Quick Tips: Easier Smart Home Voice Control with Alexa and Google Assistant

Quick Tips: Easier Smart Home Voice Control with Alexa and Google Assistant

Does your smart home have a few too many smart "things" and scenes that get tedious to trigger by voice? Do you forget what they're called, or perhaps the extra "trigger" words to activate them? Obviously most of us don’t speak in special code or in strange syntax. If these assistants of ours could be spoken to in a more natural way, it would probably make the smart home a bit helpful.

Routines to the rescue

Lucky for us, both Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant have added a feature called Routines relatively recently. While I’ll discuss Routines more in-depth in the future, the feature helps solve our problem by letting you create your own words or phrases to directly call up a particular Routine. It’s better than a scene because you don’t have to say “turn on”. And it’s better than some of the third-party “automator” apps because you don’t have to say “Alexa, ask [app] to turn on that scene”.

Google Assistant goes further

The Routines feature for both Amazon Echo, Google Home and their 3rd-party variants lets you run a few different tasks at once, including smart home tasks, playing music, getting traffic info and more. Google takes the customization a bit further and lets you add multiple custom words and phrases to trigger a routine. So, as long as you remember one of your words or phrases, you’ll be delighted when your scene runs without problem.

Even more customization with IFTTT

And, to take it one step further, combining Google Assistant with the automation service called IFTTT also lets you customize what the Assistant says in response to your commands. While IFTTT doesn’t actually run Google’s Routines, you can trigger just about anything (smart home or otherwise) from a Google Assistant command thru IFTTT. So, Google Assistant triggering just about anything that IFTTT’s free service connects to, using up to three of your own words / phrases, AND making it say anything you want in response? Totally awesome.

Check out more of these details in the video below, with a little bit of Star Wars fun on #MayTheFourth

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