Smart Wall Switch
Dave's Google Home Site — Page 3
Sleep Timers, Alarms
Presently timers can only be used for sounds and not for controlling switches. (This can be done by something called IFTTT (IF This than Then That), but that beyond the scope of this article. I expect that you will be able to time your lights in a future upgrade.)
Timers and alarms are similar but not quite the same.
A Timer operates at a time interval.
An Alarm operates at a specified time.
One would set a timer for ten minutes or 5 hours. But one would set an alarm for 08:00 tomorrow morning.
(Note: some users have reported that the alarm feature
doesn't always work at the time it is supposed. I wouldn't
use this feature for any critical uses.)
Alarms can be set for a certain time each day, or weekdays or on a certain time of day and on one day in the month.
A new feature is you can wake up to an audio source instead of that not-too-annoying sound. You can even tell it to snooze for some extra minutes. To do this, say: Hey Google, set a radio [music] alarm for 8 am weekdays. She will then ask what song or radio station would you like to wake up to. (You might want to be subscribed to a music service for the best results.)
As of yet, you can't control your smart plugs or lights
with timers or alarms. Google says that is
coming soon ™ You can now with the
timed routines feature, described on the last page.
Routines (Ready Made)
The customizable routines are discussed on the previous page.
The ides of March (2018) have brought me Routines! Yeah!
Routines are a list of steps your GH will do when prompted by a certain phrase, such as "Good Morning". When the GH hears this, it will speak and do according to what you've listed in the app. Routines are listed under the settings (how to get there is in the Custom Routines section on the last page. Make sure to use the Save link in the upper right corner in the app.
The wake up routine has different actions available than the bedtime routine. You can't play the radio after saying good night. (You tell the GH to play after the good night routine.) Here are a few routines I set up:
"Good Morning": When I say Good Morning at any time of day, the GH that heard it greets me, tells me the time and temperature with a brief weather report. Then it turns on my two under cabinet kitchen lights. After that, it starts streaming Bloomberg 960 to my whole house group. Just waking up in the age of the Jetson!
As the season changes and it is darker when I get up, I'll turn on another light that is on my way to the kitchen.
"Bedtime": Give the weather for tomorrow, Ask what time you want to set the alarm for tomorrow. Turn off all lights. And play nothing. (I then might play the news and set a sleep timer.)
"I'm Home": Turn on a living room light. Turn off the porch light. Stream a radio station to my whole house group.
Of course, everyone's situation is different. Just nose through all the selections and the ideas will pop in.
Additional Features of The Google Home App
By now, you've used the Google Home app to set up your devices and manage them, so I may have put this section in the wrong area on my pages. But there are some extra features that are only apparent if you go through all sections of the app. So here are a couple handy ones.
Accessibility: To get there, from the main app screen, click on the device you wish to adjust and click on the gear icon in the upper right corner.
Click the Accessibility link. You then see two items that relate to a tone that will sound when you wake up your GH, and when your GH is done listening. So if you can't see the lights on the GH, or don't want to look, you get a tone acknowledgement of your GH hearing you. I've turned on the beginning tone on all my devices.
Group Delay Correction: This adjustment has been in the settings menu on the Chromecast Audio dongle but has only recently shown up in the GH settings. I've used this setting in my sound bars group as I noticed when I positioned myself between the two sound bars, there was a difference in the timing of the sound. This was likely caused by the time delay caused by one of the digital amplifiers in the sound bar.
To adjust this, stand between the two devices that have the timing error. You use the app to adjust the delay so as to slow down the audio that arrives at your ears the quickest. You will know when the sound is in step. This adjustment is only required if the two or more speakers are within earshot. In the case of my two sound bars, I needed a delay of 57mS.
To locate this setting, go to the main screen and click on the speaker you wish to adjust. Click the settings gear in the upper right corner and look down the list of settings. (This setting is not available on the Insignia speakers at this time.) The delay setting may have been added because of the Bluetooth support recently added to the GH.
Digital wellbeing: I just found this, so it is likely new in the last part of October 2018. This section will restrict speaker usage. To get there, from the main screen, click on the speaker you want to adjust, then the settings gear in the upper right corner of the screen. Select to which accounts are affected, and then set what kind of video, music or additional controls to be placed.A good way to keep everything family friendly. Then you can schedule downtime. The filters can be enabled or disabled at any time.
Roku control: Late October 2018 brings another GH feature. Voice control of a Roku box or TV. There are limitations. You don't get full control, but it isn't bad.
To set up your Roku, click the Add icon on the main app screen. Slick Set up device, and then Have something already set up?. Look for Roku in the list. You will be taken to the Roku site and you need to enter your credentials. When finished, you assign a room and you are done.
You can control your TV set on-off feature if the set is new enough. Other control depends on how your Roku is set up. Not all Roku boxes are compatible, but the new ones are. Only one Roku box can be set up.
Latest Additions & Updates
Continued Conversation (CC): Are you tired of saying Hey Google multiple times? It sure breaks up the conversation you are having. If you don't mind your microphones being on a few seconds longer, turn on Continued Conversations. Go to your app, and click on the User Account icon in the lower right corner. and then click on Settings seen on the left side. Then click on Assistant near the top of the screen. After that, click on Preferences and then Continued Conversations.
Turn on the feature and you are set to go. The Continued Conversations won't work in routines. They will end on their own. But you can ask to switch lights, and talk about the weather. You can keep talking while the lights are on. When you are done, say "thank you" or "done" and the conversation is over. The GH will sense when you no longer talking to the assistant and speaking to someone else. No doubt this feature will be refined as time goes on.
Instant Language Change: Just today, Google added the ability to instantly switch between two languages! I've waited for this one for a while. Earlier, I set up a standalone GH on a different account on a second language. Unfortunately it was very clunky, as I had to disable one GH microphone in favor of another.
Here is how you set it up. Go to your Google Home app click on the User Account icon in the lower right corner of the main screen. Then go to settings. Then click on Assistant at the top center of the screen. Then select Preferences, and then Assistant Languages.
Click the two languages you wish to use, and you are now set. I can now practice my second language and learn how I should speak. Wunderbar!