Google Home is a new entrant in the voice assistant device market, where the Amazon Echo has reigned as the unopposed victor for nearly two years. Here’s how to set up your Google Home device and begin issuing voice commands completely hands-free.
What Is Google Home and Why Would I Want One?
Google Home is essentially Google’s version of the Amazon Echo. It lets you do pretty much the same things that you can do with your Android’s voice assistant, but without pulling out your phone to use it. Instead, it’s a standalone device that sits on your desk, countertop, or side table and is always ready to go whenever you want to ask a question or issue a voice command.
If you don’t already have an Amazon Echo but are wanting to see what all the fuss is about, getting the Google Home is an alternative you can look into, especially since it only costs $129, whereas the Echo is priced at $179.
Granted, the Echo is probably a better option right now, as it supports more smarthome devices, but the Google Home has a few exclusive features of its own—like access to Google’s mass library of knowledge, or the ability to control your Chromecast (which Amazon can’t do).
RELATED: How to Set Up and Configure Your Amazon Echo
How to Set Up Your Google Home
Setting Up the Google Home takes only just a few minutes, after which you’ll be off to the races. Once you plug in the device, it will automatically boot up and from there you’ll need to download the Google Home app to your phone, which is available for iOS and Android.
Open up the app and tap on “Accept” at the bottom-right corner of the screen.
The app will inform you that your Google Home was found. Hit “Continue” to begin the setup process.
When the app connects to your Google Home, the device will play a test sound to confirm that it’s connected. Tap on “Play Test Sound” to begin that process.
Tap on “I Heard the Sound” in the bottom-right corner if you heard the Google Home device emit a sound. If not, select “Try Again”.
On the next screen, you’ll select which room your Google Home device is in. Simply tap on “Select a room” and choose a room. Once that’s done, hit “Continue” down at the bottom.
Next, you’ll connect your Google Home to your Wi-Fi network. Tap on “Select a Wi-Fi network” and select yours from the list.
Enter in the password for your Wi-Fi network and hit “Continue” at the bottom.
Once it’s connected to your Wi-Fi, tap on “Sign In”.
If you’re already logged in to other Google apps on your phone, your Google account should automatically pop up. Tap on “Continue as [your name]”. If not, you’ll need to sign into your Google account before continuing.
On the next screen, you’ll be asked if Google Home can access your personal information, such as your calendar, notes, flight info, and so on. This allows Google Home to provide you with better results with certain voice commands (like asking what’s on your agenda for today). Keep in mind that anyone within speaking range can access this info. Select either “Allow” or “Skip” at the bottom.
The next step is setting your location and giving Google permission to access it. The app will try to pinpoint your location, but if it’s off in any way, you can hit the pencil icon off to the right and enter in your location manually. Once you’re done, tap on “Set Location” down at the bottom.
On the next screen, you can choose whether or not you want to get email notifications about the latest news and info about Google Home. Use the toggle switch on the right and then hit “Continue”.
Next, you’ll select which music streaming provider you want to use with your Google Home. Obviously, Google Play Music and YouTube Music are options, but you can also link to Spotify or Pandora. Hit “Continue” when you’re done to move onto the next step.
After that, you may get a message saying that your Google Home is still updating, so sit tight for a few moments and wait for it to finish.
Once it’s done updating, it will need to reboot. Tap on “Reboot” in the bottom-right corner.
Once it reboots, the app will say that setup as completed. Hit “Continue” to move onto the tutorial or select “Skip Tutorial”.
The tutorial consists of nothing more than giving you a few voice commands you can use and shows you how to use them. Hit “Finish Tutorial” on the last screen to exit out of it.
You’ll then be taken to the Google Home’s settings screen (where it might be a good idea to explore and see what you can customize). Tapping on the back arrow in the top-left corner will take you to the app’s “Devices” screen where your Google Home will appear in the list.
At this point, your Google Home is ready to go and you can begin using it. Simply say “Ok Google” and Google Home will start listening. After that, the world is your oyster.