Google Nest tips you need to try to make your home life so much easier

Here's how to make the most of your Google Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max smart speakers and displays

Google Nest Hub smart speaker in bedroom setting
(Image credit: Google Nest Hub smart speaker)

The latest generation Google Nest smart speakers will enhance your daily routine and there are a number of tips you can use to get the best from Google Assistant. With a Google smart speaker you can literally ‘Google it’ when you’re looking for info, as well as plan your day, play your favorite songs and control your smart home - all with the convenience of voice control. 

Since the launch of the Google Home smart speaker back in 2016, Google has expanded its range with a selection of Google Nest speakers and displays. Google Home has quickly become one of the best smart speakers. Google’s latest Nest smart devices within the Google Home umbrella include the Nest Mini (2nd gen), Nest Audio, Nest Hub Max and Nest Hub (2nd gen), which all come with the benefits of Google Assistant voice control. 

The range of useful and convenient features you can access with your Google Nest speaker is vast, with some of our favorite tricks listed here. We’ve also highlighted the latest smart speaker and display offering so you can pick the best smart device that’s right for you. 

Google Nest Mini

(Image credit: Google Nest Mini)

8 Google Nest tips you need to try

1. Wake up Google Assistant

To get your smart device ready for a command you’ll need to use the Google wake words – either ‘Ok Google’ or ‘Hey Google’. If you want to make sure Google stays alert for your next set of questions – without having to repeat the wake word – you’ll need to go to settings in your Google Assistant app and turn on ‘Continued Conversations’.

2. Add user profiles and get Google Assistant to recognise your voice

You can add up to six different users on your Google speaker via settings in the Google Home app. This will help personalise your experience when asking it to carry out tasks such as play your favorite music or pull up your calendar details.

To personalise your experience even further you can teach Google Assistant to recognise different voices using the Voice Match feature in the Google Home app.  

3. Get local information 

Google Assistant is excellent at giving you local information based on specific questions. If, for example, you’ve left it late in the day and need to hit the supermarket before it closes, you can simply ask ‘Is Target still open?’ and Google will answer. 

You can also use your smart speaker to find local takeaway options, get weather reports and hear local news.

Google Nest Hub smart speaker

(Image credit: Google Nest Hub smart speaker)

4. Organize your day

If your to-do list feels a little overwhelming, you can use Google Assistant to send you reminders and take the load off a little. You can set it to prompt you when it’s time to do mundane tasks such as put the washing on or start the dinner to more enjoyable things such as letting you know when your favorite show is about to start.

To help plan your day, you can also ask Google to check the traffic situation, see if flights and trains are on time and ask Google to run through what meetings you have set up that day.

Link up to any compatible smart home device such as a smart bulb or heating, and you can use your voice to control features around the home - dimming the lights and turning up the heating as you enter a room, for example.  

5. Literally Google it

Google Assistant gives you direct access to Google, so you can use it to find out literally anything. Think of it as your quiz master with the answer to anything - from finding out the latest football scores, to calculating a tricky sum or translating a phrase from English to French. It can help with advice around the home too – such as how to get rid of chewing gum from the carpet, for example. You can also ask it for garden maintenance advice and find out what the best jobs to do in the garden are, for example.

6. Let Google Assistant entertain you

The speakers on your Google Nest device are designed to pack a punch. From listening to specific music genres including jazz, pop, classical and everything in between, to playing the latest episode of your much-loved podcast, Google Assistant is on hand to provide excellent audio quality. You can also have fun playing around with your voice assistant by asking it to tell you joke, give you an interesting fact or play a game. 

Google Nest Audio smart speaker

(Image credit: Google Nest Audio smart speaker)

7. Manage tasks 

When you've got your hands full, Google Assistant really comes into its own. As well as setting alarms and reminders, you can use it to make hands-free calls. If you have the Google Duo video chat mobile app you don't even have to pick up your phone as you can ask Google to make a call on your behalf.

If you own a Nest speaker with a smart display such as the Nest Hub or Hub Max, you can make use of the screen to have a video chat. This comes in particularly useful when you've got your hands full making dinner, for example. 

And while you're at it, you can add ingredients to a shopping list by saying 'Hey Google, add sugar (or whatever you need to stock up on) to my shopping list', so you can refer to it in the Google Home app next time you're in the supermarket.

8. Improve your security 

Want to ramp up security? Make it look like you're home when you're not with this clever trick. You can use your Nest speakers and displays to link up to Google Home compatible cameras, alarms, sensors and video doorbell to work in harmony with your smart home security set up. 

If you choose a Google Assistant device with a screen such as the Nest Hub and Nest Hub max you can ask it to display a picture whenever anyone rings the smart doorbell. If you link up to include the Nest Secure system you can also ask your smart speaker to sound an alarm anyone opens a door or window.

Google Nest Hub Max smart speaker with display

(Image credit: Google Nest Hub Max smart speaker with display)

The latest Google Nest smart speakers

1. Google Nest Mini: Priced $61, the latest Google Nest Mini smart speaker may be compact but it has impressive sound quality. It has a 2x stronger bass compared to the previous model for bigger, richer audio quality. This is great for listening to the best music apps including Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and more. As well as simply stylish LEDs volume controls, its fabric covering is made from recycled materials, while its integrated wall mount makes it simple to place on a wall in any room.

Find out how to set up a how to set up a Google Nest Mini

2. Google Nest Audio: A step up from the Google Nest Mini in price and size, the Nest Audio costs $112 and measures 6.9” x 4.9”, but offers the same benefits from Google Assistant. The Nest Audio has crisp vocals and a powerful bass to help deliver audio around the room.

The latest Google Nest smart displays

1. Google Nest Hub: At $112, the Nest Hub differs from the Nest Audio and Mini speakers as it features a compact 7-inch touchscreen display. This means you can access and display content such as your Google Photos or go online to watch music videos on YouTube and alike.

You can read our full review of the Google Nest Hub review. 

2. Google Nest Hub Max: Larger than the Nest Hub, the Nest Hub Max has a 10” smart display has a built-in camera that makes it easy to make video calls to your contacts. At $273, its price is quite a leap from the Nest Hub, but no doubt you’ll appreciate the larger screen and more powerful speakers when you’re controlling your connected home devices, accessing recipes, playing music and more.  

What is Google Matter?

Google has just announced ‘Matter’ – the new industry standard it’s developing with other leading tech companies. Google is updating all Google Nest devices including the Google Home speaker, Google Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Hub (1st and 2nd gen), Nest Hub Max, Nest Audio and Nest WFi to be ‘Matter’ controllers.

This will make it easier to connect all your Matter-enabled smart home devices to your Google Home and control them locally and remotely with the Google Home app or smart home controls on your Android phone or Google Assistant. 

Google Nest Hub smart speaker

(Image credit: Google Nest Hub smart speaker)

One of the UK's most respected tech and smart homes writers, Emily Peck also covers everything from interiors style to decorating trends. She is a contributor to Wired UK, and has also had a column in House Beautiful. She has written for publications such as Grand Designs, Stylist, Shortlist, Woman&Home, BBC, Ideal Home and House & Garden. She was once the Features Editor of Ideal Home.