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How To Get Your Google Assistant To Understand You

As smart as your Google Assistant may be, it doesn’t always get it right. But you can make things easier for your Google Assistant to understand you with a few simple steps:

Place your Google Assistant device properly

Above all else, make sure your smart device can actually hear you. If you aren’t close enough to the device, it may not understand your command, or even hear you at all. Avoid covering the device with décor or leaving it at the back of a bookshelf, as you risk muffling its microphones. It is just as important that you don’t place it near a noisy area like your children’s play room or next to your TV.

Link your voice to your Google Assistant device

You can teach your Google Assistant to recognise your voice with Voice Match. Then you can link you voice to your smart speaker or smart displayso that you can use voice commands to get personal results. You can link up to six people’s voices with Voice Match to a smart device.

But, there are a couple of things to note about Voice Match:

  • To upgrade to the new version of Voice Match, everyone whose voice is linked to your device must complete the upgrade.
  • Voice Match doesn’t work on Bose or Sonos speakers that have the Google Assistant.
  • Voice Match isn’t currently available in all languages or countries, and the languages that you can use depend on your device. Learn which languages work on your device here.

Don’t talk like a robot

It’s entertaining to watch how different people interact with their voice assistants. Some speak to them normally (“Hey Google, what is the weather forecast for tomorrow”), while others speak robot and slow their speech down (“Hey Google… what is… the weather forecast… for tomorrow”). If you aren’t used to voice recognition tech it’s easy to understand how you might be inclined to do the latter, but your Google Assistant is designed to understand natural speech patterns. So drop the caveman talk and speak naturally and conversationally with Google Assistant —you might find it works better.

Remember, voice assistants aren’t humans so they miss some parts of the conversation if you leave out something important. For instance, if you’re trying to control a third-party gadget, Google Assistant will probably know what you want, but if your command fails, you may have to rephrase your command and say exactly what you mean (“Okay Google, turn up the volume” vs “Okay Google, ask Samsung to turn up the volume” on your Samsung SmartThings-equipped TV).

Give devices and people unique names

To minimise having to rephrase your commands all the time, make sure the names for your devices aren’t too similar. There’s nothing worse than saying “Hey Google, turn on the light” and the dining room light comes on when you’re in the bathroom. If you don’t say what you really mean (as we talked about above) or give your devices specific names, then your Google Assistant might say “Wait, which one?” when you’re stumbling around the bathroom.

So, get specific and have fun with it! “Diana’s Lamp” is a good one for the lamp on your nightstand, or “Piano Light” for the light above the piano in the living room. You should find you run into less problems once you’ve done this.

Set up Routines

To get your Google Assistant to understand what you want without having to constantly tell it, set up some Routines. There are six ready-made routines available, which you can customize to your liking. You can also create custom routines by assigning phrases to the actions you’d like Google Assistant to perform. Routines work on phones, tablets, and smart speakers.

Some of the Routines include:

Good morning routine

When you say, “Good morning,” or “Tell me about my day,” your Google Assistant can:

  • Turn off silent mode.
  • Turn on lights.
  • Tell you about the weather.
  • Let you know what calendar events you have on today.
  • Tell you about your commute time.
  • Let you know any reminders you set for the day.
  • Turn on the radio, or play music, the news, or a podcast.

Leaving home routine

When you say, “I’m leaving,” or “I’m heading out,” your Google Assistant can:

  • Turn off lights.
  • Turn off plugs.
  • Adjust the thermostat.
  • Lock doors.
  • Turn on security cameras.