device and you'll be able to give it a nickname. Then just say “Hey, Google, turn on [nickname]” for example, and it will flip on for you.

Keep in mind that there's a wide range of devices that may be useful to the entire home. Contact sensors, for example, can easily be installed and can tell you whether a door or window is closed.

Use the Google Home App to Make Calls With Google Voice or Google Fi

The Mobile Calling menu in the Google Home app on Android

Google Voice is a handy service that assigns you a phone number that you can dial in Google Hangouts and through Gmail to make phone calls.

  • Request a phone number through Google Voice. Be sure to use the Google account that's connected to your Google Home.
  • Open the app and select “Voice and Video Calls.” Choose your Google Voice number in the menu.

If you use Google's mobile service, Google Fi, you'll find it here as well. Here's what you should know about Google Fi, if you're considering using it.

Connect Google Home to Your Music

The Music menu in the Google Home app for Android
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You can add different music services to Google Home, although options are limited: Neither Apple nor Amazon's music streaming is allowed on Home, as of this writing. However, if you use Pandora or Spotify, you can run them through Google Home

  • Select music and click on the blue “link” next to your preferred service.
  • Sign in and agree to the connections as you would normally.
  • To use that service, say something like “Hey Google, play pop on Spotify.”

Open the Google Home app while music is playing and you'll find volume controls, fast-forward and rewind, and details about the song playing.

Get the News With Google Home

The News menu on the Google Home app in Android
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Another handy feature is that you can get news radio over Google Home. You can even choose which outlets you'd prefer to hear from.

  • Go into the news tab. Notice that you can rearrange outlets simply by pressing and dragging them up and down on the screen. The order will tell you which news media you hear first.
  • Add more by clicking “Add news sources.” Make a point of scrolling through, as many local news organizations have added themselves to Google Home.
  • To listen say “Hey Google, what's the news?”

Have Google Home Tell You What's On Your Calendar

The calendars tab in Google Home app for Android
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Google Home automatically loads any calendar connected to your Gmail account. All you need to add another Google calendar, such as a work calendar, is to have the administrator add your Gmail account to that calendar, and then add that calendar under “Services” and then “Calendar.” You should be able to check off a box with the name of the calendar, and it should add automatically.

Set Reminders on Google Home 

The Google Home app can also be used to set reminders. Under “Services,” select “Reminder” and then the blue plus button on the bottom. You can give the reminder a title, set a date, and make it recurring. This is particularly useful if you've got a lot to do and will be near the speaker, as it will prompt you.

Put Your Shopping List On Google Home

Adding an item to a shopping list on the Google Home app for Android
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In the app, you can set a shopping list and even share that shopping list with other people. First, go into Shopping List under Services and start adding items. If you want to add somebody to the shopping list, press the person and plus sign icon in the upper right hand corner and enter in email addresses.

Use Google Home's Routines to Automate Your Morning

Setting a routine in the Google Home app for Android
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You can also set Google Home to do multiple things with just one command. Under Assistant you'll find “Routines,” which can be configured in multiple ways. For example, the “good morning” routine can turn on lights, activate a coffee maker, and begin reading you the news. Use the app to configure what you want and it can speed up your morning considerably.