In the battle royal for smart home supremacy, Google is hardly a minor player — but that doesn’t mean Google Home loyalists aren’t prone to suffer a little Alexa-envy now and again. Sure, there’s, but Google Assistant packs its own unique bag of tricks that neither Alexa nor Apple’s Siri have yet to master. For example, and crafting a more distinct personality (more below).
Millions of people rely on Google Home to manage humdrum household tasks like ordering groceries, putting your kids to bed or helping to find your lost phone, but Amazon Echo ($100 at Amazon) and Apple HomePod ($299 at Walmart) can both do all of that, too. If you’ve chosen the Google Home ecosystem to manage your digital life, wouldn’t you like some bragging rights to go with it?
If you’d like to show off your Google Home to your non-Google Home friends and family, or if you’d just like to put Google Home’s unique skills to work, here are the top five things Google Home can do that other smart speakers and their digital assistants can’t. What’s more, we’ll show you how to do them.
Google Assistant is the smartest of the smart
When it comes to smart speaker smarts, Google Assistant reigns supreme. In a recent study by Loop Ventures that pitted Google Assistant against Alexa and Siri, researchers asked each assistant the same 800 questions then scored on whether the AI programs understood the question as well as how accurately or correctly they responded. Google Assistant trounced on Alexa and Siri, understanding 100% of queries and responding correctly 92.9% of the time.
Both Alexa and Siri were only a hair or two shy of scoring perfectly on comprehension (99.9% and 99.8% respectively), but fell behind when it came to giving correct responses (Siri got it right 83.1% of the time, Alexa an even more pitiful 79.8%).
In another recent study that added Microsoft’s Cortana to the mix, Google Assistant once again dominated the field as the only contender to score above 80% on accuracy. (Interestingly, Cortana attempted to answer more questions than any of the other assistants, including Google’s, but then ranked worst at getting them right.)
Google Assistant has a secret nickname
When it comes to wake words (the phrase you say to invoke your voice assistant), Siri is the most restrictive. “Hey, Siri” is your only option.
With Alexa you have four choices. You can call the voice assistant Alexa, Echo, Computer or Amazon, but you can’t switch it up on the fly without going into settings.
Not only does Google add some flexibility by allowing you to summon Google Assistant with either “Hey, Google” or “OK, Google,” there’s another, secret way to get your smart speaker’s attention: Call it “Boo Boo.”
Saying “Hey, Boo Boo” or “OK, Boo Boo” doesn’t get you a different response than the admittedly less cutesy “official” wake words, but it might put a smile on your face next time you communicate with your Google Home.
Google Home gives you more voice options for your assistant
Google Assistant has the competition beat by giving you the most control over your Google Home’s voices and accents, which helps you personalize your assistant and make it feel more like your own.
Amazon has a little flexibility if you’re willing to pay $1 to get Samuel L. Jackson’s voice to helm some select duties. But if you change languages or accents, some functions might not work.
Siri is better about letting you pick multiple voices and accents, but the options are limited compared to Google Home’s more than 10 different voice options. You can even pick singer John Legend and actor Issa Rae, but their functionality is limited, so you’ll hear a different voice respond when theirs can’t.
Here’s how you can change your Google Home’s default voice.
1. Open your Google Home app.
2. Tap your personal icon in the lower-right corner.
3. Under the Google Assistant heading, tap More settings.
4. Select Assistant from the menu bar at the top.
5. Tap Assistant voice.
6. Choose from the list of voices until you find one that suits you.
Google Home responds to up to 3 commands in a row
Communicating with other assistants can sometimes feel like talking to a small child who can only pay attention to one thing at a time. “Assistant, turn off the lights. Assistant, set volume to 5. Assistant, play my bedtime playlist.”
With Google Home, you can say, “OK, Google, turn off the lights, set the volume to five and play my bedtime playlist” to accomplish that same series of tasks, all in one breath.
Granted, this works better when the commands are relatively simple — and it helps if they’re related. For example, the string “Hey, Google, turn off the kitchen lights, turn on the bedroom lights and lock the front door” is likely to go off without a hitch because all of those are smart-home operations.
Google Home can translate in real-time
Although you may not be housing a foreign exchange student or international diplomats any time soon, Google Home’s ability to act as a real-time translator for up to 27 different languages could certainly come in handy if, say, a student in your home has language class homework or you need to send an email or direct message to someone whose first language isn’t English.
To put Google Home into interpreter mode, simply voice what you need as you would naturally. For example:
- “Hey, Google, translate into Spanish.”
- “OK, Google, I need an interpreter for Mandarin.”
- “Hey, Google, what’s the French word for ‘French fries?'”
There you have it — the five biggest advantages of choosing Google Home over the competition and how to use them. Looking for more ways to have fun with your Google Home? Try mounting it on a wall — just be sure to follow our. For a sneak peak at what’s coming to Google Home this year, here are . Finally, if you’re ready to make the leap from smart speaker to smart display, to get your new screen up and running in no time.
Originally published last year and updated periodically.