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Google Assistant routines: What are they and how to set them up?

Google Assistant can make your life easier, but you need to give it a little help.
By
December 15, 2021
Google Assistant stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Routines help make the most of Google Assistant, since they can automate multiple actions with a single command. Google offers six ready-made routines, which you can tweak to your liking. You can also create fully custom routines, triggered automatically or with specific phrases. Google Assistant routines work on phones, tablets, and smart speakers like the Nest Audio or Nest Hub.


Google Assistant ready-made routines

The six pre-built Assistant routines are turned on by default. Using Android, you can view and edit them by launching Assistant, tapping the menu icon in the bottom-left corner, tapping your profile image, scrolling down, and selecting Routines. iOS users can get to the same menu by downloading the Google Assistant app and tapping on their profile photo.

You’ll find a breakdown of all six routines below. You can alter these by picking new phrases, adding and disabling actions, or switching up their order. You might for example adjust phone volume, toggle smart home accessories, or even have a poem read to you.

Good morning routine

When you say, “Good morning,” or “Tell me about my day,” Assistant can:

  • Tell you about the weather.
  • Give you calendar details.
  • Mention any reminders you have.
  • Remind you if your phone battery is low.
  • Play the news.

Related: Here are the Google Assistant commands you need to know

Bedtime routine

When you say, “Bedtime,” or “Good night,” Assistant can:

  • Ask what time the alarm should be set for.
  • Tell you if your phone battery is running low.
  • Play sleep sounds.

You may want to add actions like lowering the volume, getting weather details for the next day, and turning off Google-compatible lights.

Pictured is the gray Google Nest Audio on a bookshelf with the lights blinking.
Adam Molina / Android Authority

Leaving home routine

When you say, “I’m leaving,” or “I’m heading out,” Assistant can:

  • Adjust lights, plugs, thermostats, and other smart devices, including door locks and security systems.

I’m home routine

When you say, “I’m home,” or “I’m back,” Assistant can:

  • Adjust lights, plugs, the thermostat, and other smart devices.
  • Broadcast that you’re home through a Google-compatible speaker.
  • Tell you about home-based reminders.
  • Adjust media volume.
  • Play music, news, radio, a podcast, or an audiobook.
Google Assistant logo.
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Commuting to work routine

When you say, “Let’s go to work,” Assistant can:

  • Tell you about your commute (such as traffic congestion).
  • Get weather details.
  • Tell you about today’s calendar.
  • Mention any reminders.
  • Adjust lights, plugs, the thermostat, and other smart devices.
  • Adjust media volume.
  • Play music, news, radio, a podcast, or an audiobook.

Read next: How to choose your new Google Assistant voice

Commuting back home routine

When you say, “Let’s go home,” Assistant can:

  • Tell you about your commute.
  • Send a text.
  • Read unread texts.
  • Broadcast that you’re on your way home through a Google speaker.
  • Adjust lights, plugs, thermostats, and other smart devices.
  • Adjust media volume.
  • Play music, news, radio, a podcast, or an audiobook.

Google Assistant custom routines

Google Nest Audio smart speaker bathroom
Lily Katz / Android Authority

If Google’s default routines aren’t your thing, or don’t cover specific scenarios, you can make your own. That means picking actions you want to trigger, as well as a phrase you want to use in voice commands. If you have a home gym for example, “Start my workout” might turn on your garage lights and fan, set Do Not Disturb, then shuffle a Spotify workout playlist from your speaker. Sometimes a custom routine can deliver functionality similar to Google’s, but minimize the amount of tweaking involved, like this “Rise and shine” scenario:

Making a Google Assistant Routine

Here’s how you can set up this example in Android: launch Assistant, tap on your profile image at the top right corner, scroll down, and select Routines. From there, tap the New (plus icon) button up top, which will bring up a page for you to configure the routine. Begin by selecting the Add starter option and typing in “Rise and shine.” Then tap Add action and type in all three actions:

  • Show calendar events
  • What’s the weather
  • Visit www.androidauthority.com

The possibilities for your own routines are endless, since they’re limited only by the devices and services you have and whether you use valid terms in your trigger phrases. You don’t even have to go through the Assistant app. If you have the Google Home app, you can find the Routines menu there and tap on the plus icon to get going.

That’s all there is to it! Once you say a key phrase, Assistant triggers your actions one-by-one. Be warned that depending on the phrase you choose, Android could show you top search results before launching a routine. This happened to me during testing, though only for the first few tries. After that, Assistant skipped search results and went straight to the first action.

Next: Here’s how to fix Google Assistant

If you’re going to try out routines, it’s probably a good idea to check out our Google Assistant guide, which explains many of the actions available to you.