What is the Google OK (Assistant)?
The Google OK (Assistant) is Google’s virtual assistant, available on Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as smart devices for the home, such as smart speakers and smart TVs. Think of it as your assistant, who can help you at any time with a variety of tasks, and all you have to do is ask!
In our detailed Google OK (Assistant) guide, we closely examine the service, focusing on how to use the Google OK (Assistant), tips and tricks, devices and other key details.
Why is the Google Assistant a big business?
The Google OK (Assistant) is the main Google move not only for searches and smartphones, but also to build an ecosystem of connected smart devices. As more and more devices connected to the Internet reach the market, web search and the execution of commands through voice instead of text or touch, is becoming increasingly important. Equally important is the need for a unified system that can join multiple devices, so a command issued on your phone can turn off the lights on the porch of your home.
The assistant is a powerful piece of technology once you have everything ready, so read our Google OK (Assistant) guide to get up to date.
How to use the Google OK (Assistant)
The key to the convenience of the Google OK (Assistant) lies in the activation of keywords by voice. Simply say “Ok, Google” or “Hi, Google”, ask your question, for example, “How is the weather going to be today?”, And the Assistant will give you the answer.
Alternatively, the Google OK (Assistant) can be activated on your Android smartphone with a long press on the home button or the start icon. If you have trouble getting started, keyword activation also does not always work if your device is locked.
When using smart speakers, headphones and some smartphones, the voice activation feature is enabled by default, but it can be turned on and off in your phone’s settings. To toggle keyword detection, go to the Google application or the wizard screen and navigate to Settings. Scroll to Devices, Phone, and then you will see the options to activate or deactivate the Google Assistant, ‘Ok, Google’ Detection and even the option to unlock your phone using voice matching. The steps below can guide you through this:
All interactions with the Google Assistant begin with the detection of keywords “Ok, Google” or “Hello, Google.”
The Google OK (Assistant) can be used for much more than just answering questions. In the same Settings menu, you will also find options to set up music and video accounts, manage other smart home devices, select your favourite news sources, link the Wizard to your Google Calendar and many more options. All these configure the way the Wizard interacts with several commands. For example, linking your Spotify account means that it will be the service used if you ask the Assistant to play the songs of a certain artist or playlist.
On what devices is Google OK (Assistant) available?
Smartphones, tablets and smartwatches
The Google OK (Assistant) is available on a wide range of devices, including your smartphone and tablet. The assistant is not limited to any particular smartphone brand, but there are some requirements.
Your smartphone or tablet should run Android 6.0 Marshmallow or a newer version, version 6.13 or higher of the Google application, have Google Play services installed and a phone with at least 1.4 GB of memory and a 720p screen. All relatively new smartphones must qualify, and no manual installation or update is required for things to work.
An optimized version of Google OK (Assistant) is available on Android Go devices, such as Alcatel 1X and Nokia 1.
The Google OK (Assistant) is not exclusive to smartphones: the feature phone of Kai OS JioPhone presents a version of Google Assistant, and more personal phones could get it in the future.
The Google OK (Assistant) is also available on recent Android Wear devices, as well as on Chromebooks.
On Android phones, currently supported languages include English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese (Brasil). Google said it would expand the Assistant to 30 languages by the end of the year. Tablet support is currently limited to English only.
Smart speakers and headphones
Perhaps as widely used as support for smartphones is the range of intelligent speakers from Google. Google Home, Home Mini and Home Max are based on the assistant voice commands, as well as on the music playback, and are an excellent starting point to build your smart home (more on that later).
In addition to the Google Home range, speakers from multiple voice-activated manufacturers are available now or soon:
- Altec Lansing
- Anker Innovations
- Bang & Olufsen
- I home
- Knitting Audio
- RIVA Audio
Wireless headphones also offer more and more voice control support with the assistance of the Google OK (Assistant). So far, Google Pixel Buds, the JBL Everest range, Bose QuietComfort 35 II and a selection of Sony products are your best bets for smart headphones.
The last form factor for the Google OK (Assistant)is the smart screen. Virtually the same concept as the smart speaker, but with a screen that can play videos, show weather forecasts and things like that.
Lenovo was the first on board here, has announced its Smart Display at CES 2018. JBL, LG and Sony also plan to launch similar products later in the year.
In your living room
Android TV is compatible with Google OK (Assistant) on compatible models, including set-top boxes and televisions with Android TV built-in. For now, Google OK (Assistant) can be used on Nvidia Shield, Sony’s Bravia TVs of 2016 and later, and Xiaomi Mi TV.
