So your abode now has a Nest Audio or Nest Mini speaker. Or maybe someone gifted you a Google Home or Google Home Max from a couple years ago. (The names may be a bit confusing, since Google decided to rebrand its smart home speakers and displays last year, but don’t worry, they all work just about the same.) You’re about to enter the wonderful world of digital personal assistants. All you have to do is set it up.
We can help. Also, we should note that Google’s voice-activated Assistant lives in many products beyond those sold under Google’s Nest brand name. You can find smart speakers from Lenovo, Sony, Bose, JBL, and countless other manufacturers with Google Assistant baked in. If you have one of those devices, setting up the Assistant as described here should still work for you. If you hit a snag, consult the directions written for your specific device.
After taking your Nest speaker from the box, download the Google Home app on your phone. The app will walk you through the typical steps of choosing a language, setting up the Wi-Fi, that sort of thing. Before long, the app will ask where in your home you are placing your device. If you’re not sure where to put it, choose an accessible location like the living room or bedroom. Remember, you’ll be talking to it and listening to it, so wherever in your home that makes sense is where you should place it.
Next, the app will prompt you to sign in to your Google account. This lets the Nest speaker access your calendar, your email, and your reminders or notes. Connecting a Nest speaker to your Google account lets you ask things like, “OK Google, what time is my dance class,” and get an accurate answer.
Do you have a Chromecast or Chromecast Audio in your house? You can set up your Google Nest speaker so it can start playing music or video on those Chromecasts after hearing your voice commands. Open the Home app and tap Menu in the upper left corner. Then choose More Settings > TVs and Speakers. Then add the device you want to connect to your Nest speaker. With that, you can enjoy the convenience of playing music or watching TV without doing anything more than saying, “OK Google …” from the comfort of your couch.
Connect your smart lights to Google Nest as well. For all the Philips Hue or Samsung SmartThings owners out there, you have full voice control when the lighting systems are connected with Assistant.
This setup guide was updated in December 2020.
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You got a cool gadget! You lucky duck. Now you’ve gotta set it up. You poor sap. WIRED’s master guide can help.