So you’ve got Google Assistant on your phone. Great! …but now what? Well, to get the most out of your new assistant, you need it. use. And the more you use it, the more you will learn about it. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Google Assistant ran on the original Pixel with Android Nougat and branched out from there. It’s rolling out to phones back in Lollipop this week (and tablets with Marshmallow). So if you’ve never used it before, this is a great place to start.

Most of the stuff we’re going to talk about today is in the assistant’s settings menu. So the first thing you really need to know is how to access these settings.

First, open the Assistant by pressing and holding the Home button and tapping on the small icon on the taskbar in the top right corner.

From there, tap on the three dots at the top right and select Settings.

From there, you can do a few things.

First: train (or retrain) your voice model

When you first set up the assistant, you will need to set it to your voice. Google will guide you through this, but if you ever want to retrain it, you can do so from these settings.

Why relearn? Because now you can make your phone answer «OK ​​Google» and «Hey Google.» If you set up your Assistant before «Hey Google» was supported on phones (or set up your new Assistant using an older version of the Google app), then OK, Google was your only option. Hey Google much more natural so I recommend tweaking both of them. You may find that you have completely stopped using Google OK. I have.

In any case, to do this, go to the Assistant settings menu by following the instructions above. Under the «Devices» label, select «Phone». This may be the only option available to you.

There are several options here, but you are looking for a Voice Model. After that select «Retrain Voice Model».

Boom — just follow the instructions.

Get a daily briefing on news, weather and more

Want to know what’s on your calendar for the day? Or what will the weather be like? Or latest news? You can easily get this information every morning by saying: «Hey Google, good morning» . Boom, she’ll start pouring out all sorts of useful information about your day.

And the best part is that you can customize this. Open your assistant and go to settings. Scroll down to My Day.

There are plenty of settings here, so feel free to toggle them at your leisure. But there is one section you might want to take a closer look at: News. Click on the cog icon to customize it.

In this section, you can add sources from which you would like to receive titles — the choice is not from tons but some of the biggest names in the game are present for all the major categories. Take your pick, just keep in mind that the more sources you choose, the longer your assistant will talk when you ask. You have been warned.

If you are not interested in news, just disable this option. Keep things short and sweet.

Ask an assistant about anything

One of the nicest things about Assistant is that you can ask it the same questions you would on regular Google: if it’s not too difficult a topic, it will answer you. For example, » Hey Google, how tall is Jimmy Butler? Bring back Jimmy’s height.

But it’s also contextual, meaning it will remember what you just asked. So if you ask how tall Jimmy Butler is, you can answer » Hey Google, who is he playing as? And he’ll tell you that Butler plays for the Minnesota Timber Wolves.

Seriously, give him a chance. Ask it all sorts of things:

Go crazy about it — if he can’t be answered, he’ll just tell you he doesn’t know how to help. Eventually you will know its limitations.

Control your smart home

If you have multiple Assistant compatible devices in your home such as Google Home, SHIELD TV for Android, Chromecast, Philips Hue lighting, Nest products, or any other devices, you should definitely set up Assistant to control these things!

Go to the Assistant settings and select «Home Control» in the «Services» section. Every home setup will be different, so I’ll just give you the basics and take you from there.

RELATED: How to enable HDMI-CEC on your TV and why you should

I suggest setting up all your rooms first and then adding devices to those rooms. So, for example, let’s say you have Chromecasts in your bedroom and living room — once those rooms are set up and Chromecasts is added to your Assistant, you can say something like » Hey Google, play Buckethead YouTube videos in the living room «. And, as if by magic, you will have some Buckethead action on the TV screen in your living room. I love this feature. If your TV has HDMI-CEC, you can even ask Assistant to turn it off.

It’s important to note here that you can specify a room, because that’s how you can tell the assistant to play something in one room, even if you’re in another. For example, I have three Google Homes, but if I’m finishing some work in my office and I know I’m going to the kitchen to make dinner, I can tell the assistant to «play music in the kitchen.» Otherwise, he would just start playing music on the nearest available device, and I’m not talking about this life.

Keep a shopping list

Did you know that your assistant has a built-in shopping list? Yes. It’s actually kind of a point of contention among early Assistant users, because this list used to be part of Google Keep, but it’s no longer the case.

But I digress — it’s still there and you can use it. Just say «Hey Google, add <вещь для добавления> to my shopping list «. Done and ready.

You can then access your shopping list by going to the Assistant settings menu and scrolling down to Shopping List.

Here you are. Not as cool as Keep (especially if you’re a Keep fanatic like me), but whatever. It’s still convenient.

Send texts or call with your voice

Sometimes it’s just not convenient to send text with your hands — for example, when you are washing the dishes. Or dig in the garden. Or driving. The good news is that you can just tell your assistant to do it for you. Just say » Hey Google, write < what you want to write. »

The same goes for the call. Hey Google Call . “Look, mom, no hands!

View photos in your Google Photo Library

Feeling nostalgic about a trip a few years ago? No worries! Just ask your assistant to show you some photos from this trip — » Hey Google, show me pictures from my trip to <место> » or «show me a picture of <определенного времени>» and watch the magic happen.

As a bonus, you can even tell these pictures to show up on a device like a Chromecast if you have that set up. Just say » Hey Google, show me pictures <из времени / места> on the TV in the living room . So cool.

In addition, you can also ask just to see a picture of some things, such as » Hey Google, show me pictures of Boston Terriers.» And it will happen.

Change your assistant’s voice

Don’t like the default voice for your assistant? No problem — you can turn it on. There are only two to choose from at the moment, but I’m patiently waiting for the day I can designate Elmo as my voice assistant.

To change it, go back to your Assistant settings and select «Settings» under the «Account» heading. Here, select «Voice Assistant».

You can listen to the options by clicking on the little speaker icon next to each. Spoiler: Voice I is female, Voice II is male.

Let the assistant unlock your phone

If you are using an unlock pattern, password or PIN, what should you do! The assistant will be pretty useless if you know the display is off because it will ask for an unlock code before it does anything.

The good news is that you can let the assistant unlock your phone if it recognizes your voice. It’s called Trusted Voice.

To access this, go to Assistant Settings, then scroll down to Phone.

From there, find the «Unblock with Voice Match» feature and turn it on. It will ask you to enter your password (or fingerprint, if applicable) and then warn you that this lowers your phone’s security. If you’re willing to take the risk, press this OK button, you are a brave soul.

But in fact, it’s kind of a must if you plan on using Assistant with your phone’s display turned off.

All kinds of other things

The cool thing about Assistant is that it’s constantly growing, and there’s already a huge list of cool things you can do with it, even if you don’t have a bunch of wacky smart homes to control. For example, just ask it to do any of these:

… and much more.

Do the assistant shut up already

Finally, sometimes the assistant can be verbose — for example, when you say «good morning», and then he starts pouring out all the news in the world. If you’re sick of hearing it, just let him know: » Hey Google, shut up. Shut up and work, but come on, no reason to be rude.

I’m not even going to pretend that this is even close to the final list of things you can do with Assistant — in fact, it’s far from it. This is just something to start with! With Google Assistant available on more phones than ever before, it’s a great time to work with your very own digital assistant.

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