Google also announced that LG TVs running webOS would also enter the Assistant action.
In your car
The assistant also went to the automotive space in the USA. UU As part of Google’s Android Auto software. If your car runs Android Auto as its information and entertainment system (more than 400 models support it so far), you can connect your phone and use voice commands for navigation, message and the like. Also, Google is working with manufacturers to incorporate the Assistant directly into cars without the need for a matched phone in the future.
Google OK (Assistant) and Android Auto include some specific commands related to the vehicle. With certain models, it is possible to check the fuel level, lock the doors and more from the devices powered by the connected Wizard.
Use the Wizard in your smart home.
One of the most influential features of Google OK (Assistant) is its ability to act as the nerve centre of your connected smart home. The assistant can be used to control a wide range of devices, starting with your Chromecast or TV to something as monotonous as a light bulb. All these devices can be configured and controlled through the Google Home application.
At the time of writing, Google OK (Assistant) supports more than 1500 smart home products from more than 200 brands. A directory that lists all compatible devices is available here. The product categories include:
- lighting, plugs, plugs and other electrical equipment
- washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, vacuum cleaners, air conditioners and other appliances
- cameras, locks and security systems
- speakers, internet radios and other audio equipment
To start, you’ll want to connect your devices. Each device will guide you through the necessary configuration, which requires little more than stopping near the device with your WiFi and its location, pressing a button and naming the device. To add new devices to your smart home, simply go to the Google Home app, click on the device icon in the upper right corner and then Add new device at the bottom of the Devices screen. Then simply follow the configuration instructions.
If you did not do it during setup, you’d get more flexibility over your smart home by using the Google OK (Assistant) Nickname and room assignments. This will allow you to refer to specific devices or rooms by issuing voice commands to better direct your requests. To add, edit and delete names and rooms, go to the Settings menu and click on the Start control of the Google Home application.
For example, assigning lights to a place called bedroom means you can say “Hey Google, turn off bedroom lights”. Similarly, you can set up your home so that “OK Google, play music on my living room speaker” works, even if you are talking to a different smart speaker or your phone in the kitchen.
The best Google OK (Assistant) commands by category.
Now that you have the configuration of your devices, it’s time to issue some useful voice commands. Most commands are applied regardless of the hardware you are talking about, but there are some exceptions, such as trying to watch a Netflix video on a speaker.
Where to find the Google OK (Assistant) commands
You can find a complete breakdown of the ever-growing list of commands in the official Google directory, but we’ve covered some of the more useful ones below.
- “Good morning”: this command is a catch for your morning routine. The Assistant can give you a weather report, details about your route to work and recite the latest newsletters. (More routines will arrive soon).
- “Wake me in …” – The assistant can complete it as your alarm clock.
- “Open …”: open any application on your phone simply by saying its name.
- “Set a reminder to …”: add reminders to your calendar, complete with the time and place, so that you never lose a date again.
- “Set a timer for …” – Slow cook a chicken or bake some muffins? The wizard’s timer setting is incredibly useful for setting recipe times.
- “Activate Bluetooth”: activate Bluetooth, WiFi, your phone’s flashlight and almost all other hardware options without having to search for a configuration menu.
- “Add … to my shopping list”: Google can store shopping lists online for you and, when combined with the Wizard, you can add and delete items quickly by voice.
- “Play classical music”: instead of playing music by song, artist or album, choosing a genre can be an excellent way to discover new music.
- “Play … radio”: it is not necessary to transmit from a service like Spotify. The assistant can also play online radio stations.
- “Skip song”: in addition to playing, pausing and stopping, you can skip.
- “What is playing?”: The assistant can give you the artist and sound information for everything that is currently being broadcast.
- “Increase”: the volume can be adjusted up and down with increments of 10%, or set to a specific level.
Images and video
- “Show me images of …”: If you use Google Photos, the Wizard can select images of people, places and dates on request.
- “Play … on TV”: connect your streaming accounts to your Smart TV or Chromecast and the Assistant can play shows directly on your TV.
- “Stream … YouTube”: catch up on your favourite YouTube shows.
- “Activate subtitles”: quickly activate or deactivate the subtitles and even select the language you prefer without reaching the remote control. The same works for dubbing too.
- “Turn on [name of light].”, “Deactivate [name of light]”. – Turn on or off a light.
- “Dim the [name of light].”, “Illuminate the [name of light].” – Dim or light a light.
- “Set [name of light] to 50%.” – Set a light brightness at a certain percentage.
- “Dim / illuminate [name of light] by 50%.” – Dim or lighten the lights by a certain percentage.
