Tech

Get the Most out of Your Personal Voice Assistant

Voice assistant programs are a feature of most Smartphones, and they’re getting more sophisticated and user-friendly all the time. You may not even know all the ways your voice assistant can make your life easier. You can use it for hands-free calling, dictating notes or texts, search engine queries, setting calendar events, controlling other devices in your home, and more. Here’s how to get the most out of your personal voice assistant at home.

Enable Voice Assistant

Though most Smartphones come with a voice assistant, you’ll need to enable it in Settings or System Preferences. Turn it on and permit it to “listen” for your command.

Once you’ve enabled your voice assistant, remember that most will sleep until they hear the “wake-up” word or phrase that tells them to listen to you. So don’t forget to address your voice assistant correctly, whether you’re talking to Samsung’s Bixby, Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant (a nameless entity that only responds to “OK Google”).

Just Ask…

It might seem awkward at first, but you can treat your voice assistant much like an actual personal assistant. Ask it simple questions when you’re in the room together – it’s your own hands-free search engine. Here are some useful queries to get you started:

  • What’s the weather like today?
  • What are the showtimes for a movie?
  • Where was Prince born?

Or Tell

You can direct your voice assistant to send a text for you, take dictation on a grocery list, or call one of your contacts. That way, you can use your phone hands-free when you’re cooking, cleaning, or otherwise occupied around the house.

Of course, the most fun and intuitive way to use a voice assistant is to direct it to play music. Instruct it to look up a particular song or artist – or ask it to play a general kind of music and let your Smartphone be the DJ.

Smart Home Devices

If you’re using a smart home hub like Google Home or Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, you’ll need its accompanying voice assistant app to make the most of your system. First, connect your phone to your smart home hub and to any other smart devices (light bulbs, thermostats, cameras) in your home. Then, set your preferences to allow your smart home hub to “listen” to you when you speak out loud, just like you did on your Smartphone. Finally, make sure that all your devices are turned on and in range.

Once everything is set up, you can easily and intuitively control all your smart home appliances. For example, set the mood (and save some money) by programming your device to connect with your Wi-Fi light bulbs or smart thermostat. And if your device’s capabilities haven’t caught up to your imagination, don’t worry – it receives frequent software updates that enable new functionality. The voice-activated feature of your dreams could be coming soon to your living room.

Browse all voice-assistant-compatible Smartphones and connected home devices at US Cellular.