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What do you tell your smart home to do?

Community Manager (Admin)
Community Manager (Admin)

From “Hey Google, turn on the lights” to “Hey Google, lock the front door” there are so many fun and helpful ways to make your home more helpful. You can play music, turn on your favorite shows, create shopping lists and even more to control your smart home. 


So, which voice commands do you use most around your house? 


Let us know your top 3 in the comments below. You might even find a new one to try!


Community Member

I have one which I change depending on the time of the year which is "Hey Google, turn on Halloween!" (interchangable with Christmas and other events).

This is linked to a series of smart plugs, lights, etc... Which will turn main lights down/off and LED strip lights/window lights on.

Further tweaked with the relevant colours for whichever event/season is being celebrated and makes it really easy to set the scene when the sun sets and you're feeling ready to get festive/spooky!

Community Manager (Admin)
Community Manager (Admin)

Sounds like a boo-tiful routine! 👻  


Hey everyone,


We appreciate all your insights. As our product continuously evolves, we definitely look forward to that to be available in the future. Anything you'd like to see as a feature, you can always share your feedback to us. 




Community Member

Well, I expose my openHAB stuff to google, so overall google home is just a way for me to control my appliances without having to speak.


wifie uses the “how’s the weather/turn on the lights/what’s the temperature in the room x/turn on the thermostat” ones daily. So I won’t consider those…

the lighting commands:

”get spooky” (just found out about this one) and “I feel like a fish in the ocean” - I love this sort of stuff because it’s so out there that it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Unfortunately it appears they no longer work. 😞

“where’s wife?” - this was super useful, but it’s been killed 😕 not sure why, or how to fix. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to say “ let me know when wife arrives”, this would be excellent, but yeah. Not working any longer either 😞

“set a reminder for wife” - not working either. Since I’m In Europe, i can’t even text someone.

“set speaker group to x%” - thank you SONOS… also no longer working.

So yeah.

I feel like 2022 hates me 😕 

Diamond Product Expert
Diamond Product Expert

My top three:

  1. Hey Google, good morning (triggers my morning routine, which gives a weather forecast and plays news summaries from NPR and BBC)
  2. Hey Google, play music by Green Day on all speakers (plays music from my YouTube Music library on all my Nest Hub and Home speakers)
  3. Hey Google, play NPR on upstairs (plays my local NPR station on just the upstairs Nest Hub and Home speakers).

Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey folks, 


It's nice to have all of you here in the Community.


We appreciate everyone who shared some tricks on controlling your smart home. Sure that others would love to try it in their smart homes.


@KiiFromGoogle, @roblawton and @MichaelP, thanks for chiming in!


@PedroLiberal, thanks for all the details you've shared and we know how much convenience it gives us when we can easily command our Home devices using voice. Since OpenHab is a third party service which you can link to your Google Nest speakers, we'd like to check-- is your OpenHab account somehow integrated with IFTTT? We'd love to know more so we can check on it further.


@mantarayslot, thanks for the info. Can you tell us if this has worked before? Also, what commands have you used?


@everyone, feel free to chime in anytime and let's share more tricks so others can also try. Who knows, others might also enjoy the tricks you're using! 




Happy to share all my stuff with everyone and anyone!

My setup is definitely not a mainstream one. But thanks to it I’ve been able to nudge many a friend into the google speakers ecosystem! 🙂 

no, I do not use IFTT. I actually stopped using it since they forced the subscription system. Instead, openHAB (much like home assistant) uses the google API to expose what they call “items” to google. I’m simplifying the overall effort, but, let’s say that I have a smart light in openHAB and a google speaker. Instead of hooking the smart light to the google ecosystem, what I do is, I integrate openHAB to the google ecosystem. Now all of my (many hundreds….) of “items” can be exposed to google!

so the order would be: all devices connect to openHAB -> openHAB communicates to google -> google becomes a “pseudo remote control” for the devices in openHAB.

So what cool stuff we can do with this, and why go through all of this effort if we can simply hook stuff to google home?

Local control of everything. Internet outages do not affect me (aside from the voice control loss). Real automations, based on state changes, or really, anything… 

Cool stuff we can do? thermostats, and air purification systems are my current passions.

