It should become clear to anyone and everyone that Google has truly moved beyond offering the four most important services in the lives of the majority of the people who visit the internet on a regular basis.
Those three services are YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail and Google search engine.
Now, the company is spending all its resources in shaping up a good future for what looks like the company’s most important product in the coming years:
Many may not have realized that Google Assistant has already become pretty pervasive and far more advanced than they realize.
This guide for users who are still questioning the things that Google Assistant can do.
We’ll also mention all the places where users can find Google Assistant features.
Most online consumers think about checking the weather forecast for the next day or asking for the time when they think about Google Assistant and what it can do.
And while it is true that Google Assistant can give users instant answers in these situations, the truth is, it can do so much more.
Google Assistant, apart from telling users about the weather and the time, can also control the user’s smart lights.
It can text the user’s friends and send the user reminders as well when the user arrives at a particular place.
And that’s not all.
It can do much more besides that.
Where to find Google Assistant
All of Google Home smart speakers come with Google Assistant pre-installed.
Other devices such as the latest version of Google Home Hub also come with Google Assistant pre-installed.
Our research shows that the Google Home smart speakers are possibly and probably one of the best-known Google Assistant habitats.
In other words, the setup is more or less simple and there is voice control as well.
Of course, times have changed and now Google Assistant is in far more devices and places.
Users have the option of speaking and typing Google Assistant on their smartphone device.
In fact, Google Assistant comes pre-built into some of the latest handsets in the market such as the LG G7 and the Pixels smartphone device.
Moreover, users can download the official Google Assistant for the iOS as well as the Android platform.
Google Assistant is also available to users with their headphones such as the Bose QuietComfort 35 C II and/or Pixel Buds.
Online consumers (and owners of some internet-enabled devices) can also find Google Assistant built right into the state of the art smartphone devices such as the Pixel Slate and the Pixelbook.
The Pixel Slate and the Pixelbook comes with dedicated keyboard buttons no less.
This way users have the option of speaking out and/or typing out the related commands.
If recent reports are to be believed, then apparently Google Assistant is also coming to all the new Google Chromebooks in the very near future.
Of course, Google Assistant is also available in the newer versions of Wear OS.
It even comes as part of new Android TV sets.
This way users can simply shout out their desired commands in order to change channels and even launch applications if they have got an official Sony set with onboard Android TV or even something close to that such as the Nvidia Shield TV properly hooked up to the set.
Google Assistant is now also integrated into the latest version of Android Auto.
More or less, online consumers can find Google Assistant anywhere and everywhere.
The more interesting bit is that the edges of where and how Google Assistant actually works continue to blur.
What we mean to say is that, now users have the option of tapping the microphone button which appears on the main Google search page in Google Chrome.
After doing that, users are free to ask for anything.
For instance, “tell me what is next on my schedule?”
Our research shows that once the user does that Google Assistant would show the user all of his/her upcoming Google Calendar reminders and events.
Of course, the user first has to make sure that he/she has currently signed into Google.
Readers should know that officially, Google goes not label such a functionality as Google Assistant.
However, we want readers to trust us that it works more or less the same way.
All that sounds great but what can I do with Google Assistant?
Lots of things.
And by that, we do mean lots of things.
The first thing that Google Assistant can do for all users is to fetch answers from the infinite digital world of the internet.
Users can use Google Assistant to find out the age of their favorite personality.
They can also use Google Assistant to find out the sunset times in their neighboring city.
If that wasn’t enough already, Google Assistant can even let the user know the exact time of the football game happening tomorrow.
All of these features, of course, come for free.
Basically, if the user has something that Google Search can take care of (for example, return an answer to the question) then it is very likely that Google Assistant can do that as well.
Of course, the act of answering questions is still pretty much what Google Assistant is currently known best for.
In that sense, it is pretty much impossible for us and probably for anyone else as well to run the reader through a complete list of supported queries.
