15 things you didn't know a Google Home Mini could do
Here's what your Google Home Mini can do for you.
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The Google Home Mini is one of the original smart speakers from Google’s six-speaker line up. Even though it’s a few years old, it’s still a mighty little speaker that packs a big punch, and there are probably at least a few things you didn’t know it could do.
What is the Google Home Mini?
Released in late 2017, the Google Home Mini is the first iteration of Google’s most compact smart speaker that features Google Assistant. If you’re an Alexa user, it’s basically like the equivalent of Amazon’s Echo Dot.
Recently, Google launched a second-generation version of its beloved and compact smart speaker, the Nest Mini. There aren’t a ton of differences between the two Google speakers, but the Nest Mini does come with a faster Google Assistant and boasts better sound quality. However, the Google Home Mini isn’t to be overlooked, especially since it’s almost always on sale for around $40 or less.
Thanks to its small design, the Google Home Mini is a good option for apartment dwellers and college students who live in dorm rooms. It’s also a great place to start if you’re new to the world of smart home tech since it’s easy to set up, and also because Google Assistant is more conversational than Amazon Alexa.
What can the Google Home Mini do?
From using your voice to shut off the lights, unlocking the front door with just a tap, smart home devices, like the Google Home Mini, can make life a little easier.
Here are 15 things you probably didn’t know Google Home Mini can do.
1. Make your smart home even smarter
Google works with more than 30,000 smart devices from over 3,500 different brands. Many smart home devices can be controlled using Google Assistant so you can ask your Google Home Mini to dim the lights, control your thermostat, lock your doors, turn on the news, or change the volume on your television. You can even start your robot vacuum and dictate which rooms in the house you want audio to play in.
Easter Egg (the just-for-fun commands sure to bring you a laugh) #1: “Hey, Google, wubba lubba dub dub.”
2. Find your lost phone
Sure, Google can call (and hang up on) anyone from your contacts list with a few simple commands, but that’s not the full beauty of the Google Home Mini call feature. If your phone has disappeared, there’s no reason to waste hours searching for it. Instead, call out an “OK, Google, find my phone.”
Your Google Home Mini will clarify, “OK, should I call the number ending in XXXX?” Once you confirm, you should hear your phone ringing wherever it’s been lost. Bonus: If you have an Android, your Google Home Mini will make sure it rings even if you left it on silent.
Easter Egg #2: “Hey, Google, self-destruct.”
3. Create a routine
Picture this: You wake up and say to your Google Home Mini, “Hey, Google, good morning,” and it responds by automatically starting your coffee and then telling you the day’s weather, the traffic you can expect to encounter on the way to work, the biggest news headlines for the day, and a reminder of what you have on your calendar.
Through your Google Assistant app, available for download on iOS and Android devices, this routine (and several others, to include “Bedtime,” “I’m Leaving,” “I’m Home,” “Let’s Go to Work,” and, “Let’s Go Home,”) can be established so that your Google Home Mini knows exactly what you want, day after day.
Easter Egg #3: “Hey, Google, inconceivable.”
4. Make an announcement the whole house can hear
The beauty of having more than one Google Assistant-enabled speaker throughout your home is that when you have an announcement you want to make to your entire brood, you don’t have to yell it down the halls. This is as simple as saying, “OK, Google, broadcast that breakfast is ready,” or, “OK, Google, broadcast that it’s time to go.” You can even use your phone to broadcast to anyone who may be home that you’re on your way there, too.
Easter Egg #4: “Hey, Google, crystal ball.”
Read more: How to reset your Google Home Mini
5. Pull up your favorite playlists
As a smart speaker, your Google Home Mini can connect to your Spotify, Pandora, YouTube music, or TuneIn playlists to keep your space jamming all day long. You can request songs by artist, album, even by lyrics you may recall off the top of your head. And if, for some reason, you don’t have accounts with any of those, Google Home Mini will still happily provide you with free playlists from YouTube music (they just aren’t quite as customizable). And music isn’t all Google Home Mini will play for you. You can also request white noise or the day’s news.
Easter Egg #5: “Hey, Google, make me a sandwich.”
6. Entertain the kids for days
Equipped with a library of knock-knock jokes and animal noises, the Google Home Mini can provide your kids with endless fun. Just team them to say, “OK, Google,” and they’ll be set for hours of enjoyment. Especially if you start with, “Hey, Google, did you fart?”
You can ask Google to tell them a story, play a game, or beatbox for them. And with responses to commands like, “Hey, Google, clean my room,” and “Hey, Google, what’s that smell?” they’re sure to be rolling. You can even now set character alarms for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Lego City, Lego Life, or Lego friends. All you have to do is say, “Hey, Google, set a Lego Friends alarm for 8 am” and your Google Home Mini will take it from there.
However, it’s a good idea to fine tune the device’s restricted content controls to your liking before letting your kids loose with the Google Home Mini.
Easter Egg #6: “Hey, Google, I am your father.”
