Folks often use the terms “Google Home” and “Google Assistant” interchangeably. But they’re actually two distinct products from Google. (Thankfully, Google replaced the Google Home smart speaker with the less-confusing Nest Audio.) We totally get it. Google Home is a lot easier to say (or type) than Google Assistant. For the sake of simplicity, here’s how we’ll describe each product from here on out:
- Google Home is a mobile app for controlling smart home devices that work with Google Assistant. It works a lot like the Apple Home app or the Amazon Alexa app.
- Google Assistant is voice control software like Amazon Alexa and Siri.
Think of Google Assistant as the brains and voice, while the mobile app is the body. Google Home app is mostly a convenient interface, and the smart speaker just helps Google Assistant talk to you.
Because Google Assistant is the real mastermind behind every Google smart home device, we’re going to focus our efforts on helping you learn what it can do.
If you have a compatible device (phone, speaker, etc.), you can get Google Assistant’s attention by saying one of two wake words: “OK Google” or “Hey Google.” Then you make a request or ask a question.
Google Assistant quickly deciphers your vocal instructions using the same technology that powers Google’s outstanding search engine. The reaction time is so fast that you’ll usually get an answer within a few seconds.
If you ask a question, the Assistant gives you a brief answer and sometimes sends the top search result to your phone so that you can learn more.
Google Assistant doesn’t just answer questions. It works with oodles of services so you can check the traffic for your commute and squeeze in a quick yoga workout before you head to work.