Smart Home: A great hobby project for some and a complicated job for others. In this edition of Android Tips, we’ll get you started and walk you through the Google Home app in detail.
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Start your smart home with the Google Home app
Getting started with a smart home may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. You can easily build your smart home at your own pace. The protocol that many smart devices operate on is Google Home.
You can connect your devices to the Google Home app so they can be easily controlled from one place. We show you how to set up, use, and customize this app. This way you can confidently start your smart home. Are you involved?
1. Set up your Google home page
First you need to install the Google Home app on your smartphone. The app may already be on your phone, but otherwise can be found in the Play Store. This can also be done on your tablet. When you open the application, you must log in with your Google account. Once you’re signed in, the app will also appear on your Wear OS watch if you have one.
In the Google Home app, you see different menus at the bottom of the screen: Favorites, Devices, Automation, Activities, and Settings. You can adjust all your smart home settings with Google Home via these menus. In the Devices list you will find all the configured smart devices associated with your home. Use the Add button to add new devices to the Google Home app. Settings will vary for each device, so follow the steps in the guide carefully.
Have you plugged in your new smart bulb, TV, media player, or smoke detector? Then you can add it to your digital home. You can give this a name and title during setup. You can also add devices to specific rooms within the home. Through the “Devices” list, you can see the specific devices for each room and here you can operate them from your smartphone.
Want to know which devices work with Google Home? Then check out Google list of supported devices. Or when purchasing a new device, look for the “Works with Google Home” sticker on the packaging.
Listening to music through a set of speakers
Do you mainly use WiFi smart speakers and media players like Chromecast or Google Nest Mini? Then you can integrate it into your speaker array. This allows you to easily play music on multiple speakers at once.
Go to the Settings menu in the Home app, tap Add, then Speaker Group. Then select the devices you want to connect and press Next. Name the speaker group and select Save.
If you now open Spotify, YouTube Music, or any other audio app, you will now see the speaker array between the different playback devices. Click on it and enjoy music throughout your home, or in one specific room.
You can customize a lot of things via Google Home. From setting the wallpaper on your Chromecast to automating your smart lights. There’s a lot to adjust for each setting, so be sure to explore around. We give you a number of examples.
Change the background of your slide show
You can set the wallpaper on Google media players, such as Chromecast with Google TV or Google Nest Hub. To do this, go to the device in the Google Home app and select the gear at the top right. Tap “Photo Frame” or “Atmosphere Mode”. You can now choose from Art Gallery, Google Photos, and more.
If you want to see your own photos on this screen, choose Google Photos. Select an album from your Google Photos. Don’t have this? Then create one via the Google Photos app.
Once you select your album, these photos will be displayed as a slideshow on your Chromecast or Nest Hub. In the menu you will also find other settings, such as weather, time, and how long images appear on the screen.
Link accounts for streaming
Many Google Home devices come with Google Assistant. Besides the fact that you can ask about the weather or time, you can also play media using it. To do this, link your streaming services to your Google Home account. For example, consider using Spotify for music or Netflix for watching movies.
You can do this via the Add button in the Settings menu. Once set up, you can ask Google Assistant: “Hey Google, play music on Spotify in the kitchen,” without having to pick up your phone.
Make your home truly smart with routines
In the Automatic menu in the Google Home app, you can set so-called routines. For example, consider turning off all screens and lights as soon as you go to bed – and much more. You can make it as wide as you want.
Click Add in the menu and choose whether you want to set up the routine for the entire house or just for yourself. You will then enter the menu. Under Starters, you can choose what triggers an action, for example when you log in, when you say a certain sentence to Google Assistant or when the sun sets.
Then select the action you want. This can be a lot: from adjusting the settings on your smartphone to turning off the lights. My favorite routine is to turn off the lights, music, and TV as soon as I leave my house.
3. Search through other settings
What the Google Home app can do for you depends on the devices you use. For example, motion sensors and cameras monitor everything when you’re away in the ‘Activities’ list, and you can put your most used devices one by one in the ‘Favorites’ list. So make sure you enjoy the app yourself.
You can also adjust many things via the Settings menu, including device names, Google Assistant settings, and managing your privacy. And do you always want to have the latest Google Home functionality? Then you can register for the app’s beta program.
This is called the Public Preview, but please note: These are experimental features and may not work well sometimes. This is truly for advanced smart home enthusiasts.
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