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If your Google Home or Amazon Echo is having trouble managing multiple lights or devices in a room, you may not have set up groups correctly. Giving each item a unique name and then grouping those items improves the performance of your Voice Assistant.

Device naming gets complicated fast

A smart light bulb is one of the most natural things to add to a growing smart home. You need light bulbs and they are incredibly easy to install with no wiring required on your end. But you’ll quickly run into a problem with voice assistants like Google Home and Alexa: Everything has a name. As it is added to other types of devices, such as smart switches or smart plugs, these names multiply and it becomes harder to remember what to say and when.

Unfortunately, voice assistants don’t quite understand you; they only listen for expected commands. So if you stumble over «turn on the research… I mean the light in the office window», then you have a better than decent chance that he will not hear you and do nothing at all, or will do the wrong thing. If your device names are not remembered, you often experience this problem. But coming up with many different easy-to-remember names is tricky, so it’s best to group your devices instead.

Group naming reduces device name complexity

Voice assistants are still not as smart as they should be. The fewer «thoughts» your voice assistant makes, the better. Groups provide a convenient shortcut for you and the voice assistant.

When you group your devices, the names of the individual devices matter less. You can call them «Study1», «Study2» and «Study3» — or you can call them «Window Window», «Wall Light» and «Ceiling Light» if you like — but you will rarely use these names. Instead, you’ll use the group’s name when talking to Alexa and Google Home, saying things like «Alexa, turn off the study lights.» If all three lights are in a group named Study, this will disable all lights in that group. It will also help avoid confusion if you named the study «smart light» and the study «smart exit» (but you should avoid this).

Even better, if you link the voice assistant device in the room to that group, then you can say «turn off the lights» and it will know which lights to turn off based on that link. This is if you name the group. You may still want to choose unique device names based on their location in the room, so if you ever only want to control one device, remembering the name will be easier.

We recommend creating groups even if you only have one device that you want to add to this group. The reason for this is that you may add more devices to the group in the future and it can be difficult to change your own habit of what you say.

How to Set Up Groups for Amazon Alexa

We’ve already covered creating groups in Alexa, but it’s a fairly simple process. Simply tap the device button at the bottom of the Alexa app and then either tap an existing group or tap the plus sign in the top right corner and then «Add Group» to create a new group. Then click on the devices you want to add to the group.

RELATED: How to control your SmartHome products with Amazon Echo

How to set up groups with Google Assistant

If you haven’t connected your smart devices before, start there. After adding the device, Google will prompt you to contact the room, and the best thing to do is to do so. This also applies to your Google Homes. But if you’ve already added smart lights and haven’t connected them to the room, scroll down and tap the device to link it to the room.

Google Assistant app showing unassigned devices, Magic Mirror device circled in red

RELATED: How to set up groups with Google Assistant

If you want easier room lighting control, add a Google Home device to the room as well.

That’s it, as long as you have groups clearly named (and remember that Google calls them «rooms» but they work the same way), it will be much easier for you to use the correct command. You will also reduce the variables that your voice assistant should be responsible for. These extra steps may be more time consuming, but they will make your smart home more enjoyable in the long run.

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