TNTMAX IT Consulting in New Jersey: Ideas for Utilizing Google Home in the Office
With Google Home, anyone, from the high-powered executive to the toddler learning to talk, can have their own personal assistant. In spite of the word “Home” in its name, Google’s version of the smart speaker is a convenient office tool too.
Google assistant already exists on Android smartphones, but the drawcard of Google Home (and other popular smart speakers) is that it can be used completely hands-free. You activate it by saying out loud “OK Google!” or “Hey Google!” and proceeding with your request. Google Home is also a complementary tool for getting the most out of your other existing smart devices.
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Google Home at a Glance
If you are not yet familiar with Google Home, it is a Wi-Fi speaker, a personal assistant, and a smart home control hub all in one. There are four variants in the market as of writing, offering the mentioned capabilities but with different technical specifications: the Home (standard product), Home Max (with a premium speaker for better sound), Home Mini (compact and most affordable), and Home Hub (with a display screen).
To set up your Google Home, plug in the smart speaker, download the Google Home App from the Google Play Store, sign in with your Google account, customize your settings, connect to your platform accounts (music, video streaming, etc.) and add your compatible smart devices.
Now your Google Home is formatted to you.
But that’s not all: as time goes on the smart speaker will use its machine-learning capabilities to learn your preferences, making it a more and more intuitive responder specifically to you.
IT consulting in New Jersey can help your business utilize this latest technology to improve your office experience. Keep reading to learn more.
How Google Home can Help at the Office
- Get Answers to Your Questions
In some circles, it’s now a social faux-pax to ask questions whose answers can be gotten from a quick Google search. It won’t take long for someone to say “just Google it.”
Google Home leverages their incredible search technology to give users answers to questions without scrolling or getting distracted by an email notification on their phones—or being sucked in by other juicy information discovered while researching. The smart speaker will speak out or display (Home hub) relevant sections of web pages back to you, making it a more efficient searcher.
Having immediate answers promotes good decision making. A project manager can get information about stocks, the meanings of words, word translations to other languages, conversion units to make calculations and much more. You can also use the device to check traffic, local news, and the weather.
- Create an ambiance
Research has shown that background noise and music affect people’s performance and creativity. Some people work well with music, others prefer silence or white noise to drown out unwanted sounds from nearby loud discussions, construction noise, or music.
Simply issue a voice command to your Google Home device to play music from one of your playlists or play any one of the popular ambiance-creating sounds: fireplace sounds, rain sounds, babbling brook sounds, thunderstorm sounds, ocean waves sounds, and so on.
If it is appropriate—like in a retail shop—connecting to compatible speakers in more than one room will allow the music to reverberate throughout a building. The big retail stores know that music can affect a buying decision.
- Organize Your Schedule
With access to your Google calendar, Google Home helps you remain aware of what activities come next. It is also easy to add appointments—all hands-free. Examples of commands to create a new schedule entry:
“Ok Google, schedule a meeting for me on Tuesday at 1pm.”
“Ok Google, add an event called Tom’s performance review.”
“Hey Google, add a dentist appointment to my calendar.”
Google assistant is able to decipher from your command any information missing in order to schedule an event completely. For example, if you don’t give specifics such as date and start time, it will prompt you to do so: “what is the date on that?. It will use a default duration for an event (set for Google Calendar) unless you state otherwise.
Examples of commands to ask about your schedule:
“Hey Google, what/when/where is my first event/meeting?”
“Okay Google, what/when/where is my next event/meeting/agenda/calendar?”
“Okay Google, list all events for May 1.”
“Hey Google, what’s my agenda for today?”
“Hey Google, what’s on my calendar for Monday?”
Google Assistant will say the first three appointments of the day for those last two commands. You get an added advantage with the Home Hub because the display shows upcoming appointments and reminders automatically as well as a visual overview of the day in progress.
Events you add to your Google calendar from other devices, such as a connected iPhone, will sync and also be accessible by Google assistant.
