So your home now has a Nest Audio or Nest Mini speaker. Or maybe someone gave you a Google Home or a Google Home Max from a few years ago. (The names can be a bit confusing, since Google has decided to rename its smart home speakers and displays Last year, but don’t worry, they all work pretty much the same.) You are about to step into the wonderful world of digital personal assistants. All you have to do is configure it.
We can help. Also, we must note that Google’s voice activated assistant lives in many products beyond those sold under Google’s Nest brand. You can find smart speakers from Lenovo, Sony, Bose, JBL, and countless other manufacturers with built-in Google Assistant. If you have one of these devices, configuring the Assistant as described here should still work for you. If you have a problem, see the written instructions for your specific device.
After taking your Nest speaker out of the box, download the Google Home app on your phone. The app will walk you through the typical steps of choosing a language, setting up Wi-Fi, that sort of thing. Before long, the app will ask you where in your house you place your device. If you don’t know where to put it, choose an accessible location like the living room or bedroom. Remember that you will be talking to and listening to it, so anywhere in your house that makes sense is where you should place it.
Then the app prompts you to sign in to your Google account. This allows the Nest speaker to access your calendar, emails, and reminders or notes. Connecting a Nest speaker to your Google account allows you to ask things like “OK Google, what time is my dance class” and get an accurate answer.
Do you have a Chromecast or Chromecast Audio in your home? You can set up your Google Nest speaker to start playing music or videos on those Chromecasters after hearing your voice commands. Open the Home app and tap Menu in the upper left corner. So choose More settings > TVs and speakers. Then add the device you want to connect to your Nest speaker. With this, you can enjoy the convenience of playing music or watching TV without doing anything more than saying “OK Google…” from the comfort of your couch.
Also connect your smart lights to Google Nest. For all owners of Philips Hue or Samsung SmartThings, you have full voice control when lighting systems are connected to the Assistant.
This setup guide was updated in December 2020.
How to configure all your new technologies
You have a cool gadget! You lucky duck. Now you need to configure it. Poor sap. The WIRED Master Guide can help you.