How to Get Even More out of Your Personal Voice Assistant

The personal voice assistant on your Smartphone or connected home device is a powerful tool with more features than you might think.  Whether you have an in-home device with Alexa or Google Assistant or are using your Smartphone’s built-in voice assistant to connect to other devices, you can customize and perfect your commands to get exactly what you want out of your tech.

If you’ve already set up your personal voice assistant and mastered the basics, read on to find out tips, tricks and lesser known uses for voice command.

Customize Device Commands

With a little training, your voice assistant can efficiently deliver you personalized information with a single command. For instance, when you program Google Home to “tell me about my day,” the device will tell you hear the traffic conditions (tailored to your commute, of course), local weather and any reminders you’ve set for yourself the moment you get up.

Amazon Echo and Echo Dot owners can create audio groups that will respond to a single command to play synchronized music in multiple rooms. And to get really creative, try IFTTT (If This Then That), a free service that connects all kinds of services and devices. For example, you could create a single voice command to turn off all your smart lights, lower your smart thermostat and lock your smart front door when it’s time to leave the house. IFTTT has apps available for iOS and Android that make setting up these connections easy and intuitive.

Place an Order

Amazon Echo and Echo Dot connect securely and seamlessly with Amazon, allowing you to place orders and track packages with minimal fuss. Running out of an ingredient in the kitchen? Use your personal voice assistant to ask for more right away, and your Echo will comply. Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant can also create shopping lists for you in multiple categories (such as food or home goods), which you can send to your phone or print out with a programmed trigger word. Google Home can also add ingredients or materials to a virtual shopping list.

Bonus: you can add a secure PIN to your purchases for re-ordering, so only authorized users can order things on your account.

Find Your Phone

Never lose your phone in the couch cushions again. Ask your home voice device to call your phone to help you locate it. It sure beats overturning your entire house before your morning commute.

Ditch the Remote

Forget switching between clunky remotes – or losing the remote altogether. Some home voice assistants allow you to control streaming services or your TV hands-free. If you have a streaming box like Chromecast, connect it to your home voice-enabled device and never pick up a remote control again.

Share Your Home

Nowadays, making guests feel welcome means keeping them connected. Some home voice devices offer a “guest mode,” which lets visitors connect without joining your Wi-Fi network. You can also open your device’s accompanying Smartphone app to add a guest as a new user. After that, they can control voice-enabled devices during their stay, and you can remove them from the app when they leave. Every device has a different process for granting guest access, so consult your app for details.

And if the feature you want doesn’t exist yet, be patient: voice-command accessories are constantly introducing new capabilities, and can be set to update automatically, so you’ll never miss out on the latest functionality. Browse all personal voice assistant devices at U.S. Cellular