Google Assistant

Today I explore a range of products that work with Google Assistant to help everyone better understand what you can control in and around your home with this amazing smart technology. But first thing’s first: what is Google Assistant? Google Assistant is a voice activated smart home ecosystem that’s loaded onto ever more hardware devices from a variety of different Smart Home manufacturers (not just Google itself) to help you interact with and/or control your smart home, various other personal devices, and to essentially bring automated convenience to every area of your life. If you don’t yet have a Google Assistant enabled device, the first thing you probably ought to do is check out the original Google Home smart speaker to see where it all began.


What Can You Control with Google Assistant?

TVs & Entertainment

Google Assistant

One area in which Google Assistant provides many useful benefits is that of TV & Home Theatre. Today’s TVs are increasingly smarter devices that connect to the Internet and work with apps/video streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, CBS All Access, and others to bring you all the latest in home entertainment. Of course, with Google Assistant, you’ll enjoy an even greater level of control over your smart TV. For instance, if you have Chromecast (which many modern TVs have built right in), you can control your TV (such as turning it on and off and telling it what you want to watch) with simple voice commands via your synced Google-enabled device. There are even manufacturers starting to produce Sound Bars with Google compatibility, though these have not yet become quite so widespread.

Other entertainment related fun you can have with the Google Assistant includes being able to listen to all of your favourite tunes via audio services such as Spotify and Google Play Music with the Google Home (or similar smart speaker with Google Assistant built in). Whether you have an Android or iOS based smart device, Google Assistant can easily cast and play all the music you love to keep you grooving all day long.


Google In the Kitchen

Google Assistant

The kitchen is another area in which the Google Assistant can make your life both easier and better. For instance, with today’s Google-equipped Smart Displays, you can easily search for and follow online recipes hands-free, which is a very good thing when you’ve been handling raw chicken. As smart displays themselves continue to advance and innovate, ever more specialized versions are becoming available—some of which are specifically designed for use in the kitchen.

Google-enabled smart displays also allow you to watch videos (perhaps instructional cooking shows), listen to music, check the latest news and sports scores, engage in video phone calls with family and friends, adjust the brightness of your kitchen’s smart lighting (to help you see what you’re doing), and control thousands of other smart home devices from hundreds of different brands—all with just your voice.

An article I wrote in July called Features of Smart Displays That You Will Love! will give you an even better idea of all the cool things that these devices can do.


Take Google Assistant On Your Commute

Google AssistantOn your commute to and from work, you can make use of the Google Assistant via a compatible smart watch (or similar Wearable Technology device) running Google’s Wear OS platform. Such gadgets perform a variety of useful functions using voice based control. For example, you can set alarms and reminders of meetings or events you don’t want to miss; send text messages, e-mails, and make phone calls right from your wrist; get weather or traffic updates that could help make your commute easier; get directions or other navigational assistance via Google Maps; check your heart rate or find out how many steps you’ve taken today; track an exercise session (such as your total running or cycling time); make an important note for yourself; make a reservation at your favourite restaurant using OpenTable; make a quick mathematical calculation (such as figuring out the tip for that restaurant); find out what an unfamiliar word means; or check today’s conversion rate between any two currencies.


Home Security with Google

Another key area of life that Google Assistant makes better relates to home security—an issue of great importance to everyone! For instance, you can control your Smart Locks and Doorbells, smart Security Cameras, and smart Security Alarms and Motion Sensors all with the Google Assistant.

One example of this might be to ask Google to show you a live stream of your outdoor security camera’s current feed on your smart phone or smart display. Others might include asking Google to unlock the door for you or a visitor, asking it to set a lighting schedule so that certain lights come on at night, having it arm or disarm your security system, or using it as an intercom to address family members scattered throughout the house in the event of an emergency (you’ll need multiple smart speakers for this last usage, however).


What Else Can Google Assistant Do?

You’d think that with all the ways already mentioned for using the Google Assistant to make your daily life easier and better, there couldn’t possibly be much left to cover. The fact is, we’ve barely scratched the surface thus far. (Note: Pictured below is the Google Home Mini—just one of the many Google-enabled devices you may choose from.)

Google AssistantAdditional examples of the things that Google can do include managing your personal calendar for you, like having it record (and ultimately remind you of) an important future appointment; you can ask it virtually any fact-based question and receive an audible answer instantly from the vast reservoir of knowledge known as the Internet (for instance, saying “Hey Google, who was the third Prime Minister of Canada?”); and you can have it open an app for you on your phone.

Similarly, you can ask it to translate something for you, like if you’re speaking to someone that doesn’t speak the same language, you can essentially have it act as a universal translator (yes, I did mean like the ones from Star Trek); you can ask it to time something you’ve got cooking in the oven and let you know when it’s ready; and you can even have it send someone a text message for you. How amazing is all of that?

By now I’m sure you get the idea—there’s almost no limit to the many amazing things that the Google Assistant can do for you in your daily life and the great variety of other devices it can work with. Google is even expanding to having versions of its Assistant for people’s cars now, so who knows what else the future might hold for these ubiquitous virtual assistants. For all of your virtual assistant and other Smart Home needs, visit Best Buy Canada either in store or online today!


Leonard Bond
Leo enjoys writing about everything from secret agents to tech toys and gadgets to professional hockey. Find his reviews and other product related commentary right here on the Best Buy Blog and his latest hockey rants at