Google Home brings a lot of the awesome features of Google Assistant to your living room. Developers can also add new features, making Google Home’s potential virtually limitless. You don’t even have to install a thing. Here’s how to find and use third-party services.
Unlike the Amazon Echo, where third party “skills” must be enabled one-by-one, Google’s third-party apps (called “services”) are all enabled by default. If you can think of Google Home like your own personal assistant, then talking to a service is like asking your assistant to call someone else for you. So, for example, if you want to add an item to your Todoist app, you can say “Ok Google, ask Todoist to add a task to buy milk.” Google will pass your request on to the Todoist service, which will take care of your command for you. You can also say “Ok Google, let me talk to Todoist” to connect with the service directly. That way you can ask Todoist to do multiple things without going through Google each time.
This system is a little confusing, but once you get used to it, it’s a little easier than installing an app or enabling a service for everything you want to do with Google Home. You may need to link your account for some services (like Todoist), but others work immediately even if you’ve never interacted with them before. Of course, you’ll need to know what kind of services exist, first, and what they’re named.
To find third-party Google Home services, open up your Google Home app and tap the menu button in the top-right corner. Then, tap “More settings.”
Scroll down and find Services in the list and tap on it.
Here, you’ll find a large list of third-party services in alphabetical order. Unfortunately, Google hasn’t made it easy to search these services. There aren’t even ratings or reviews, so you can see which ones suck. On the upside, the list is pretty short right now. There are only a couple hundred services, so you can scroll through to find the ones you might care about relatively quickly. Still, Google…get on top of this before it gets out of hand.
For most of these services, you can simply browse to see what types of voice commands are available. Tap the service and you’ll see a description, plus a few sample commands.
Some, however, also require you to link your external account before you can use them. To link your account, tap on the service from the list, find the Link Account button and tap it. Then sign in. Once you’re done, you can speak to your Google Home using the voice commands for that service.
Many of the services are garbage—like a “Never have I ever” game or the many, many quote bots—but there are a few that are worthwhile. For example, the AutoVoice service lets you send voice commands to Android automation tool Tasker. Domino’s lets you order pizza, Genius helps you look up song lyrics, and Uber lets you call a cab. Take a look through the list, and you’ll probably find at least a few services that can make your Google Home even more useful.
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