We consider that most of the applications of Google Assistant are common sense.
Common queries would include the user asking Google Assistant get various word definitions, look up facts and statistics and of course, the user trying to amaze his/her friends with random (and sometimes smart) pieces of trivia.
Truly, the list can go on and on.
Although we would mention here that users should forget the fact that Google Assistant also offers users the function of identifying audio which may be playing in the background.
Users will have to instruct Google Assistant to identify the audio content though by saying like “what’s is this sound” or some iteration of that.
The other thing readers should remember is that Google Search has become truly very advanced these days.
This, in turn, means that Google Assistant has become advanced as well.
Users who want something to take care of more complex and complicated queries can simply plug them straight into Google like asking which sports events are on nearby or which are the highest rated restaurants in town or how far is it to a particular place in the city or even the exact time of the next train which leads to the city.
Google Assistant can help users to know the number of days left to the next month, or year, or some other event.
It can even help users to find out the number of inches that are present in a meter.
All of these commands and others work with Google Search as well as Google Assistant.
How to use Google Assistant with Google Apps
This is not hard either.
As mentioned before, Google Assistant has moved far beyond from answering simple queries such as the time of the day or the weather.
It now can handle things that one would not associate with general web queries.
And the reason for that is simple as well.
Google Assistant knows so much about each user.
It knows the user’s calendar, the user’s email, photos and everything else.
Of course, we’re assuming here that the user makes use of all the relevant Google apps in order to manage all of the data and information types that we have mentioned above.
For example, think about Google Photos.
In such an application, users have the option of asking Google Assistant to show them all their photos from last month or last week.
Or if a given user had a trip in the past then Google Assistant can even respond to requests in which users ask it to show them all their photos from, for example, Sydney.
The thing that we want to emphasize here on is that, Google Assistant will oblige to pretty much anything and everything that the user may throw at it.
Though, our research shows that it still cannot handle questions such as ‘are you dumb Google Assistant?’ or ‘who is better, you or Siri?’
In any case, users have the option of calling up images from people to objects either from their own library of images or the larger world of the internet.
As mentioned before as well, of course, Google Assistant has Google Calendar integration.
Users are free to see their agenda and their appointments for, to take an example, tomorrow.
Or Google Assistant can help users schedule their next visit the dentist.
Users can even ask about the time of the next appointment.
There is little doubt in the fact that Google Assistant is now pretty smart.
Smart enough to manage multiple variations of the user’s voice commands.
In simpler terms, users no longer have to perfect hit an exact wording or phrase.
As long as the user is able to say something that is intelligible, the official Google Assistant feature has the ability to bring up the results in the calendar that they want.
Of course, then there is the stuff that users have from other Google services such as Gmail and others.
This is where Google has done a fair bit of research and analysis in the last couple of years by powering services such as Google Now and Google Inbox.
Now, users have the option of asking Google Assistant to show them their trips and/or flights, to take an example.
When that is done, Google Assistant would automatically return all the related details which are actually based on the user’s booking confirmations that the user has got in his/her email messages.
Plenty of online users would also have various bits of Google Maps personalization options which exist inside Google Assistant.
Because of that, users have the option of saying something like “Google, show me any traffic that I might have to encounter when going to work” or something like “show the directions to Home.”
Once the user does that, Google Assistant would automatically know what the user is talking about.
Of course, users can also avail other options to see different directions to someplace that they are able to name.
The same goes for the traffic that the user may have to endure while on a route to a specific location.
Google Assistant also has some basic functionality regarding Google Translate.
What does that mean for the end user?
Well, for the end user that means users can actually get short words and phrases converted to and display in another language.
However, users who want to accomplish something particularly complicated would have to open up the official Google Translate page/app.
There is also the fact that alarms and reminders form a pretty big part of the overall Google Assistant functionality.
Although, we have to mention here that reminders and alarms do not tend to sync particularly well across a multiple number of internet-enabled devices.
