Set up Google Home routines for personalized commands and responses. here’s how

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Google Assistant can make your life easier with a little feature called “routines”. If you wanted to you could just say “Hey, Google, hello” to your phone, and in seconds it could show you the forecast for the day, your calendar events, top news, and other important daily information.


Brett Pearce / CNET

Routines help Google Assistant respond like an efficient human assistant. You can program your AI-powered voice assistant to turn on your smart lights, listen to music or switch on your high or low thermostat – with a single sentence. While pre-programmed options like the “hello” routine can be great, you can also create custom commands and responses to suit your needs.

Read more: 7 Google Nest commands that will make your life easier

To use the routines, you need the Google Home app and a device with Google Assistant. The app is available for ios and Android. Google Assistant is built into modern Android phones, including the Pixel 6 and the Samsung galaxy s21.

Routines also work on smart speakers like the original Nest Mini or the Nest Audio, smart screens like the Nest Hub ($ 97 at Walmart), or even tablets or iPhones ($ 499 at Apple) (if you download Google Assistant). You can even access Google Assistant with Google Pixel Buds.


The routines will run on your smart screen.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

How to program custom routines for Google Assistant

Open the app, sign in with a Google account and you will see a Routines button at the top. Tap on it and you’ll see a list of predefined options along with some suggestions. Here you can customize each of these presets to your liking, or you can start your own from scratch.

Now knock + New at the top to start customizing.

I’ll go through the options for a custom routine, but all of them are there for presets as well. To create your own, press + New at the top of the screen. Here you will see:

  • Entries: These are triggers to start the routine. Includes voice control, time and sunrise / sunset.
  • action: These are the actions of the routine. You can adjust home devices and settings, play media files, get info and reminders, and more.

Maybe you want a routine when you are ready to train, so you can configure a voice command as Entrance like, “It’s practice time.” You can also add an alternative formulation in this menu (press + Add another). Note that Google Assistant doesn’t answer questions well – it searches for the answer itself instead of realizing that you’re triggering a routine. For best results, keep your commands on statements and sentences.

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You can also choose another input, such as time or sunrise / sunset so you can schedule your routine to go off automatically. Your smart home can do the job without any intervention on your part.

In Actions, you need to tell Google Assistant what you want it to do. Your options are quite broad and include pretty much everything that Google Assistant can do if you give individual commands. Maybe you can choose to get info on your trip to the gym or play your gym playlist to get you started. The options are seemingly endless, so explore and add as many actions as you want.

Once you’re done, you can arrange the order of actions you choose. Finally, faucet To safeguard at the bottom right to store your custom routine.

With routines, you can get the most out of your Nest Audio by making Google Assistant your personalized personal assistant. Here is a list of our preferred devices with built-in Google Assistant, and here are others tips for getting the most out of your smart speaker.

If you are having trouble with your own routines, you can check out our Google’s guide to a successful morning routine and list of others Google routines for every part of your day. And if you are interested in other ways to automate your smart home, you can check out how to automatically turn on your lights when you get home.

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