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Google Assistant

34

Here are 11 tips and tricks for your Google Nest Hub

Here are 11 tips and tricks for your Google Nest Hub

Google's Nest Hub smart displays use voice commands for most functions, which means they are usually easier to use than smartphones or PCs. However, the (general) lack of a graphical user interface means discovering features can be difficult. Google does show tips and tricks on the Hub's home screen, but they don't cover every possible option and feature.

In this guide, we'll go over some helpful features in Google's line of smart displays in particular: the Nest Hub (formerly named the Home Hub) and Nest Hub Max.

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13

Google kills most of its Disney read-along books for Nest and Home

Google kills most of its Disney read-along books for Nest and Home

For years, you've been able to trigger extra sound effects on the Google Home when reciting a handful of Little Golden library books. This Read Along feature worked with a small library of Disney titles, which has changed over the years. Earlier this week, though, Google massively cut the number of titles available to a mere five.

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25

Google is making a few Android experiments official today

Google is making a few Android experiments official today

Google is always working on improving its Android apps and the operating system itself, heavily relying on public a/b tests that appear on some people's phones but not on others. But every once in a while, the company takes the time to announce some features formally, and today is another one of those days. Google is making a whole slew of known tests and a few brand-new changes official.

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34

Unlocking your phone is no longer necessary for some Google Assistant actions

Unlocking your phone is no longer necessary for some Google Assistant actions

How many times have you tried to ask Assistant to do something on your out-of-reach phone only to hear no answer in return? Grabbing your device then reveals the dreaded "Unlock to continue" message with the lockscreen on top. If you've frequently wondered what good is a voice assistant with Voice Match if it can't authenticate you and override the lockscreen in any useful way, then you're in the same boat as me. But Google is finally fixing this.

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13

Google can now read webpages to you in a British, Australian, or Indian accent

Google can now read webpages to you in a British, Australian, or Indian accent

About a year ago, Google rolled out a new capability to Android devices that lets you ask for any webpage or Google News article to be read aloud. The feature, which uses Assistant, is perfect if you want to put your phone away, but still check out some interesting content, from Wikipedia to a random website or your favorite news sources. It even translates pages on the fly from 42 languages! What the feature lacked, though, was a larger choice of reading languages and accents. The former is still not available, but the latter is improving.

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13

Tip: Google Assistant can help you manage your phone's battery life, even remotely

Tip: Google Assistant can help you manage your phone's battery life, even remotely

Google Assistant is useful beyond answering run-of-the-mill questions about the weather or helping set alarms and timers. You can ask it to make restaurant reservations, schedule lights on or off, or tell you how much you slept last night. At some point, it also picked up a new ability that lets you manage your phone's battery life remotely — since we didn't know about it, we figured you probably won't either.

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15

Android Auto adds custom shortcuts and re-enables Google Assistant routines

Android Auto adds custom shortcuts and re-enables Google Assistant routines

Wallpapers aren't the only new thing rolling out to Android Auto users this week, Google is also turning on some handy features to simplify activities while you're driving. Users can now add custom shortcuts to the launcher to quickly call pre-selected contacts or activate Google Assistant commands. Along with this, Google Assistant routines are available again after more than two years since they mysteriously stopped working through Auto.

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32

Unofficial project brings the Google Assistant to your desktop

Unofficial project brings the Google Assistant to your desktop

We don't really think about it, but it's kind of odd that Google hasn't made a standalone version of the Assistant for PCs, isn't it? Or at least built one into Chrome. After all, Chrome OS has it now, and the Assistant is a big part of the Android experience, too (Bixby be damned). We even buy smart speakers and displays for around the house, headphones can talk to Google, and yet our desktop and laptops are ignored. But if you want to plug that gap on your own, it turns out, you can. There's an unofficial Google Assistant desktop client that's a pain in the ass to set up but way nicer than it has any right to be.

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7

Nest Hubs are getting sunrise alarms, family sticky notes, and the Google weather frog wallpaper

Nest Hubs are getting sunrise alarms, family sticky notes, and the Google weather frog wallpaper

A big update is rolling out to Nest Hubs and third-party Google Assistant smart displays with lots of cool new features, many of which have been promised or teased/leaked for several months. The changes first started showing up several weeks ago, but are now rolling out to a wider audience. You can now (well, if the features have reached your unit) use your display as a sunrise alarm, put the Google weather frog as a background, leave sticky notes for your family to read, and more.

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28

Google says the 'device not set up yet' error for Assistant device controls has been fixed

Google says the 'device not set up yet' error for Assistant device controls has been fixed

If your Google Home was telling you, "sorry, that device isn't set up yet," when trying to control smart home devices like your thermostat or lights today, you aren't alone. Not everyone is affected, but what appeared to be an Assistant-related outage affected Assistant-based smart home device controls for many. According to a Google spokesperson, the issue was due to a "limited experiment" and has now been fixed. Things should be back to normal soon.

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