Google recently announced that Assistant would be getting “Routines” that let people execute multiple actions with a single phrase. Routines are now live, and here’s how to use them.

Understanding What Routines Can and Can’t Do

While we initially presumed you would be able to add any action to a routine, that’s actually not the case. In fact, it’s fairly limited in this initial implementation.

In ithe current state, you can only use six, predefined routines:

  • Good morning
  • Bedtime
  • Leaving home
  • I’m home
  • Commuting to work
  • Commuting home

Each of these routines offers a limited set of options, and each set depends on the particular routine. Here’s a look at each one:

  • Good Morning
    • Take your phone off silent (Android) and set ringer /media volume
    • Adjust light, thermostats, and more
    • Tell you about the weather, your commute, calendar, and reminders
    • Play music, news, radio, podcast where you left off, or audio book where you left off
  • Bedtime
    • Put your phone on silent (Android)
    • Tell you about tomorrow’s weather and first calendar event
    • Set an alarm
    • Adjust light, thermostats, plugs, and more
    • Adjust media volume
    • Play music with a sleep timer, or sleep sounds
  • Leaving Home
    • Adjust lights, thermostats, and more
  • I’m Home
    • Adjust lights, thermostats, and more
    • Broadcast to Google Homes that you’re home
    • Tell “home” location reminders
    • Adjust media volume
    • Play music, news, radio, podcasts, audiobooks
  • Commuting to Work (Android/iOS Only)
    • Tell you about today’s commute, weather, calendar events, and reminders
    • Adjust lights, plugs, thermostats, and more
    • Adjust media volume
    • Play music, news, radio, or podcasts
  • Commuting Home (Android/iOS Only)
    • Tell you about your commute
    • Adjust lights, plugs, thermostats, and more
    • Send texts
    • Read unread texts
    • Broadcast to Google Home that you’re on your way home
    • Adjust the media volume
    • Play music, news, radio, or podcasts

You can enable or disable each of these actions individually, so if there’s something you don’t need or want, you don’t have to use it.

How to Set Up and Use Routines

At the time of writing, the only available routine is “Good Morning,” but this will change as time goes on. The process of customizing each routine is the same, so you’ll be able to follow along regardless.

Fire up the Google Home app your phone (Android, iOS) and open the menu. From there, choose the “More Settings” option.

Scroll down a bit, and then tap the “Routines” setting.

Tap one of the ready-made routines to edit it.

You can start by customizing the phrase you speak to activate the routine. For “Good Morning,” you can use good morning, tell me about my day, or I’m up. Simple.

From there, you’ll start laying out the commands. Many of the options just let you toggle them on or off. Those that feature a cog icon our to their right offer further customization. Just tap the cog to explore those options further.

For example, the “Adjust lights, plugs, and more” option offers choices for each of the applicable smart devices connected to your Assistant.

Below the list of basic options for the routine, you’ll find an “And Then Play” section that lets you specify what plays at the end of the routine. Select the option you want, and then hit the cog icon to its right to further customize the option. For example, the “Music” option let you define a particular playlist, song, or artist using your default music service.

Similarly, the News option lets you select the news sources you want. The podcast option can either resume the last podcast you were listening to or start a new one that you define.

In their current state, Routines are more limited than we were hoping for, but it seems like Google actually thought it through and picked common scenarios with useful options. Hopefully, as time goes on, more options and further customization will become available, making this an even more useful feature for Assistant users. You can find more information on Google’s Routines support page.

Profile Photo for Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is ex-Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek and served as an Editorial Advisor for How-To Geek and LifeSavvy. He covered technology for a decade and wrote over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times.
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