- “Turn [light name] green].” – Change the colour of light.
- “Turn on the lights in [room name].”, “Turn off lights in [room name]”. – Turn on or off all the lights in a room.
- “Turn on all the lights.”, “Turn off all the lights”. – Turn all lights on or off.
- “Heat / cool”. “Climb/lower the temperature”. “Raise/lower the temperature two degrees”. “Adjust the temperature to 72 degrees.” – Adjust the temperature.
- “Turn on the heating/cooling”, “Set the thermostat to cooling/heating”, “Set the thermostat to heating and cooling mode”. – Switch to heating or cooling modes.
- “Set the heat to 68.”, “Set the air conditioner to 70.”, “Set the thermostat [room name] to 72.” – Set the mode and temperature.
- “Turn off the thermostat”. – Turn off the thermostat.
- “Turn on the heating/cooling”, “Turn on / cool down”, “Set the heating to 68”, “Set the air conditioner to 70”, etc. – Turn on the thermostat again.
- “What is the interior temperature?” – Check the room temperature on the thermostat.
- “Hey, Google, what’s the thermostat set up for?”: Check what the thermostat is set up for.
Tips, tricks and fun
- “Search for my phone”: we have all lost our phone, but if you have connected your smart speaker to your Google account, simply request that you find your phone and, as long as your phone has a data connection, it will ring.
Check the schedule of the films: the assistant is good enough to find localized results, Actions of the Google OK (Assistant) / third-party applications.
The Google OK (Assistant) works with actions, which are the small conversations you have with the Wizard to do something. While Google offers many ready-to-use actions, additional commands can be added to interact with third-party hardware and software to the Assistant through the Assistant applications.
Where to find Google Assistant actions/third-party applications
Users can discover third-party applications for the Wizard through the application directory Actions on mobile devices and the web.
The directory is created to enable users to find new applications and customize their wizard ecosystem and includes products ranging from small applications to fitness and TV tools designed to work with external hardware.
Here are some examples of third-party actions for the Google OK (Assistant):
- “Ask CNN for the latest news.”
- “Ask My Crypto Wallet how much bitcoin is”
- “Ask Virtual Nurse how I can help someone who has a panic attack.”
- “Ask Train Track if train L is delayed.”
- “Talk to Harry Potter Jokes”
- “Send a WhatsApp message.”
There is a growing ecosystem of third-party tools and applications, with more than 1 million shares available. Developers can build their applications and assistant actions using Dialog flow or Actions SDK. Dialog flow is a “conversational platform” that offers easy-to-use IDE, machine learning and other tools while complementing the functionality of the Actions SDK.
Google Assistant vs Amazon Alexa
Google’s closest competitor in the assistant ecosystem and the smart home are Echo speaker systems and Amazon’s Alexa.
Amazon Alexa and Google OK (Assistant) are very alike. Both of them enable users to interact with simple voice commands, and there are a lot of crossings between the typical types of actions, or skills that Amazon calls them, that can be broadcasted, ranging from weather forecasts to music streaming. Even the first part hardware is very similar, from the small Echo Dot headrest to the Home mini speakers to the larger and more powerful living room options.
Like Google, Amazon also positions Alexa as an option for smart screen manufacturers and third-party speakers. Alexa already has a large hardware ecosystem that includes speakers, televisions, vehicle infotainment systems and even smart mirrors and bathtubs. Google is trying to catch up regarding product portfolio size and partner support, but the company is closing the gap.
However, there are some important differences between how the two ecosystems work and the type of functionality they are trying to offer. The most notable thing is that Google can operate on smart phones and at home, while Alexa is mainly linked to smart home products. The wizard is primarily designed to be used on the phone, keeping track of your calendar, the route to work and other small pieces of information.
Perhaps the best way to think about the differences between the two is that Alexa is prominently a smart home centre and a way to interact with other services, such as ordering a pizza. The Google OK (Assistant), on the other hand, is much closer to a PA, keeping track of the small details you might need throughout your day. Although the lines fade once you start using the Assistant in smart home products, and there are still more similarities than differences between what both can do.
The Google OK (Assistant) is a powerful tool for both your smartphone and your smart home. It is an especially useful tool to perform basic searches with your voice and keep track of your daily routines, and it is also a powerful tool for configuring and controlling smart home products. The Google Ok (Assistant) ecosystem continues to grow, with new software and hardware support in 2018.
It is likely that the Assistant has something to offer. Feel free to share your tips and tricks of the Google OK (Assistant) in the comments below.