How do I set up Google Assistant voice commands?

Google Assistant is an intelligent virtual assistant developed by Google that allows users to interact with devices hands-free using voice commands (source: It can be accessed on Android and iOS devices, as well as Google Home smart speakers.

With Google Assistant, users can get answers, control smart home devices, play music and podcasts, navigate or get directions, set reminders, make calls and send texts, and more all through simple voice interactions. The assistant uses natural language processing to understand conversational commands and queries.

To use Google Assistant, a user simply needs to say the hotword “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”, which activates the microphone to start listening. The assistant will then transcribe the voice command, analyze the text, determine the intent, and execute the requested action while providing a verbal response. Over time, Google Assistant learns the user’s preferences and habits to deliver more personalized results.

Some key capabilities of Google Assistant include:

  • Getting information like weather, news, sports scores, etc.
  • Controlling Internet-connected smart home devices
  • Setting timers and alarms
  • Listening to music, podcasts, audiobooks
  • Making calls and sending texts
  • Getting directions and traffic information
  • Managing calendar events and reminders
  • Telling jokes and playing games

Activate Google Assistant

To start using Google Assistant, you first need to activate it on your device. Here are the steps to activate Google Assistant on Android phones, iPhones, and Google Home devices:

On Android phones, open the Google app and tap “More” in the bottom right corner. Then tap “Settings” > “Google Assistant” > “Assistant” tab. Ensure “Assistant” is turned on. You can also touch and hold the home button to activate Google Assistant (source).

On iPhones, open the Google Assistant app, go to Settings > Assistant > Phone. Turn on “Hey Google” detection. You can also touch and hold the home button to activate Siri, then say “Hey Google” to switch to Google Assistant (source).

On Google Home/Nest devices, the Assistant is activated by default. Just say “Hey Google” or “OK Google” to activate it. Make sure the devices are set up with your Google account and connected to the same WiFi network as your phone.

Once enabled, you can activate Google Assistant at any time by saying the hotword “OK Google” or “Hey Google.” The Assistant will listen for your voice commands on Android phones and Google Home devices. On iPhones, you need to manually activate it through the Google Assistant app.

Set Up ‘OK Google’ Hotword

The “OK Google” hotword allows you to activate Google Assistant hands-free by just saying “OK Google.” To set it up on your Android device:

1. Open the Google app and tap on your profile picture in the top right corner.

2. Tap Settings > Voice > Voice Match.

3. Turn on “Hey Google” and “Hey Google” voice model.

4. Follow the on-screen instructions to record your voice saying “Ok Google” 3 times.

Once set up, you can say “Ok Google” to your phone anytime to activate Google Assistant without having to touch your device. The hotword works on the home screen, within any app, or even when your phone is locked.

If you are having trouble getting the hotword detection to work, here are some troubleshooting steps:

– Make sure you have the latest Google app update installed.[1]

– Check that Google app has microphone permissions enabled.

– Try re-recording your voice model in clearer conditions.

– Restart your phone.

– If issues persist, uninstall updates for the Google app and set up hotword again.

With some tweaking, you should be able to get hands-free “Ok Google” working reliably on your Android phone.

[1] How to Enable “OK, Google” Hotword Detection on Any Screen in Android 4.4+ – Nexus (

Basic Voice Commands

Google Assistant can understand and respond to a wide variety of basic voice commands. Here are some examples of common queries:

Check the weather: “Hey Google, what’s the weather?” or “Hey Google, will it rain today?”

Ask for the time: “Hey Google, what time is it?”

Conduct calculations: “Hey Google, what is 5 plus 7?”

Get definitions: “Hey Google, define photosynthesis.”

You can ask Google Assistant to provide information, set timers and alarms, convert between units, translate words, and more using just your voice. The key phrases “Hey Google” or “OK Google” activate it to listen for commands.

Here are some examples of other basic voice commands according to this Android Authority article:

  • “Hey Google, set a timer for 10 minutes.”
  • “Hey Google, remind me to call Mom at 7pm.”
  • “Hey Google, how many ounces are in a pound?”
  • “Hey Google, translate hello into Spanish.”

Google Assistant can understand natural language, so you don’t have to memorize specific phrasing. Experiment by asking questions conversationally.

Customize Commands

One of the most powerful features of Google Assistant is the ability to create your own custom voice commands or shortcuts. This allows you to trigger actions, tasks, and workflows using your voice. According to Google’s support documentation, you can create custom phrases to control smart devices, online services, and more.

To get started, open the Google Home app and go to Settings > Assistant > Routines. Tap the “+” icon to create a new routine. Give it a name, like “Good morning”, and choose a voice command to trigger it, like “Start my day”. You can add multiple commands if you want. Next, add actions like turning on lights, reading the news, and so on. The routine will activate whenever you say the trigger phrase.

