Top 11 Google Home Mini Tips for Using it Productively

The Google Assistant made its way to quite a number of devices this year, including smartphones and smart speakers. The Google Home Mini was one of the most recent products from Google to infuse this AI-powered assistant and boy, is it handy!

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Playing songs, news or being your personal jester — this tiny gadget can easily accomplish a number of tasks, without you having to lift a finger.

However, at the end of the day, these are tasks that you'd expect out of a smart speaker by default, especially when it's made by Google. Thankfully, the Google Home Mini is much more just a smart speaker. 

If you have bought the Google Home Mini this holiday, here are the best tips for using it productively.

1. Help it to Remember Stuff

I am a forgetful person and, most of the time, you'll find me searching for my stuff. So, when I got the Google Home Mini, its ability to remember things eventually became one of my favorite features.

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All I do is say 'Hey Google, remember I have kept the passport in the drawer' and the assistant takes care of it.

Next time, you forget where your passport is, just ask and it'll reply back with the answer.

2. Ask it for Instantaneous Traffic Updates

Being a Google product, the Google Home Mini integrates a number of Google services. For one, it incorporates Google Maps seamlessly so that you stay up-to-date with the traffic conditions.

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To start off, you can ask Google simple questions like how long it will take you to get to the subway or the airport.

For more customized answers, you need to update the home and office addresses in the Personal info section of the Google Home app.

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Having done that, all you have to do is ask 'how long will the commute be' or 'how long will it take to get to work' and the smart assistant will have the answer ready for you.

3. Play Around With Smart Shortcuts

Too long a sentence to ask? Shorten them. The Shortcuts option available under More Settings > Shortcuts makes your work much easier by replacing longer phrases with a few short words.

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So, sentences such as, "Play the workout music on Google Play Music" can be shortened by phrases like Play or Party time.

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To add a shortcut, simply tap on the Plus icon on your Google Home app and add your short phrases.

4. Get Timings for Nearby Banks or Grocery Stores

As mentioned earlier, Google has managed to infuse almost every part of our lives. So, whether it's searching for the opening hours of your nearest grocery store or a quick fact check, odds are that you'd Google it.

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How about we save some precious time it takes to type in a query? Just ask a question similar to "What's the timing of the nearest HDFC bank" and all the relevant information would be relayed to you within seconds.

5. Play Netflix Through Voice Control

If you have a Chromecast-enabled TV, you can use your Google Home device to play your favorite Netflix shows. However, you'll first need to link your Netflix account.

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Start off by going to More settings, select Videos and Photos and tap on the Link icon. Once the link is active, just sit back and enjoy your favorite shows with the voice-activated speaker acting as your remote.

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Want to start over with Stranger Things, just say 'Ok Google, play ‘Stranger Things’ season one', sit back and enjoy.

6. Use it as an Intercom

One of my favorite Google Home features is its ability to double up as a broadcaster. With your Assistant on your smartphone and all you have to say is "Broadcast" followed by the message.

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The same message would be instantly broadcast to all your Home devices that are connected to your account.

7. Lost the Kitchen Timer? Call up Mini

Google Home finds its use in the kitchen as well. So, the next time you are boiling eggs or baking a cake, use its built-in timer feature. Just say, "Hey Google, start the timer for 10 (or what you wish) minutes".

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This conveniently replaces the process of reaching out for your phone, searching for the timer and then setting it manually. 

Unlike Alexa, the sound of the timer in Google Home is quite sharp.

8. Enable the Guest Mode to Cast Contents

Another cool trick is the Guest mode option on the Google Home devices. It lets your guests cast songs and music files to the smart speaker without connecting to the Wi-Fi network.

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This saves you from the hassle of sharing your Wi-Fi password and eventually changing them later. Talk about collective efforts to party hard!

9. Ask it Word Meanings, Synonyms, and Spellings

If you have a little one, who has been bitten by the curiosity bug, the Home can double up as the Answerer. From meanings of words, facts to synonyms and spellings — it can do them all.

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What's more? You can ask it to speak slowly and it'll follow your request.

10. Learn Your Family by Voice

The Google Home devices can answer and address the queries of multiple users. However, with individual voice training, you can expect an output tailored to you, especially when using Google Maps, Calendar or even in the daily News briefings.

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Just download the Google Home app on your smartphone and start the voice training. 

Cool Fact: Did you know that you can change the voice from the comforts of your sofa? Just say, "Hey Google, change the voice".

11. Play Akinator

Now that we are done with the serious stuff, how about having some fun with the Google Home Mini? Thanks to the third-party app integration, you can have your share of fun and play one of the best games — Akinator, the Genie.

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Akinator is a simple question game, which attempts to read your mind, based on the questions it asks. A funny game to play, all you need to do is answer its questions with a simple yes or no.

You can start off by saying, "Hey Google, let me talk to Akinator" and start answering its set of questions.

Let Your Productivity Go Through the Roof

With the right features enabled, the Google Home Mini can raise your productivity through the roof. Forget about typing your queries and then hitting search or, for that matter, opening Google Maps manually before you leave for office.

It's 2018 and you just need to say the word and the obedient assistant will be ready with an answer.

Namrata Gogoi

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