Google built its own voice assistant, called Google Assistant, to take on its closest competitors including Siri, Alexa, and Microsoft Cortana. It was initially released for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL phones, before rolling out to other devices running Android Nougat. Earlier this year, Google even released its Assistant app for the iPhone, and it's fantastic.
Although you cannot replace Siri with Google Assistant, you can get a lot done with it. Due to API restrictions, Google Assistant is only capable of doing basic tasks such as sending text messages, calling a contact, creating a calendar event, and so on. You cannot invoke Google Assistant by pressing the Home button as it's assigned to Siri and cannot be changed. However, Google makes this process easier by allowing you to add a widget for quick access. The app also offers a number of other amazing features that Siri doesn't have. Here are the 12 tips and tricks to make the most out of Google Assistant on your iPhone.
12. Add the Google Assistant Widget
Since you cannot assign Google Assistant to the Home button, the best thing you could do is to add its widget to your iPhone. It will show up in the Today view in Notification Center, on the Lock screen, as well as on the Home screen.
- Open Notification Center and go to the Today view.
- Scroll to the bottom and tap on Edit.
- From the list of available widgets, find Google Assistant and tap on the + button next to it.
- Now that the app's widget has been added, go to the Lock screen or Home screen and swipe right to view the widgets page.
- Here you'll find the Google Assistant widget.
- Press the microphone icon to start speaking to Google Assistant.
11. Use Shortcut Commands
Shortcuts is one of the best features of Google Assistant. Basically, you can tell Google Assistant what it should do when you say a specific command. As an example, you can set up a shortcut such that when you say 'Workout time', it starts playing songs on your device. Shortcuts are very easy to create.
- Tap on the cabinet icon in top right corner, and then switch to the 'Your Stuff' tab.
- Scroll down to the Shortcuts section and tap on Add Shortcut.
- This is where you can set up a new shortcut.
10. Control Your Smart Home Devices
As technology advances, more people are moving towards automating their home with the help of smart home devices, such as Amazon Echo, Phillips Hue Bulb, Roomba, etc.
Google Assistant has a built-in feature that allows you to control your smart home devices using your voice. All you have to do is to add these devices to the app and then you can control them. An interesting thing about this feature is that you can group your devices into 'Rooms' so that you can manage them more easily.
- To add a smart home device, tap on the cabinet icon in the top right corner of the app.
- Now press the three dots button in top right corner and choose Settings.
- Under Services, tap on Home control.
- Here you can view and manage all the smart home devices that have been added to the app.
9. Type Your Queries Instead of Speaking
There are times when you cannot speak to Google Assistant, such as when you're in class or riding the bus. Google Assistant has a handy feature that allows you to type your questions instead of speaking. A similar feature was recently introduced for Siri in iOS 11.
- When you open Google Assistant, you'll find a tiny keyboard icon in the bottom left corner.
- Tap on it to bring up the keyboard and then type your question to be answered by Assistant.
8. Explore All That You Can Do with Google Assistant
Google Assistant is capable of answering any question that you throw at it. It can set a timer, tell you when your next meeting is, provide directions, as well as tell you how tall Justin Bieber is! To help you discover all the actions that can be done with Google Assistant, the app comes with a dedicated Explore section where you'll find examples of questions that can be asked.
This section is split into different parts, each providing examples of questions that could be asked. To open the Explore section, open Google Assistant and tap on the cabinet icon in the top right corner.
7. See All of Your Stuff in One Place
While Google Assistant is smart enough to schedule your meetings, form your shopping list, and even set a reminder, it is also good at keeping all this information organized in one place. The app comes with a section called 'Your Stuff' where you can view and manage your upcoming reminders and agenda, shopping list, as well as command shortcuts.
- Open Google Assistant and tap on the cabinet icon in the top right corner.
- Now tap on the on the 'Your Stuff' tab at the top.
6. Set up Multiple Timers
One of the basic things that Siri cannot do is set multiple timers. It only allows you to have one timer running at a time, so if you're looking to set multiple timers using Siri, then you're out of luck unless you have Google Assistant. The app allows you to set multiple timers at once and manage each of them individually. After you set your timers, you can view all of them by saying "show all timers".
5. Quickly Add Events to Your Calendar
Another interesting feature of Google Assistant is that it can add events directly to your iPhone's calendar. Simply say what the event is along with its date and time and Google Assistant will automatically add it to your calendar. For instance, you can say "add meeting with boss for tomorrow at 3 PM", and Google Assistant will add it to your calendar.
4. Create Your Shopping List
Gone are the days when you had to write down your shopping list on a piece of paper or manually input them in a third-party app. Google Assistant makes this task easier by providing a shopping list within the app where you can add items using your voice. As an example, you can say "add Pepsi to my shopping list", and the app will add it for you. To view your shopping list, simply say "show my shopping list", or go to the Settings section of the app and tap on 'Shopping list'.
3. Listen to News
Staying up-to-date on the latest news can be difficult when you're having a busy day. Google Assistant solves this problem by reading the latest news to you from your favorite news sources. Simply say "Listen to the news" and the app will read out the latest news to you.
- You can add your favorite news sources via the Settings section of the app.
- Tap on the cabinet icon in top right corner.
- Then tap on the three dots button in top right corner and choose Settings.
- Under Services, open News. Here you can view and manage all the news sources that have been added.
2. Add Reminders
Do you tend to forget important stuff, like your friend's upcoming birthday? Well, Google Assistant has your back. It allows you to quickly set reminders on your iPhone so that you no longer forget them. All you have to do is say the context of the reminder along with the date and time that you should be reminded. For example, you can say "Remind me of Tom's birthday tomorrow at 10 a.m".
1. Quickly Convert Measurement Units or Currencies
Google Assistant allows you to quickly convert measurement units or currencies. All you have to do is to say what you want to convert and the app will do it for you within seconds. For example, "What is 20 dollars in Euros?".
These are some of the best features of Google Assistant on iPhone that will help you stay more productive and perform tasks on your device more easily. If you haven't installed Google Assistant yet, then I'd definitely recommend that you give it a try. It is available for free on the App Store. While it cannot replace Siri completely, it is a good alternative if you're looking for a different voice assistant for your iPhone. It offers amazing features, it's capable of providing follow-up replies, and can understand different accents more easily.