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While Amazon was the first to integrate third party services into Alexa, Google has been catching up. They recently introduced third party Actions to help you do more with your Google Home smart speaker. Here are the best ones so far.
You can access all the actions on Google Assistant’s online directory or in your Google Home app. All the actions work with Google Assistant either in your smartphone or your Google Home smart speaker.
To start using any of the services below just search for it in the online directory or go to your Google app settings.
All active services that you can use will be listed there, arranged by categories. Note that, unlike with Alexa Skills, you don’t have to enable any service to use it. Just start using it by telling Google to talk to it. E.g. ‘Ok Google, talk to ATM Finder’.
But for some services like Netflix and Uber, you need to link your account first.
Food and Drink
Recipes by Course – Ask Google Assistant to find recipes for specific courses such as lunch, breakfast or dinner.
Recipe Chef – This service reads out recipes step by step. You’ll need to create an account first and connect to your Google account. Add your favorite recipes to the account. To pick a recipe say it’s name and then give specific instructions like ‘next ingredient’ or ‘all ingredients’.
The Jameson Bar – Get step-by-step instructions on how to prepare Jameson’s signature cocktails right from your kitchen. Just say, ‘Okay Google, talk to The Jameson Bar to get started.’
The Lazy Butler – If you and your friends can’t decide where to eat, simply ask The Lazy Butler to recommend a place with a specific cuisine. To find an Italian restaurant just say, ‘Ok Google, Ask The Lazy Butler to Recommend some Italian’.
Wine Guide – This service will recommend the best food and wine pairings. You can use it at home, when you are out wine shopping or at a restaurant. To get started you can say, ‘Ok Google, talk to Wine Guide’.
Health and Fitness
Google Fit – keep track of your steps and heart rate or start tracking your activity directly from Google Assistant. Just say, ‘Ok Google, how many steps have I taken or start a bike ride’.
Info about Food – Get nutritional facts about different foods. You can ask things like ‘How many calories in a slice of bread’ or ‘Is there sodium in chicken soup’.
Info about Diseases – Learn about the causes, symptoms and treatment of different diseases from Google Assistant. You can ask things like ‘How to treat a heartburn’ or ‘What are the symptoms of heart disease’.
Meditation Sounds – Play meditation sounds for 2 minutes at any time of the day to calm your mind and relax. Ask Google Assistant to Talk to Meditation Sounds to get started.
Fitness guide – Get tips on various exercises including quick exercises or a full week workout plan. Say ‘Ok Google, talk to Fitness Guide’.
Smart Home Control
There are several third party services for controlling your smart lights and devices including TP-Link, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, WeMo and HomeMate.
There’s also a Roomba action to control your Roomba vacuum cleaners, RoboVac for your Eufy RoboVac vacuum cleaner, Harmony to control your TV with a Logitech Harmony remote and Netro Sprite for Netro watering systems.
Movies Photo & TV
For videos there is YouTube, for photos there is Google Photos and Ubuntu Cloud Images and for TV shows there is Netflix, HBO Now, The CW Network and CBS All Access. Others include;
Movie and Showtimes – A native Google Assistant action that will show you movie times and related movie details. You can ask ‘What are some good kids’ movies’ or ‘What movies are playing today?’
What’s New on Netflix – Get daily updates of new movies and shows on Netflix. Other related actions include ‘What’s New on HBO’ and ‘What’s New on Hulu’.
In addition to native Google Assistant productivity features like Google Calendar, Google Reminders and Google Search here are others from third party developers.
Follow-Up – Log calls, create reminders and dictate notes in Salesforce. Requires installation of Follow-Up AppExchange app in Salesforce.
Emergency Alarm – A quick way to call for help. Just say ‘Ok Google, Ask Emergency Alarm to Help Call’ and the service will automatically make an emergency call.
Todoist – Manage your tasks just by voice. You can ask Google Assistant to read your list of tasks or add a new task.