Our research shows that Google Assistant can easily handle simple commands such as “set a reminder to….” and/or “set an alarm for…..”
This is where Google Assistant shows enough brains to ask the user for more information and/or details if it needs them.
An example would include situations where the user has to set a reminder which is a recurring one.
Users also get the option of attaching reminders to their locations.
This is where Google Assistant can use the location data from the user’s smartphone device to act as a trigger for a particular reminder.
Generally speaking though, if the user sets an alarm or something like a timer even, the timer/alarm would only work on the user’s devices that the user actually used to set the alarm/timer.
So there is no guarantee that the alarm/timer would automatically get transferred to the user’s Google Home Mini and/or smartphone device.
Our research shows that this is where reminders perform a little bit better.
Users have the option of seeing them in any given Google Assistant interface.
They can also see the reminders in Google Calendar.
However, reminders will not show up in Google Keep and/or Google Tasks.
This is where we think that Google still has a lot of more work to do (quite obvious).
The case is the same with Google Drive.
Our research shows that Google Drive, for all its greatness, does not really work with the current version of Google Assistant.
Of course, one should attach a big ‘attack’ with that as well.
Users can avail Google Assistant to launch Google Play Music which has become a pretty decent podcast utility as well.
All that the user has to do is to ask Google Assistant for a playlist/album and/or anything else related to audio.
However, it is also true that Google Play Music is on its way out.
Google has also introduced YouTube Music to replace Google Play Music (eventually) but currently, the company has not made any announcements whether or not it would support podcasts.
Moreover, even YouTube Music does not really have the full Google Assistant functionality.
That doesn’t change the fact that users can still launch various YouTube videos with voice commands via Google Assistant.
We are perfectly aware of the fact that there would be a lot of users who simply never realized that Google had introduced so many applications to the world.
And so many services as well.
But thanks to us, at readers here would now know of them.
Moving to Google News, Google Assistant can even help users by dipping into resources related to Google News.
Users can use commands such as “tell me all the business news today” or something like “tell me the news only.”
Google Assistant also integrates with Google Fit with a command such as ‘begin a bike ride’ or even something like ‘what are the number of steps that I have taken today?’
Apart from Google Fit, Google Assistant also supports Google Podcasts where users can issue voice commands such as ‘listen to….’ and then add the name of the podcast or ‘recommend to me a good podcast’
Perhaps this is a good time to flag up the new Google subscriptions as well.
This is a feature which is just a recent addition to Google Assistant.
Essentially, users have the ability to ask their Google Assistant feature to deliver them something and/or anything once a day after they run a research.
In practical terms, users would run a search and then just add the ‘send daily’ command next to it to activate the feature.
Users could make use of this feature to get the weather details everyday, or they could use it to get a joke everyday or they could set Google Assistant to send them a fun fact.
Users can even set Google Assistant’s send daily feature to something as unexpected as an image research result.
In other words, users can set Google Assistant to greet them with HD pictures of cats or bunnies each and every morning after they pick up their phone.
Hey, if that is something the user wants, then Google Assistant will comply.
No questions asked.
How to use Google Assistant with other services and apps
Of course, the internet is a pretty big place.
In simpler terms, there is a lot more outside of the technology giant’s own applications.
So users should prepare themselves to explore a lot of other stuff.
As with other digital assistants such as Alexa and all its skills, Google Assistant is getting ready to add plenty of add-ons from third-party developers.
Our guess is that, it would continue to do that all the time in the future as well.
With that said, it is true that one could find it hard to particularly figure out what Google Assistant could do with third-party apps.
Our research shows that in order to save time, the best way forward for users seem to be a simple voice command such as ‘Google, what can you do?’.
Users can also make use of an online directory or something.
These commands, and the like, should work with Google Assistant without a problem.
As mentioned before as well, there is no way for us or for anyone else to cover all of Google Assistant capabilities here.