I hooked a xiaomi temperature/humidity zigbee sensor to openHAB, and exposed it to google home as a thermostat. Then, I created a couple of virtual items, based on google documentation (Setpoint temperature, Setpoint high, Setpoint low, modes, I’m going by memory here.) again in openHAB, and exposed those on google. And I created a thermostat. Which works as a thermostat, behaves as one as well. If I adjust the temperature in the google home app, it syncs back to openHAB, and vice versa. This allows me to create fully functioning HVAC systems, with the power of google assistant, controlled through the google app, but with absolutely whatever device I want. I can add a dumb electrical heater, and a fan, and make it so that when I set a specific temperature and mode in google home app, it will check the temperature sensor, and will turn on the heater if needed. Unfortunately it’s not possible to have google proactively ask the user something. I created an automation where if the bedroom is cold, it will cast a voice message to a speaker informing the user to turn on the thermostat. Ideally it would work like Alexa, where it asks the user “the room is cold, would you like to turn on the thermostat?” The user answers “yes” and the thermostat is now on. Competition wins here hands down.

Overall The functionally is awesome. Also, I believe that the command “turn on the thermostat for x hours” doesn’t work, otherwise it would be pretty cool to save some money and energy during the night.

About the air purification system, similarly to the thermostat, but instead, pm2.5, and VOCx. I’m using Bosch sensors to analyze the air, but unfortunately I haven’t yet had the opportunity to read google documentation on air purifiers. I hope that the developers have had the opportunity to integrate them so well as they did with thermostats, but time will tell.

And yeah… there’s a whole other world out there, where the customers / clients have actually given up on waiting for vendors to make products and… well, we are making them ourselves! 
Im looking to use cheap, dumb, ikea air purifiers in my air purifier project. And with 5 euros of electronics I will add Wi-Fi connect them to openHAB, expose them to google and automate everything with smart sensors spread across the home.

What a brave new world we live in!

(sorry about the long, off topic, post. I’d be happy to share more if anyone is curious! )

Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hi PedroLiberal,


Thanks for all the details you've shared. You got a pretty interesting home setup and I'm sure you do enjoy playing with your smart home. Since your devices are connected to OpenHab, I've seen that commands are limited and specific. Can you please confirm if the commands you're using are listed on this link?


On the other hand, glad to know that your lights work perfect with using routines. What a nice way to enjoy the weekend with those mood lights!




@Princesss Yep! It works pretty well!

As for your link, view those commands simply as “suggestions” - that page hasn’t been updated for some time. Please check this link in order to have a better understanding on what we can do now, with openHAB.

Also, work is ongoing in other aspects, like improving the functions available for air purifiers (see more here).

So in essence, we’re not limited to any specific set or list of commands at all. We have a wide range of possibilities, and are only limited by the devices that google has compatibility with. 

Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hi PedroLiberal,


Thanks for the link you sent. I was also browsing the same link and went through those commands that you can use with openHab. I'm pretty surprised that there are lot to discover and played with with those commands especially when you use multiple home automation devices on your smart home. 


Since openHab is a third party app service, vast commands can be used however, we can't guarantee that all commands created inside openHab will work on Google Nest speakers, afterall, those commands are personally crafted-- like a programming command. We find it interesting that most people are open to exploring other ways, we'll appreciate every info you'll share.


These kind of reviews are what we need and keep us improving our devices. We’d like to take the opportunity to encourage you by sending a feedback to what you think are the things that we can add up and improve to provide a better experience when using your Google Nest speakers.




Ill happily share any feedback 🙂 I don’t particularly like the feedback system though, because I feel like I’m talking to a wall and I never get any answer back.. so honestly, I prefer these forums since I get to interact with people like you, and I can help others as well 🙂

About those “vast commands created in openHAB” that you mentioned, we actually have cool ways around it. For example, imagine a super complex automation created in openHAB. I would expose a switch in google, so that I could say:

”hey google turn on switch X” and when the item switches on, everything else would run on openHAB 😉

One example of this is a command to send the smart vaccum to the trash can, to clean it. I can simply expose a switch that when it is turned on, openHAB sends a command to the vaccum, telling it to go to the trash can, and turns the switch back off. This way I don’t have to pick up the vaccum and carry it around the home 🙂

We are a resourceful bunch! There are always ways of getting around limitations 😉

Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hi PedroLiberal,


We appreciate you as we work on sharing some tips and tricks to others. We'd love to see more of it in this community. These tips make our lives easier and efficient in controlling our smart homes. Thanks to you and to others who collaborated on this thread.




Have you considered making a help article on what happens after we send feedback? I.e.

  • How is it processed?
  • How is it used?
  • How is it prioritised?
  • How can we give the best feedback when sending feedback?
  • And implement that info into the user tutorial process of your products (or at least a "send to your phone" link), so all users know instead of it being buried in a help article that maybe 10% of your users will see, if you're lucky. You have thousands of users, but only 22 responses to this post.

People would feel more comfortable giving feedback if they knew what the process is and how it's used.