7. Set a sleep timer
If you like falling asleep to music or white noise, but you don’t want it to be playing all night, just say, “OK, Google, set a sleep timer for one hour,” once the sound is playing. Don’t let the name fool you, though; the sleep timer doesn’t just have to be for nighttime, and there’s no set amount of time you need to stick to.
You can also use it as a guideline to yourself for how long you need to work on a project that day, as a timer for when you need to get out of the shower, or as a way to keep your pets company while you’re gone.
Easter Egg #7: “Hey, Google, my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.”
8. Speak your language.
Your Google Home Mini is well-versed in a number of languages. And it can even be set to respond to two languages at a time including English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. Adding a second language can be accomplished through the Google Home app on your smartphone or tablet. Google Home Mini can also act as your translator when you say, “How do you say [word] in [language]?”
Easter Egg #8: “Hey, Google, I’m naked.”
9. Get in shape
Not only can Google Home Mini integrate with your Fitbit, providing updates on your vitals and tracking your workouts and caloric intake throughout the day, it can also give you workout tips and exercise ideas.
Additionally, Google Home Mini is equipped to answer any questions you may have about the caloric, sugar, protein or nutrient content in any number of foods you may be eating, or considering eating. The tiny Google-enabled device can also help you find healthy recipes, create your shopping list, and guide you through making those recipes in the kitchen.
Easter Egg #9: “Hey, Google, it’s my birthday.”
10. Keep your day moving
With your Google Home Mini, you can keep track of your daily calendar, any meetings or appointments you may have coming up, and any reminders you may have set for yourself. For instance, you can ask Google to remind you to pick up milk or to remember where you hid the password for your computer. Your Google Home Mini can also help you manage connecting with people in different time zones by letting you know what time it is wherever they may be. And if you’re worried about losing track of time yourself, you can always set an alarm for anything you may have coming up—to include waking up every morning to your favorite playlist.
Easter Egg #10: “Hey, Google, it’s not my birthday.”
11. Help you plan a vacation
If you’re itching for a trip somewhere far away, Google Home Mini can help get you there. Just start by asking, “OK, Google, tell me about flights to [your preferred destination].”
From there, Google has hooked up with several hotel booking sites (to include Expedia, Priceline and Choice Hotels) to help you book rooms wherever you may be traveling. You can even ask about commute times, local traffic or weather information, and for directions to anywhere you may want to visit.
Easter Egg #11: “Hey, Google, what is your quest?”
12. Do your math homework.
You may not want to let the kids know this, but Google can definitely answer their basic math questions—and yours! Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, counting, measurement and currency conversions, even fractions; your Google Home Mini can do it. You can also ask Google to flip a coin, roll a die, or choose a random number.
Easter Egg #12: “Hey, Google, sing a song.”
13. Lighten the mood.
If it’s been a rough day, consider calling out, “OK, Google, tell me something good.” The result will be a happy news story sure to warm your heart and bring a smile to your face. You can also play games with Google. Try, “Hey, Google, I’m feeling lucky.” Or, “OK, Google, Mad Libs,” for something light, fun, and stress-relieving.
Easter Egg #13: “Hey, Google, up up down down left right left right B A start.”
14. Google all your questions
This may come as a shock to you, but your Google Home Mini is equipped with quite the impressive search engine. Never again do you have to sit around wondering who starred in that movie, what local Italian restaurants you have to choose from, or how to find a good heating specialist nearby. Google can find it all for you. And if you’re just bored, ask Google to surprise you. You’ll end up with a random fact you’ve probably never heard before.
Easter Egg #14: “Hey, Google, set phasers to kill.”
15. Stay quiet at night
Your Google Home Mini is a pretty awesome little tool, but that doesn’t mean it’s infallible. If you’ve had it set up for a few weeks now, it’s possible you’ve been woken up by unexpected notifications or an alarm that was much louder than expected. You can prevent this by setting up night mode through your Google Home App, available for download on iOS and Android devices.
There, you have three options: setting a time frame for night mode to go into effect, putting your Google Home Mini into Do Not Disturb mode, or adjusting the nightly brightness and max volume.
Easter Egg #15: “Hey, Google, winter is coming.”
Google Home Mini and privacy concerns
With stories of hackers gaining entry into smart home security cameras, privacy concerns are at the forefront of many consumer minds these days, and rightfully so. And, if you have a smart home speaker in your home already, you may already be mindful of how your information is shared and your ability to control privacy settings on a particular device.
Major tech companies like Apple and Amazon have addressed privacy concerns over using audio recordings as part of their respective voice-assistant quality evaluation processes—and Google did the same in September 2019.
Google published a blog about how the company is working toward protecting user privacy as it relates to Google Assistant. But, the company underlined that they do not "retain your audio recordings" and have never done so.
So, what does it mean for you? As far as the Google Home Mini is concerned, Google won’t automatically store your conversations with Google Assistant unless you give the device permission to do so.
On the bottom of the device, you’ll find a toggle switch that turns the mic on and off. So if you’re concerned about a sensitive conversation being recorded, just manually power off the microphone.
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