However, Security Gladiators can certainly give readers some Google Assistant highlights.
For example, users should definitely try a voice command such as ‘talk to the rover station’ in order to get the very latest weather from our neighboring planet Mars.
Users can also use commands such as ‘talk to the meditation timer’ if they want Google Assistant to set up a meditation timer working on their Internet-enabled device.
Google Assistant can also work with Headspace.
And users can actually launch it via a voice command along the lines of ‘talk to Headspace.’
When it comes to various flights, Google Assistant can show a good amount of intelligence and cleverness.
To put it another way, users have the option of saying something like “how much do I have to pay for flights to Milan in three months time” and/or “tell me when does this flight [insert flight number] arrive?” to have Google Assistant use its intelligence and answer both questions as best as it can.
This is where we would like to talk about a third-party tool that is completely compatible with Google Assistant.
It is called Kayak.
In order to use Kayak, Google Assistant users can give a voice command to Google Assistant and say something along the lines of ‘first talk to Kayak in order to find new and interesting travel destinations for me’.
Of course, this is just an example and users are free to issue a voice command which is as customized as they like.
If users put the proper amount of effort into it then they can get other audio apps and video services perfectly working with their device’s Google Assistant.
However, users have to make sure that they have configured the device properly in advanced.
Users can do that by first going to Google and then to Search and then to Assistant & Voice from their device’s Android Settings application.
Again, this is just an example.
Users have the option of going to the Google Home application and then set up all these third-party add-ons and services which actually work with their Google Home speakers.
The two high-profile content services that work pretty well with Google Assistant are Netflix and Spotify.
Google Assistant also allows users to hear some white noise as well.
To do that, all that users have to do is to give it a voice command like “talk to White Noise”.
There are lots of other voice commands that the user can give to Google Assistant.
It can read out religious texts as well.
Users who want to listen to some instructions for a new activity can do so by giving the voice command “ask WiKiHow how to…” and then adding the desired activity or subject.
With that said, we feel that Amazon Alexa offers users a greater breadth of skills than Google Assistant.
However, Google Assistant’s selection is not that bad either.
Of course, we would like Google to improve Google Assistant in this respect to make things interesting with it and Alexa.
How to use Google Assistant with my smart home
Our research is clear.
The best third-party service integrations for the new Google Assistant are actually in the space of smart homes.
And users who have seen the official Google Home Hub being demoed somewhere and/or bought one from somewhere, then they would know that the smart home space is one area where Google has shown a lot of interest to keep investing and pushing the boundaries.
This might not seem like it right now, but the ability to control one’s smart home devices still remains one of the best ways that various smart digital assistants of any given type can offer the most value to users.
Google Assistant and Everything Nest have no problem working with each other.
Some would say that this isn’t a big deal though.
Well, for those, we would like to mention that all of the below-mentioned smart home device makers work with the latest version of Google Assistant.
The list goes something like,
- Samsung SmartThings
- Logitech Harmony
- Philips Hue
And the list doesn’t just end there.
There are many more brands that work with Google assistant.
Click here in order to see the complete list of brands that work with Google Assistant.
Users who want to check if their smart home devices work with Google Assistant or connect with it should check out the same page that we have linked to above.
Readers also need to understand that all of the devices that work with Google Assistant require the user to add them to the assistant’s working memory.
That is the first step.
However, this step is easy to complete.
Easy, as in, it is easy for those users who make use of the Google Assistant app on their iOS and/or Android devices.
That is easily achievable as well.
Users have to pick the right options from the main interface.
What do we mean by picking the right options?
Well, we mean, first the user has to tap the icon in the shape of a compass which appears on the screen.
Then the user has to tap on the shown three dots.
After that, the user should tap on Settings.
And then Assistant.
When that’s done, the user should tap on Home control.
After that, the user should not face any problems in giving his/her devices various different nicknames for future reference (and to make it easy to recognize the device).