Google need to get about 400% better at treating people like humans, and having that reflect in their product design. The approach of "give us feedback. But we won't be transparent about how we use it, what we're working on, or give you decent privacy options" is so corporate, top-down, and old-fashioned.

You'll say you do give privacy options, but nope....

  • Nest Mini "send feedback" has no privacy options. 
  • Nest Hub has privacy options, but they show in tiny text on screen, and you have to select them by touch. No voice command toggles.
  • There's no way to easily find feedback you've submitted and go through and edit, or add more to it, or delete it. (There is a web history for feedback. But it's hard to find, and lacks features)

And in terms of feedback being valued and respected:

  • Sometimes it's hard to even know if the feedback has sent. After sending feedback, if you ask "did you just send that feedback?", it says (and I quote verbatim) "that's ok, is there another way I can help you" and "don't worry, feedback isn't neccessary, just let me know what I can do for you." Two different ways of not answering my question! With no options to correct it!
  • There's a repeatable issue where, if you speak for too long while sending feedback, it just clicks off and doesn't send it! It doesn't tell you it didn't send it, but if you check your submitted feedback logs on web, it doesn't show up.
  • Unless you say your feedback quickly with no pauses, it sends it whenever you pause (on a Nest Mini) or asks if you want to send it (on a Nest hub) but gives you no option to add to to, or edit it, only either send or don't send. So if you want to add to it, you have to start the process again. I guess people with a disability, English as a second language, or just people who want to give thoughtful feedback and need a moment to think are out of luck.

How about a monthly feedback transparency report for Home products? (Or all Google products.) And a nice website that shows things like:

  • what you're hearing
  • what you're working on and why
  • what you're not working on and why
  • what you hope to work on soon, and in the long-term future

It's called transparency and accountability.

Chrome has one, seemingly because you were forced to. To quote that article:

  • "As part of its commitments to the Competition and Markets Authority, Google has agreed to publicly provide quarterly reports on the stakeholder engagement process for its Privacy Sandbox proposals")"

Other things to consider:

  • Do you know you have social media users who think Google have all but abandoned their Home product line, and are focusing on new products only? It sure feels like that based on the amount of issues people have that are unaddressed, how few updates we get, and looking at things like Google Stadia or Google+, to name just a few.
  • Your "Made by Google" YouTube channel frequently replies to any positive "brand-friendly" feedback, but ignores any negative or constructive feedback, which is a great way to make users feel ignored and alienated. 
  • What is a "Community Specialist"? Are you even a Google employee? It helps for us to be able to tell the difference.
  • Don't get me started on what it's like navigating Google support. Just look at Google's TrustPilot score.

This is what I mean when I say google needs to be better at interacting with humans. This is simple stuff that's been known for decades to be important, interpersonally, and in business. Yet a billion-dollar company hasn't caught on yet.

I read online that their feedback system is sorted through by AI, so if you make a quick report, it'll be in there somewhere.

The more people who report things, the more likely it'll get flagged. If they have hundreds of users saying X thing isn't working properly, that'll catch their eye.

Community Member

Oh, forgot this one, that doesn’t work properly:

Requested by the wife: ”we have several mood lights (rgb lamps) scattered throughout the home in different rooms. The objective is to say turn on the mood lights, and all mood lights would turn on. But this does not happen. Some do, others don’t.”

the point of mood lighting is when it’s dark and you don’t want to turn on the ceiling lights. For example, during a movie, when it’s 3am and you need to go to the bathroom. 
My lamps are named like “room name”+” “+”mood light”, so why some turn on and others don’t is really a head scratcher for me.

This works well with routines to close blinds or shutters, which is what I do. At sunset the blinds close, mood lights turn on, and everything looks awesome!

Community Member

Hi there,

I have front yard and back yard cameras .. I'd like to say "Hey Google, security report" in the morning, and a get something like "no zone videos in backyard room, 1 video in zone 1 in frontyard room in the last 12 hours" .. better than checking manually

Community Member

Something fun for new year eve, I say "Hey Google, new year count down" at 11:30 or so, google reply" ok will start count down close to mid night" .. then 11:59:45 or so  say " Ready for count down" .. then after few seconds ... " 10, 9 .." 

Tried that last year with the kids .. did not work  

Community Member

The voice commands I use most trigger routines, which select SmartLife 'scenes' for lights around the house and then tweaks the colours that the scenes can't control. They make my house suitable for working, cooking, yoga, dates, watching television and winding down for bed, sometimes adding mood noises or locking doors. They all broke last week because of the new Google Home bug that said 'actually, those lights don't suppose that', but eventually that got fixed, and after setting a lot of things up all over again, they're working again.

