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Virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa are becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives. Recently, Google launched its competitor to the Amazon product. Aptly named Google Home, the Google Home Assistant can help you in surprising ways that you might not have realized at first. Here are 15 features that may surprise you.

1. Use it as a speaker

It is common knowledge that it comes equipped with a Bluetooth speaker. However, it is not limited to connecting to your phone and playing playlists. You can connect to many music streaming services, such as Spotify and Pandora. Not only that, but with a Chrome browser built into any computer, you can easily plug it in and use it as a desktop speaker.

2. Read the news of 1851

It has a database of news headlines dating back to 1851. All you have to do is request the news on a specific day. Then you will read the headlines for that day and summarize the news contained in that article.

3. Find your phone

With just a simple phrase, Google Home Assistant can place a call to your phone to help you find it. If your phone is silent or vibrating and is compatible with Google Home, it will even come out of silent mode so you can hear its ringing.

4. Turn the lights on or off

It bills itself as the backbone of all your smart devices. If you have compatible lights, like Phillips Hue bulbs, you can ask it to turn the lights on and off for you without pressing a switch.

5. Use touch commands

It is equipped with touch sensitive technology that knows where your fingers are and can register many gestures. You can touch the top to pause and resume the music and slide your finger to the side opens the volume control. Google has promised more touch command functionality in the future.

6. Get an Uber

By connecting your Uber app to Google Home and specifying a few settings, you can ask for an Uber and one will go straight to your home in a matter of minutes.

7. Cooking recipes

Perhaps one of the most useful features, you can search for more than five million recipes through various databases, such as New York Time and the Food Network. The Google Home Assistant will go through the recipe step by step and can even request ingredient conversions and substitutions.

8. Play 20 questions

It is connected to Akinator, which is an online version of 20 questions. Just think of something and Akinator, through Google Home, will ask questions to narrow it down. It is perfect for when you are bored or want to keep your kids busy.

9. Keep a shopping list

Google Home has a lot of functionality in the kitchen. If you notice something is missing, just ask the Google Assistant to add the item to your shopping list. That shopping list is automatically sent to any built-in phone or smart device.

10. Integrate with Chromecast

If you have Chromecast, Google’s home TV option, you can use Google Home and voice commands to control it. You can request specific videos or tell it to go back, forward or jump at a specific time.

11. Know your traffic

By adding your home and work locations to your app, Google Home Assistant can inform you of traffic conditions and possible alternate routes you can take to save time.

12. Impress your guests

It also allows your guests to use it. All they have to do is pair their device with Google Home, a step that literally takes a few seconds. Once it’s paired, they can issue commands and ask questions just like you.

13. See your photos on television

You can be given access to your photo accounts, such as Google Photo and Photobucket. Once you do, you can use Chromecast to display your images on TV and even request specific images based on location and date.

14. Relax

It comes with over 15 ambient sounds, including the forest ambience and crashing waves, to help you relax or fall asleep.

15. I heard a joke

You can even tell jokes. Just ask and you will receive.

With all these things you can do with Google Home and more features to be added soon, now is a great time to buy this fantastic home assistant.

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