Users can even assign various devices to different rooms in order to further control a group of internet-enabled gadgets with the help of a single command.
How to make use of Google Assistant to control my phone
This topic may have come in last, but it is certainly not the least.
Not in the least bit.
To state the obvious, with Google Assistant users can control their smartphone devices as well as the apps on that smartphone device.
This is also a good time to mention that as they would probably expect, they would have to work within a more limited scope in terms of functionality and actions on an iOS device than an Android device.
Apple, for all its faults, is still not too keen on providing apps which are non-Apple the ‘keys’ to their whole smartphone device.
Let’s start with the basics then.
Users can make use of the Assistant offering from Alphabet to give voice commands such as ‘text mom’ or ‘call dad’.
Not only that, users can also fire off an email to each and every single one of their contacts.
For example, users can give the command “email my boss”.
Of course, these commands work if the user had made use of nicknames by setting them up first in his/her contacts list.
Users also have the option of giving voice commands such as ‘make a phone call’ in order to pick a contact from a given list and/or say something like ‘call voicemail’ in order to do something else.
Google Assistant has enough wits about it to bring up apps like WhatsApp if they give it a voice command such as ‘send a new voice message’
Again, we’re assuming here that the user has installed the Whatsapp application on his/her smartphone device.
Our research shows that it is even possible for users to use Google Assistant with Google Duo, if that is something they prefer.
All that users have to do is to give a voice command such as ‘use Google Duo to video call [the contact’s name].’
Once the user does that, Assistant will move ahead and open up the proper app.
Users can even specify commands for apps such as Hangouts and/or Telegram if they do not fancy the Whatsapp messaging application.
Apart from that, users have the option of using voice commands such as ‘share my location’ in order to quickly and neatly let other trusted people know where they are.
The great thing here is that this ‘share my location’ feature is integrated right into Google Assistant and is developed by none other than Google.
And because Google has developed it, it is only available on the Android platform.
Meanwhile, if the user gives the voice command ‘take a photo now’ it works both on the iOS platform and Android.
Here users should know that once they give the command ‘take a photo’, Assistant launches the camera app and then starts a three-second timer to give the user and his/her friends/family the time to get in the best possible positions.
It should not come as a surprise to anyone that Google Assistant also has the ability to interface with the user’s smartphone device directly.
Users can check this functionality by giving Assistant commands such as ‘mute the volume now’
This feature is available both on Android and the iOS operating system.
However, the voice command ‘turn off the wifi’ only works on the Android platform.
Moreover, on the Android platform, users have the option of opening up apps by simply giving the voice command ‘open…’ and then adding the name of the app.
Users can also give the ‘open settings’ command in order to allow Assistant to take the user to the official Settings app on the Android platform.
On the iOS platform, such a command would take the user to the Assistant settings.
Not only that, the Assistant also lets users head directly to various apps and websites.
This is useful for users who find it easier to actually speak out and/or type the name of the website or the app into the shown Assistant search box rather than navigate to a given website in the normal way by first going to one’s web browser and then typing out the website address.
To use this feature, users can use the voice command ‘open…’ and then follow it by the relevant URL of the site (it turns out, even a close approximation of the URL works).
This probably seems a bit too much for some years.
There is a lot more that we have not discussed so far.
We haven’t mentioned anything about all the new and improved visual interface tweaks that have made their way on the Google Home Hub.
Then there are those extras such as Google Lens and others.
There is little doubt about the fact that Google Assistant is evolving very quickly.
And it is covering more and more devices as the days roll by.
Not only that, Google Assistant is eating up more and more information about its master (the user) and is turning it into knowledge.
It is pretty clear that the future of Google has Google Assistant somewhere near the center.
We are confident that time is not far where Google Assistant perfectly makes restaurant reservations for the user.
The real cost of using Google Assistant
Like almost all other services from Google, the Assistant is absolutely free.
Free for one.
Free for all.
