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Five cool things you can do with Google Assistant

Stay organized, check your email, play games and get a rundown of your day, all with the power of your own voice


Google's artificial-intelligence voice-recognition platform, baked into its Android Nougat OS, is called Google Assistant. The Siri-like personal assistant is designed to be conversational, letting you ask it to do things like book a table at a restaurant, send messages and navigate to where you want to go.

Setting it up is easy, and saying “Ok, Google” is all that’s needed to spring it into action, waiting for a command. Here are a few neat things you can do with it.

1. Call or message people hands-free

This may seem standard for any voice platform, but Google Assistant can tie in to your different apps, too. You can send or respond to messages coming in from Google’s messaging app, Allo, or tell it to contact someone on your WhatsApp or Viber list, for example. If you can’t call or message back right away, you can tell the Assistant to send it, say, five minutes later so you don’t forget.

2. Search your email

This is especially useful if you have a Gmail account, but it can work with any email account you use through the Gmail app. You can ask for emails from a specific sender (“OK Google, check emails from Jon Jones”), including a certain term in the subject line or whatever was received on a certain date.

It won’t read them aloud and it only focuses on your primary email, not the messages that are filtered through your social and promotions tabs in Gmail, but it saves time in getting to an important email.

3. Get a rundown of your day

By tapping into your calendar and factoring in the weather and traffic conditions, you can tell Assistant to verbally itemize your to-do list of meetings, reminders, calendar entries and more by a simple phrase like “tell me about my day today.” In the News settings, you can select an internet radio station to begin playing once it’s done giving you the lowdown.

4. Play music on demand

Google has made Assistant smarter in knowing what you want to play. For instance, you can say, “Ok, Google, play music by the Chainsmokers on Spotify” and it will begin playing the most popular track from that artist — so long as you have Spotify installed and are logged in, of course.

You can get music on demand through Google Play Music or a radio station on TuneIn as well. And if you’re happy or sad, you can tell it to play music based on how you’re feeling, and then it will choose a playlist from Google Play Music for you.

5. Play games for quotes, jokes, poems and the 8-Ball

Say “I’m feeling lucky” to unlock a trivia game. Tell it you want to play the Mad Libs word game. Seek a quote from a historical or popular figure. Have it recite a poem for you. And, for bizarre answers to yes-or-no questions, ask to see the Assistant’s “crystal ball.”

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