We've been hearing about Google Assistant's routines for months now. Cody first discovered them in a Google app teardown last September, then they were officially announced in October, but Google was mum about them until last month when it said routines will launch "in the coming weeks in the US." A few weeks have passed since then, so it's about time we start seeing these routines for real. We haven't spotted them on our phones just yet, but their support page just went live and now we know almost everything there is about them

There will be 6 routines to start: Good Morning, Bedtime, Leaving home, I'm home, Commuting to work, and Commuting home. The last two will only be accessible from your phone - you won't be able to trigger them from your Google Home. The Good Morning routine is replacing the My Day feature when it launches. And routines will be voice-dependent, so you and the other people in your home will be able to trigger your own actions for each one.

That's, unfortunately, where the good news ends. If you thought that routines will let you trigger any command and action on your Google Home, you might be in for a disappointment. Each routine has a limited set of predefined actions and it doesn't look like you'll be able to trigger much in the way of smart home appliances, at least not Assistant apps integrations. So proper Home control devices like lights and thermostats will work, but things like Logitech, Todoist, or others apparently won't.

Here are the available actions for each routine:

  • Good Morning:
    • take your phone off silent (only if initiated via an Android device) and adjust the media volume
    • adjust lights, plugs, thermostats, and more
    • tell you today's weather, commute, calendar, reminders
    • play music or news or radio or podcasts (where you left off) or audiobooks (where you left off)
  • Bedtime:
    • put your phone on silent (only if initiated via an Android device) and adjust the media volume
    • tell you tomorrow's weather and first calendar event
    • set an alarm
    • adjust lights, plugs, thermostats, and more
    • play music (with a sleep timer) or sleep sounds
  • Leaving home:
    • adjust lights, plugs, thermostats, and more
  • I'm home:
    • adjust lights, plugs, thermostats, and more
    • broadcast to your Home speakers that you're home
    • tell you home reminders (location-based)
    • adjust media volume
    • play music, news, radio, podcasts, audiobooks
  • Commuting to work (only available on Android and iOS):
    • tell you about today's commute, weather, calendar, reminders
    • adjust lights, plugs, thermostats, and more
    • adjust the media volume
    • play music, news, radio, podcasts
  • Commuting home (only available on Android and iOS):
    • tell you about your commute
    • adjust lights, plugs, thermostats, and more
    • send texts and read unread texts
    • broadcast to your Home speakers that you're on the way
    • adjust the media volume
    • play music, news, radio, or podcasts.

There are many eyebrow-raising choices in this list. For example, why is it possible to send texts when commuting home but not to work? I often leave for work after my husband and let him know when I move, but the commuting routine won't let this be part of my automated actions. Also confusing is why podcasts, audiobooks, radio, and news aren't accessible for the bedtime routine.

There are also some unanswered questions. Will "sending texts" only use SMS or other messaging apps that are integrated with Assistant, like WhatsApp? What is "and more" in the smart home adjustment category? Will you be able to lock your smart locks at bedtime, start your smart vacuum when you leave home, or start your dishwasher when you arrive? And will the audio playback be limited to Assistant services, thus making it impossible to launch Pocket Casts on your phone for example in the commuting routine?

Until Routines start showing up in our Assistant settings, we won't know the answer to these. Overall, the feature seems like a good start, but could use a little more flexibility in the available options. For now, if you're wondering what Routines will look like, 9to5Google was able to activate Good Morning and showed it off, proving you can set several activation phrases for it.

Routines seem to be going live now in the Google Assistant's / Google Home app's settings. You can find them with Home control, Music, and Shortcuts. For now only the Good Morning (previously My Day) routine is live. Thanks, Zachary.

Two days ago the "Good morning" routine landed, but as of today all six routines are appearing in the Home app!

We can now all enjoy the convenience of commuting and bedtime macros for our Home and Assistant-compatible devices.

  • Thanks:
  • David Slawotsky