Online consumers can use it without paying anything for as long as they want.
Now, that’s only half of the deal.
The other half of the deal is that the user has to give up more and more of his/her personal information to none other than Google.
Google can then use all that data to sell advertisements to the user.
The company likes to call this phenomenon as ‘personalization’ of its services so that it is able to recommend the best possible restaurant that it knows the user would like.
The Assistant makes use of the same data to recognize that one of the user’s favorite sports team is currently playing an important tournament.
There is little doubt that Google Assistant is tracking the user wherever he/she is going and recording what the user is doing AND compiling what the user’s interests are AND so much more.
Now, as far as Google is concerned, the company is clear on the fact that the data it collects remains safe.
The company makes use of it in a responsible way and provides users with a multiple number of ways to manage.
It even allows the user to delete all the information, if necessary, that the user has provided to the company.
However, let’s be clear that this is not one of those pacts that every member is happy to make.
No company, including Google, is invulnerable to security holes and data privacy worries.
We have already noted before that smart assistants and smart speakers can potentially listen in on each and everything that the user is saying and can even log each and everything that the user may be typing.
Moreover, even if we assume that the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon have the absolute best intentions with regards to the user’s privacy, the fact that these new devices are always-on and listening in, makes them pretty much open to abuse from various other factors such as government agencies.
Let’s also not forget hackers and rogue software developers who have a habit of targeting the Internet of Things and the fragile state of its security.
Readers should know that we are not saying this to put them off from the Assistant or even a new purchase of a brand new and improved Google Home.
However, readers should first decide if these devices would really provide them some benefit.
Moreover, after they have purchased the devices, users should spend some time considering the related implications.
Of course, there are many ways to at least limit the amount of data that a given device is able to collect on the user.
And if the user makes his/her way to his/her official Google account via the official web interface and the user should have no problems in seeing the Assistant activity page where Google lists out the things it is tracking.
After studying it for a while, the user is pretty much free to delete any information if necessary.
Security Gladiators has written a lot about how users can go about locking down their privacy in the online world and on platforms such as Android and iOS.
We have also talked about how users can ensure their privacy in Google apps.
What we mean to say is that, there are definitely many possible ways to use these services without actually handing over all of one’s data to Google.
Google Assistant does need a lot of data to work properly.
However, users do not have to submit each and every detail about each and everything that they think and do all the time.
With all things accounted for, there is no doubt the fact that the best tool to guard one’s privacy and online anonymity is a VPN.
A VPN is essentially a tool that encrypts the user’s traffic and routes it through a hidden tunnel before it exits to the wider world of the internet.
That way, third-party app developers and websites cannot know where the data came from.
VPN services also protect users against hackers, government agencies and internet service providers.
In other words, VPN services can technically protect users against all the pitfalls of using services such as Google Assistant.
But since there are a lot of VPN services in the market today, sometimes it can become difficult to know which one is the best or even legit.
Our research shows that the best VPN service in the world right now is IPVanish.
It can protect users against all sorts of bad actors and spying agents.
IPVanish has made a name for itself in the VPN industry because it is,
But most of all, it comes with a seven-day official money back guarantee.
So users do not have to take any risk while trying this VPN service out as they can simply ask for their money back even after seven days of service use.
Click here to read our full IPVanish review.
And to purchase IPVanish protection for you and your loved ones from the official IPVanish website and that too at a discount right now.
Do leave a comment below to let us know how you feel about the Assistant providing so many features but at the cost of so much data.
Is there another way for these massive technology companies to even stay alive?
No one is ever going to pay them for using their products, so perhaps online consumers are forcing these companies to sell out to advertising companies.
Regardless, the best way is to keep using these services and protect oneself with the help of a good VPN service provider.
We have already mentioned which VPN service we think is the best when it comes to securing one’s privacy and guarding one’s anonymity.
But readers are free to make up their own mind by clicking here to read our list of ten best VPN service providers in the world right now.