Okay, call me a geek, but Christmas is coming and I've been genuinely searching for a way to get Google Home to turn my home into a winter wonderland in response to a single command: "Okay Google, it's Christmas!"
I'm talking Christmas tree- and fairy lights sparkling, Santa's band marching, "All I Want For Christmas" blaring, mulled wine heating, maybe even the snow machine whirring. Okay, forget the mulled wine, that's going too far. But just imagine it.
Well, it turns out there is a Santa, and its name is Google Assistant. The new Routines feature in the Google Home app lets me do all this in a few simple steps. And, as you can imagine, right now I am the embodiment of the 'big kid at Christmas'.
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How to set up a Google Routine
Launch the Home app and tap the Account icon at the bottom right. Click Settings, choose the Assistant tab, then select Routines.
Tap the blue + button.
Tap Add commands, then enter the phrase you will say to trigger the routine (excluding "Okay Google"). For example, "It's Christmas." Press Ok, then tap the back button.
Optional step: Set a time and days during which this command will work. If you leave this blank it will work at all times. We purposely left this blank.
Under 'My Assistant should...' tap Add action. You can enter here any command that you know works with Google Assistant.
I've entered "Turn on smart plug", which is a D-Link smart plug I have already configured through the Google Home app. To this smart plug I will connect my Christmas lights, marching band and any other festive electrical decorations I can source. Click Add to finish.
You can add multiple actions here by clicking the Add action button and entering subsequent commands.
If you want Google Assistant to also play some form of audio, be it music, audiobooks, podcasts, the radio, news or even sleep sounds, click Add media under 'And then play...'
We selected Music, then tapped the cog wheel beside it to enter a specific type of music - "All I Want For Christmas" by Mariah Carey. Click back to exit when you have entered your choice.
To save your finished routine just tap the tick icon at the top of the New routine screen. Then give it a try.
Also see: Funny things to ask Google Assistant