A worker in control of their calendar and activities will enjoy high productivity levels. Similarly, if your business is dependent on technology to run properly, your IT infrastructure should be properly managed to ensure reliability. Are technical downtimes becoming a continuous occurrence? Consider outsourcing your IT support to professional IT consulting in New Jersey.
- Make phone and video calls
What is an assistant for, if not to make phone calls so you don’t need to lift a finger? You don’t even need to know where your phone is—simply give the instruction:
“Hey Google, call…” followed by the contact or business name or even a number. Video calls are possible with a smart display.
If you have verified your phone number with Google, you can opt for your number to show on the receiver’s end or to display it as private.
- Find your phone
To find a lost phone, you can make it ring with the Google Find My Phone feature, provided location is turned on, and you are signed in to the same Google account on your Home device and your phone.
If your phone is on silent, doesn’t have a cellular signal or isn’t connected to a mobile network or Wifi, use an IFTTT (If This Then That) applet. IFTTT is a free online platform that allows you to select from pre-made applets or create one yourself.
These applets contain instructions linking different internet-connected devices or services together. You will need to create an account for IFTTT and follow the steps to verify and activate the Find My Phone applet. Once completed, say:
“Ok Google, find my phone” and the applet uses a VOIP number to dial your phone. It will turn your phone’s ringer volume to its maximum so you can hear it ring.
IFTTT applets add versatility to your smart speaker. You can do the following tasks hands-free:
- Send a text
- Send a Tweet
- Add a new contact
- Receive an email with the list of all the notes you created that day
- Set reminders
Small tasks often pop up throughout your day which are not included in your calendar. If you need to remember something, create reminders following the format: “Hey Google, remind me to [do this] at [this time].” For example:
“Hey Google, remind me to stop by the grocery store at 5 pm”
“Ok Google, remind me to call Jack at noon”
When the time arrives, your Home device will chime (display will pop up a visual of the reminder). Your phone will also get a notification—useful for those times you step out of your office. You can also use location-based reminders of the format: “Hey Google, remind me to [do this] when I get to [this location].” For example:
“OK, Google, remind me to buy milk when I get to the grocery store.”
“OK, Google, remind me to take out the trash when I get home.”
You can tell your assistant to delete unwanted reminders.
- Remember specific things
One of the ways in Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influene People is to remember the little details that matter. Google Home is capable of providing this type of intelligence the very moment you need it.
For example, clients light up when you remember their children’s names, so give the instruction: “Hey Google, remember that Jack Rhyme’s kid’s name is Jill.” Before your meeting with Jack, on a later date ask: “Hey Google, what’s Jack Rhyme’s kid’s name?” You will get your answer—no searching through tagged notes, text messages or emails required.
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- Setting alarms and timers
It’s a well known observation that tasks expand to fill up the time available. To keep a high level of focus, set timers for pomodoros method or for productivity naps and Google Home will sound the alarm to wake you up and keep you on track..
- Creating lists and notes
“Ok Google, make a list,” is all you need to say to create one and your Google assistant will ask what you’d like to name it. Then, when you need the information, it will tell you specific items on a given list. You will need a phone to edit a list once created.
Similar commands can be used to make notes and show those notes.
Not so surprisingly, many of the ways Google Home can help in the office involve organizing, remembering, timing, and doing grunt work that later turns out to be exceedingly useful. As new updates roll in, you can expect your assistant to be able to do more.
A side effect of changing technology is that we have to continually keep up in order to take full advantage—which means learning how to use them effectively, just as one has to learn the right commands to trigger the smart speaker.
The same principle applies to your business IT: new technology and best practices for how to maximize technology are coming on stream at a rapid rate. If keeping up with the demands on your IT has become a challenge, perhaps outsourcing IT services could be the answer for you. TNTMAX offers IT consulting in New Jersey and is happy to discuss what we can do to serve you.