Voice control your phone with Google Assistant

Last week, I showed you how to use Google Assistant to take a screenshot. Today, I’ll get into more of the neat stuff it can do on our Android Phone.

Google Assistant gives you some amazing control over your phone. Just speak and it will respond. Let’s turn the voice control on.

Open the Google App on your phone.


Tap the three-line menu button at the top left.


Choose Settings.


Then Voice.


Tap OK Google detection.


You can turn it on to recognize you saying “Okay, Google” at any time or only for Google Maps while you’re driving.


You’ll also have to train the phone to better understand what you’re saying.


You’ll say “Okay, Google” three times to help train the software.


After that, all you need to say is “Okay, Google” to your unlocked phone and then ask a question.


You’ll immediately get a response.


You could also set an appointment by just saying, “Okay, Google, set an appointment” and then speak the details.


Or try, “Okay Google, send an email.”  You’ll just need to say which contact you want to send it to and dictate the message.


Say, “Okay Google, call Mom or Joe or Work” and it will dial the call for you.

Your assistant can also open up apps. Just say “Okay, Google, open Facebook.”

Try saying, “Okay Google, open camera.” Then just say shoot to take a picture. You can say “shoot” any time the camera is open to take a photograph.

Say “Okay, Google, play music” and the Music app will open.

Say “Turn on my flashlight” and let there be light from your phone.

The possibilities are kind of endless. Below is a list of voice commands. It’s certainly not complete. They’re coming up with new stuff for Google to do every single day.

Set an alarm: “Set an alarm for 7 AM” or “Set an alarm for every Friday morning at 7 AM.”

Set a reminder: “Remind me to call John at 6 PM” or “Remind me to buy Belgian chocolate at Ghirardelli Square.”

See SMS (text) messages: “Show me my messages from Brian about dinner.”

Create a Google Calendar event: “Create a calendar event for dinner in San Francisco, Saturday at 7 PM.”

See your upcoming bills: “My bills” or “My Comcast bills 2013.”

Check your schedule: “What’s my day look like tomorrow?” or “When’s my next meeting?”

Call a friend: “Call Lindsay Hampson” or “Call Mom.”

Text a friend: “Text Jason that I’m running 5 minutes late.”

Send a Hangouts chat message: “Send a Hangouts message to Bob” or “Start a Hangouts chat.”

Start a Hangouts video call: “Start a video call” or “Video call Jane using Hangouts.”

Send an email: “Send an email to Kristin, subject new shoes, message, I can’t wait to show you my new shoes, full stop.”

Check your voicemail: “Listen to voicemail.”

Post to a social network: “Post to Google+ that I’m going to be in Seattle for the weekend.”

Play music: “Play Macklemore” or “Play Can’t Hold Us.”

Identify a song: “What’s this song?”

Find new music: “What songs do Mumford and Sons sing?”

Play a radio station from Google Play: “Play some music.”

Watch a movie from Google Play: “Watch Frozen.”

Learn about a TV show you’re watching: “What’s on TV?”

Read a book from Google Play: “Read Ender’s Game.”

Find a movie: “What movies are playing tonight?” or “Where’s Hunger Games playing?”

Search for images: “Show me pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Take a photo or video: “Take a picture” or “Record a video.”

Change your account settings: “Open Google account settings.”


See your search history: “Show my Google search history.”


Change your privacy settings: “Adjust my Google privacy settings.”


Change your security settings: “Adjust my Google security settings.”


Get directions: “Navigate to Safeway” or “Directions to 1299 Colusa Avenue Berkeley California.”

Find nearby places: “Where’s the closest coffee shop?”

Plan your trip: “What are some attractions in New York City?”

Look up travel plans: “Show me my flights” or “Where’s my hotel?”

Book a table: “Book a table for 2 at Cascal on Wednesday night.”

Find the time: “What time is it in London?”

Check the weather: “Do I need a jacket today?” or “What’s the weather like tomorrow morning?”

Answer trivia questions: “Where was Albert Einstein born?” or “How old is Beyonce?”

Get stock prices: “What’s the Google stock price?” (Disclaimer about financial data)

Calculate the tip: “What’s the tip for 42 dollars?”

Translate words or phrases: “How do you say cucumber in Spanish?”

Define a word: “What does gluttony mean?”

Convert between units: “What’s 16 ounces in pounds?”

Solve a math problem: “What’s the square root of 2209?”

Track a package from your Gmail order confirmation: “Where’s my package?”

Search within apps on your device: “Search for thai food on Yelp.”

Wi-Fi: “Turn on Wi-Fi” or “Turn off Wi-Fi.”

Bluetooth: “Turn on Bluetooth” or “Turn off Bluetooth.”

Flashlight: “Turn on my flashlight” or “Turn my flashlight off.”

You can also use OK Google with many, but not all apps. Below is a list from Google of apps that work in conjunction with google voice.


  • Flixster: “Show me Inception on Flixster.”
  • Instacart: “Show instacart availability.”
  • Lincoln: “Start my Lincoln MKZ.”
  • NPR One: “Listen to NPR.”
  • NextPlus: “Send a message with NextPlus.”
  • Realtor.com: “Show rentals near me on Realtor.”
  • Shazam: “Shazam this song.”
  • Telegram: “Send a Telegram message to Mom.”
  • Threema: “Send a Threema message to Kate.”
  • TripAdvisor: “Show attractions near me on TripAdvisor.”
  • Trulia: “Show homes for sale in Boston on Trulia.”
  • TuneIn Radio: “Open TuneIn in car mode.”
  • Walmart: “Scan my receipt on Walmart.”
  • WhatsApp: “Send a WhatsApp to Joe.”
  • Wink: “Activate home mode on Wink.”
  • Viber” “Send a message with Viber.”
  • Zillow: “Show me open houses nearby on Zillow.

2 thoughts on “Voice control your phone with Google Assistant

  1. “Play Music” no longer works unless you are subscribed to a service. If you purchase and download songs through Google Play, you will have to initiate them manually. This was reported as a bug, but it seems Google has actually disabled this functionality deliberately. Very strange move.

    1. Rick: I just tried it on my phone and it was able to play the songs I have on the phone. I didn’t purchase any of them from Google.

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