I just read an article that says Google Home will support more smart bulb features soon; I'm hoping that will include the colour sequencing and music reaction modes.

What I'm really hoping will be supported soon is compound conditions, so my 'I'm going out' routine only messes with the lights after dark, or my voice commands only affect heaters and fans when the temperature is in a certain range. I'd also love it if there were light sensors that would close my blinds when it gets really bright, in my 'I'm awake' voice command. But my blind's integration with Google Home doesn't work as advertised anyhow, so no hurry with that one.

Actually, I wish Google had a rating system for how well products work with Google Home. I spent many thousands on blinds and entertainment equipment last year, but they turn out to either not work properly, or have annoying quirks. e.g. When I tell Google 'turn everything off', it complains that the television isn't available—because it's already off! And I'd love for my yoga voice command to play my yoga mix on my high-end AVR, but while it turns on and sets the volume, when I tell Google to actually play music on it, it says it doesn't support that feature. But at least the lights turn appropriately soothing.

Thanks for what you do.

What type of audio do you draw on for your mood noises?

Home Assistant (not a Google product) may be able to bridge the gap between your blind equipment and Google Home. I know you want Google Home to handle it all, but that's not what's currently possible.

Things may improve with Matter and Thread integration rolling out in the coming months.

Community Member

I would love to have a routine set in the mornings to begin playing a YouTube playlist on my TV. I like having an art screensaver on the screen. I can't figure out how to get Google Assistant to play a specific playlist from YouTube.

Getting Google assistant to do anything on YouTube is a nightmare. Unless you've memorised the song and artist names, and even then, it'll probably

  • say "sorry, I can only play a radio station about that. Here's other songs you don't want to listen to"
  • say "I can't play videos on a Nest Mini... even though Spotify have the same advertising model and manage to monetise audio content just fine"
  • do something completely different to what you told it to do
  • give you the results for a song you didn't ask for

We can't login to YouTube and access our playlists, video history, save a video to a playlist.


  • You can play specific playlists. Just ask "play my {playlist name} on YouTube"
  • I've read more complex routines are coming to the web interface, eventually:
  • Home Assistant  (not a Google product) can do more complex things that Google Home can't.

I'd just contact Google directly about what you want to do.

Community Member
  1. "Send feedback" (It's about the only thing it can do reliably, and even then it screws it up about 2 out of 10 times)
  2. "Cast to..." (it usually screws it up, or can't do basic things you'd expect it to be able to do and I have to find overly complex work-arounds)
  3. "Make a note"

Things I'd like to do, but can't:

  • use lists more, but voice recognition and the voice interface around lists suck
  • edit notes and reminders. Your only options are: Delete note, or make a new one. Really? No option to edit, or add to a note?
  • mark a reminder that's been marked complete as not complete (to correct mistakes)
  • upgrade and improve my smart home, but Google offers no help with that. No info on what is and isn't compatible. No upgrade path. No example of what different homes look like. This would make a great Discover feature.

You should hire someone from the David Allen company, world-class productivity experts, to come in and tell you how bad your note and list taking features are.  You have a killer business use case, if you could design software that businesses would actually want.

You have devices that have a voice interface, but you keep outsourcing the user interface to smartphones, such that the best way to do things is via a mobile device or computer. It's very frustrating.

"But what about revenue?"

I would happily pay more for devices that have a Tensor ship so you can save money on servers and bandwidth, but you have to have an interface to make all of that useful. And offer different price points, beyond just a 10 inch Pixel tablet that costs as much or more as a Hub Max.

Though even the Pixel 7, with a Tensor 2 chip, lacks a good user interface. Ask Google Assistant to "turn off my phone" and it gives you text instructions to turn off your phone! Is it really so hard to connect up the text:

  • (me) "turn off my phone"
  • (Google Assistant) "do you want to power off your device, yes or no?"
  • (me) "yes/no"


No fancy machine learning or predictive algorithms, or server or bandwith costs, required.

I'd also accept occasional ads on Home devices, if your ad experience was better and you showed useful ads, instead of ads for things I'll never buy. And gave me ways to help you determine that. The more ads I get for YouTube premium, the less I'm likely to buy it... out of principle.

You are slowly trying to improve your ads, I'll admit, but it's taken years, and--again--the user interface seems like it's designed from someone with no clue.

I would even pay a yearly subscription, if your stuff worked as one would expect it to!

You don't have a revenue problem. You have a design problem.

Community Member

Hey Google add milk to the grocery list. I share the list with my wife but after a power outage and reset of our system it seems voice variation only works for one person. So only I can add to her list she shared. Sharing and voice verification should be more streamlined.