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Google Assistant now lets you set Custom Routines to help optimize your life

By Lulu Chang

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Google Booth CES 2018
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Google Assistant is getting better at assisting you with each passing week. Ever since the A.I.-powered helper stole the show at CES 2018 in January, it’s been proving that it’s a force to be reckoned with in the smart assistant realm. A few months ago, Google added to Assistant’s arsenal with the rollout of Routines. Now, Routines have been made even more useful with the introduction of Custom Routines, which allow users to trigger several actions at once at a predetermined time.

Routines help Assistant users string together a number of actions with just one command. They’re similar to Apple HomeKit Scenes, or IFTTT (if this, then that) commands. For example, when you say, “Hey Google, I’m home,” you’ll be able to trigger Assistant to turn on the lights, share home reminders, play your favorite music, set your thermostat, and more. And if you can use four words to do what would normally require multiple commands (or physical actions), why not take advantage?

With the added benefit of scheduling, you also no longer have to actuallytellAssistant to carry out a series of commands. Instead, if you navigate over to the “When …” tab in the “New routine” interface of the Assistant app, you’ll be able to set a time and day under the “Add commands” function. You’ll first choose the correct timing for a series of commands to be carried out, and then have the option of deciding which days it should repeat. Finally, you’ll be asked to “Choose which speaker will start it.” If you want to be notified when the series of actions begins, you can enable that option, too.

Scheduling is now rolling out by way of the Assistant app in both Android and iOS.

Google has also updated its Support page to provide even more instruction on how to use this new feature, so you’ll have plenty of additional instruction if you run into any roadblocks.

Google Home also gained support for location-based reminders in the last few months, something that in the past was exclusively a phone feature. But now, your smart speakers will be able to receive and interpret those commands as well. For example, if you need to buy eggs at the grocery store, just ask Assistant on the Google Home, and once you’re at the market, Assistant on your phone will send you a reminder.

All of these new features follow a slew of improvements and integrations that Assistant has been promising us since the beginning of the year, and we’re glad to see Google making good on their commitments.

Updated on July 27, 2018: Custom Routines for Google Assistant are rolling out now.

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