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Start with a Google-based Smart Home



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Chris Monroe / CNET

The Google Nest Hub (formerly known as Google Home Hub ($ 79 at Walmart) ) can showcase more than just your family pictures. Whether you have a Nest Hub, a Google Home Mini ($ 25 at Walmart) or another device with built-in Google Assistant, you can do a great deal more by turning your device into a Smart Home make checkpoint.

Google has actually made it quite comfortable in the Smart Home. Google Assistant used to work with only four different brands. Now it works with more than 1

,000 brands and more than 10,000 different devices . When you buy a smart home gadget, it probably works with Google Assistant.

If so, you can sync your device with your Google homepage ($ 69 at Walmart) . Then you can control it with voice commands, control it with one tap and automate routines and more. Here's how to get started with a Google-centric smart home system so that Google Assistant can leverage its potential as a smart home expert.

. 1 Grab a smart speaker or a smart display.

The main benefit of having a Google-enabled Smart Homes is controlling your gadgets with voice commands. Google Assistant is integrated with most Android phones and can be downloaded as an app on iPhones ($ 1,000 on Best Buy) . But with a smart speaker or display, your entire family can control the home without having to access your phone.

The Nest Hub is our first choice for a good start. It responds to voice commands and has a touch screen that lets you control your devices with the tap of a finger. Swipe down on the touchscreen to see a panel that gives you a clear overview of all the features you've set up. This window can also serve as a reference for your family members who need help remembering which smart devices are set up and what they are called.

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Google Home Mini is a great alternative and the cheapest entry point. It has a built-in Google Assistant and responds to all Nest Hub voice commands. It does not have a touchscreen, but it sounds pretty good for its size. Check out our list of best Google Assistant devices to sort the rest.

With a Smart Speaker or Smart Display your entire family can control your smart home without bothering with your personal smartphone or a variety of apps. If you're concerned about privacy, you should know what Google hears and what it does with your data .

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The Google Home Mini adds Google Assistant to a small and affordable package.


Chris Monroe / CNET

. 2 Introduce Google to Your Family

You can train Google Assistant to recognize your family's voices and adjust the answers accordingly.

Each family member must set up a Google Account or sync an existing account with the Google Home app. At the end of the process, they can train Google by speaking the activation words a few times each. Do should do that too. When you ask for your calendar or traffic on the way to work, the answer is specific to you.

Anyone can continue to control your Google Home Mini or Nest Hub without doing so. So do not worry if someone does not want to sync their account.

. 3 Select Location

Once you have your device, you want to place it where you most need it. Think of central meeting places like the kitchen or the living room. The Nest Hub is especially good for the kitchen as it guides you step by step through the recipes. To make the most of an intelligent speaker or display, you should keep it within earshot of your family if it depends on your home.

If you have a big house, you may need more than one device to cover everything, but start small. Get used to using a device in a location with the most people before you start putting it in any room where you may need one. If you have a loud voice and several Google Home Minis hear your command, only the nearest one answers.

If you put a mini or a nest hub in your bedroom, this is also a good option. Note, however, that the wizard on your phone can perform most functions. For the same reasons, the bedroom is a better place to give a command to a personal device.

. 4 Select Your Smart Home Devices

Once you've got your Smart Speaker or Smart Display up and running, you can start building a voice-controlled Smart Home. Start small. Do not buy a whole lot of equipment that you do not like or want to use. Pick one or two things that you want to control with your voice and start there.

Smart lights are a popular choice. If you want your lamp to be connected, you can add a smart lamp, connect the lamp to a smart switch, or replace the in-wall switch with a version with a Wi-Fi connection. I would recommend the C by GE Smart Bulbs as a good starting point – you can set it up via the Google Home app and it will respond very quickly.

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Matching Smart Thermostats Smart Security Systems Smart Lock Smart Doorbells and can also be found . If you want to make something smart in your home, you may find a device that will help you. In our best list, you can find great devices in a variety of categories that work with Google Assistant .

. 5 Synchronize Your Smart Home

Except for C by GE lamps, you need to initialize each of your smart home devices with their first-party apps – Philips Hue ] app for Philips bulbs and the Nest app for the Nest Thermostat . You'll need to create a separate account for each account, but the Google Assistant will save you the work you need to do for each of your family members.

Once your devices are set up and connected to the Internet (the first step). Party apps guide you through this process. Open the Google Home app. On the Home screen, click the Add button. Click Set up your device, and then click "Works with Google." Find the brand of your device by scrolling through the alphabetical list or by clicking on the search icon above. Then, sync your smart device account with your Google Account.

Give each device a name that you will remember. A silly name like Lampy may be great for a laugh, but the more devices you add, the harder it will be to remember everything. Instead, short descriptors such as table lamp or corner lamp work flawlessly.

. 6 Set up rooms and routines

Let's say you have more than one table lamp. You can further differentiate your devices by dividing them into spaces. Google prompts you to add devices to a room during setup. After setup, you can tap the name of the device in the Google Home app and then click the gear icon in the upper-right corner to add or move a device to a room.

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From left to right, Google Home Mini, Home Max, and the original home respond to a variety of voice commands thanks to the Google Assistant.


Chris Monroe / CNET

Remap devices with intuitive names recognized by your family. Your devices are sorted by room in the Google Home app and the Google Nest Hub drop-down menu. In the rooms you can control a number of devices at the same time. Say "Turn off the living room lights," and every Smart Lamp and Smart Switch you assign to the living room will respond accordingly.

Rooms also help your family members control your equipment without having to remember a number of specific names. Put the "table lamp" in the family room, and Google Home responds to a command to turn off the table lamp, the table lamp, or the family room lighting.

Once your devices are sorted into rooms, they can be more easily controlled with routines . With Google's grouped commands, you can control multiple devices simultaneously with a simple command like "Good morning". Go to the main page of the Google Home app and click on Routines. Click "Manage routines" and look for the plus sign. You can program Google Assistant to respond to any expression, or use the suggested options such as "I'm home" and "Bedtime" and customize those preferences to your liking.

Any routine can control any Smart Home device synced with Google Assistant. It can inform you about the weather or your calendar. It can send a message to other smart speakers in your account, and routines can even play music or podcasts. If you want to add more automation, you can set routines according to a schedule instead of triggering them with voice commands.

. 7 Command and Conquer

Once you've synced your devices and added a few rooms and routines to suit your preferences, you're done. Your Google Smart Home is up and running. You do not have to train the Google Assistant to recognize different commands. It is programmed to respond to the natural language. Gradually expand as you become more familiar with the connected equipment and enter your voice commands as the ruler of your castle.


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