Another option is to use third-party IFTTT applets to expand what Google Assistant can do. You can connect to hundreds of popular apps and services to create your own personalized voice commands. For example, saying “Turn on the AC” could activate your smart thermostat if you connect it through IFTTT. The possibilities are nearly endless for customizing Google Assistant to match your preferences.

Control Smart Home Devices

One of the most useful features of Google Assistant is the ability to control smart home devices using just your voice. With Google Assistant, you can control smart lights, thermostats, appliances, and more – no need to get off the couch or fumble for your phone.

To get started, you’ll first need to connect your smart home devices to the Google Home app. Popular brands like Philips Hue, Nest, Ecobee, and LG work seamlessly with Google Assistant. See the Google Home website for a full list of compatible devices.

Once connected, try saying voice commands like:

  • “Hey Google, turn on the kitchen lights”
  • “Hey Google, set the thermostat to 72 degrees”
  • “Hey Google, turn on the coffee maker”

You can customize device names and create rooms to control multiple devices at once. For example, say “Hey Google, turn off downstairs” to turn off all smart devices in your downstairs room group.

With natural voice controls, Google Assistant makes it incredibly easy to manage your smart home. No more juggling remote controls or tapping through apps – just use your voice to control lights, temperature, appliances, and more.

Get Directions with Voice Commands

One of the most useful features of Google Assistant is getting directions and traffic information hands-free using just your voice. This allows you to navigate safely while driving without having to look at your phone.

Here are some voice commands you can use with Google Assistant to get directions:

  • “Hey Google, navigate to [location]” – This will start turn-by-turn navigation to the specified location.
  • “Hey Google, give me directions to [location]” – Gets directions without starting navigation.
  • “Hey Google, how’s traffic to [location]?” – Gets current traffic conditions on your route.
  • “Hey Google, find nearby [businesses]” – Searches for businesses like gas stations, restaurants, etc. along your route.
  • “Hey Google, avoid tolls/highways” – Changes route preferences.

Google Assistant is integrated directly into Android Auto and Google Maps, allowing you to use these voice commands seamlessly while driving [1]. For iPhone users, you can activate Google Assistant by saying “Hey Google” or holding down the home button.

Using voice commands with Google Assistant makes navigating significantly easier and safer. It keeps your eyes on the road by providing directions, traffic alerts, and business search completely hands-free.

Play Music and Media

You can use voice commands to control music and media playback using Google Assistant. Here are some examples of voice commands you can use:

To play music:

  • “Hey Google, play some music” – will start playing music based on your preferences
  • “Hey Google, play jazz music” – plays jazz music
  • “Hey Google, play music by The Beatles” – plays songs by the specified artist

To control playback:

  • “Hey Google, turn it up” – increases volume
  • “Hey Google, skip” – skips to next song
  • “Hey Google, pause” – pauses music

For podcasts and audiobooks:

  • “Hey Google, play the latest episode of [podcast name]”
  • “Hey Google, resume my audiobook”

You can also play music on speakers in multiple rooms using voice commands like “Hey Google, play jazz music downstairs.” Google Assistant allows hands-free voice control for music, podcasts, and more. For more examples of music voice commands, check out Google’s support page.

Make Calls and Send Texts with Your Voice

One of the most useful features of Google Assistant is the ability to make calls and send texts completely hands-free using just your voice. This can be extremely convenient when you’re on the go or want to avoid having to pick up your phone.

To make a call with Google Assistant, just say “OK Google, call [name or number]” or “Hey Google, call mom”. Google Assistant will confirm who you want to call and then place the call. You can answer and talk through your phone’s speaker. When you’re done with the call, you can simply say “OK Google, hang up” to end it.

Similarly, you can send text messages hands-free by saying “OK Google, text [name]”. Google Assistant will confirm the contact and ask what message you want to send. Dictate your message and Google Assistant will send the text for you.

This feature works on most Android phones with Google Assistant enabled (see source). It’s a major convenience that allows you to communicate while driving, cooking, or doing other activities.

Troubleshooting Google Assistant Voice Commands

If you’re having issues getting Google Assistant voice commands to work properly, here are some troubleshooting steps to try:

Make sure Google Assistant is enabled on your device. Open the Google Assistant app or Google app, go to Settings > Google Assistant, and check that “Google Assistant” is turned on. You may need to also enable it for your lock screen. Refer to this Google support article for more details.

Check that “Hey Google” or “OK Google” hotword detection is enabled. Go to Settings > Google Assistant > Voice Match and ensure “Hey Google” is toggled on. If not, re-train your voice model. See this help article from Google for troubleshooting the hotword.

Make sure Google Assistant voice permissions are enabled. Open the Google app and check Settings > Google Assistant > Assistant voice perms are enabled. Enable permissions as needed.

Double check that your Google Assistant language and speech settings are correctly configured in Assistant settings. Make changes if needed.

Consider restarting your mobile device or reinstalling app updates if voice commands stop working suddenly. This can help clear any software glitches.

As a last resort, try resetting Google Assistant which clears its stored memory and data. You’ll have to set it up from scratch again.

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