You can do all this with Google Assistant

Google Assistant, Google's voice assistant, can be used on any Android device, and is also available for iPhone and iPad. Since the summer of 2018, the assistant finally speaks Dutch and that speaks so easily. Compared to the English-speaking colleague, the Dutch-speaking assistant has fewer options, but this shortfall is quickly made up. We'll show you the best options for voice control so far.

Tip 01: Google Assistant

What can Google Assistant do in the Dutch language? And how should you ask something to avoid confusion of tongues? Google will help you with this by listing example assignments, divided into various sections. The overview is not complete, but it is a nice starting point and it also provides enough inspiration to get more out of the assistant. New features are regularly added to Google Assistant. You don't have to install any updates yourself: it works almost entirely via external servers where the novelties are also released. All you need is a working internet connection to use the assistant.

Tip 02: Okay Google, can you hear me?

Google Assistant is available for almost all smartphones with Android Marshmallow (6.0) or higher and as a separate app for iPhone and iPad. You can see whether the assistant is active on your Android device in the Google app: go via More to the menu Institutions. Under the heading Google Assistant, tap Institutions. click on Telephone and you will see if the assistant is enabled. The assistant is always there for you. Pronouncing ok google should be enough, but it currently only works if your phone is set to English. Google will try to fix this soon. You can also call up Google Assistant by holding down the home button or by pressing the microphone in the Google app.

Google Assistant in Dutch

Google Assistant has been available in English since 2016 and since the summer of 2018, the assistant can also speak other languages, including Dutch. Not only is that a lot more convenient than having to ask or command everything in English, but it can even be indispensable if you want to dictate messages, for example. Although there are still a few things missing, including many connections with devices (such as Philips Hue) and routines that allow you to perform multiple commands with one command. However, the possibilities are growing rapidly and the helper is popping up in more and more places. In addition to smartphones, these are on smartwatches, televisions with Android TV, in cars and soon also on the Google Home smart speaker. The latter now only speaks English, but would receive an update to the Dutch language before Christmas.

Tip 03: Good morning

Start the day with tell me about my day or simply good morning and Google tells you what's happening today, such as the weather, traffic on your way to work, important appointments in your calendar and reminders. If you need to, you can end the overview with the latest news, for example from the NOS (see tip 4). Ideal for when you wake up: you get all the important facts on a silver platter. Everything Google tells you is up to you. To do this, open the Google Assistant settings again and now go under Services nasty My day.

Tip 04: The latest news

With one command you can hear the spoken news from various Dutch news sources. Say listen to the news and you will see the selected news sources on your screen, with the first source being played immediately. You can manually select another source or already name another source in your assignment (such as listen to the latest news from NOS). Optionally, you can preset from which sources you want to hear news and in which order, via the settings for My day. It's so easy that the NOS works together with the assistant, so it is enough to talk to NOS to say.

Tip 05: Times and alarms

You could of course look up the time in other countries via the clock, but it is much faster by asking the assistant, for example: what time is it in auckland If you don't feel like calculating the time difference yourself, ask for time difference Amsterdam and Auckland. You can also easily set alarm clocks. Say wake me up in 20 minutes for a power nap. Or: wake me up at 8 in the morning to set an alarm for the next morning. Or: wake me up at 8 o'clock every morning for a daily alarm. Also useful when you are wondering whether you can quickly go to a certain store: what time does the GAMMA close? or opening hours supermarket.

Tip 06: Handy timers

To quickly set a timer, say count down 5 minutes. Also useful when cooking. If desired, you can add a label, for example with 25 minute timer for potatoes. You can of course add multiple timers with such a label and at any time with view timers ask how things are going. Of stop timerpotatoes do you pause the timer in question, or use remove timer potatoes to remove it completely. To open the companion app, say open timers.

Tip 07: Dates and appointments

When it comes to tricky questions about dates, for example: when was 500 days ago? or when is king's day Google Assistant is unbeatable. You will receive the answer in no time. Adding things you don't want to forget is also a snap: reminder to take out the trash can at 8 o'clock on Friday, or: make an appointment for Friday 2 pm hairdresser. It is still in the future, but in the long run, with Google Duplex, the assistant can make an appointment at the hairdresser for you almost autonomously by dialing the number yourself and starting an animated conversation.

Tip 08: Send messages

Calling contacts, sending text messages, but also sending WhatsApp messages is no problem at all. For example, say send a WhatsApp message to Hester. You can then leave a message. The text recognition turns out to be very powerful and the mistakes that are there are often corrected automatically. It seems like you can only record one sentence, but just by point, exclamation mark or question mark pronouncing it you can start a new sentence. Even dot dot dot is displayed correctly. As soon as you drop a short pause, the assistant will ask if you want to send or edit the message, although this process still has some bugs.

Tip 09: (Public) transport

The assistant can also help you with directions by car or public transport, such as route to Maastricht or train from Rotterdam to Amsterdam. You can also get information about departing flights such as is flight AF 1641 on time? There is a nice integration with Flash detector, so you can ask for example: Ask Flash detector if there are speed cameras on the A9. Not only can you request information about flights or destinations from Google, you can also request their prices. This way you get a nice overview of possible flights, including costs and flight time if you ask for flights to London from December 12 to December 15.

Tip 10: A handy calculation tool

With Google Assistant you actually no longer need a separate calculator, most calculations can simply be performed for you. For example what is 13 percent of 50? or what is the square root of 18? You can also quickly convert currency, just ask for: how many euros is 2 dollars?, or units, as in how many liters is 2 decilitres? or how many kilometers is 6 miles?

Tip 11: Translate quickly

Google Assistant is an excellent translation aid. For example, ask how do i get to the beach in spanish and the sentence will be translated directly for you. And not only that, the translation is also pronounced. The assistant can also help you with difficult concepts, such as what does conscientious mean? A big advantage is that you don't have to pronounce it exactly right, the assistant is very forgiving on that point.

Tip 12: Google Translate

If you need more than one-line translation jobs, you can try Google Translate, because it also works with your voice. Launch it from Google Assistant by saying translate. In Google Translate you can enter text manually, take a photo of a text with the camera or by speaking it. This recording can even take the form of a conversation in which the microphone is continuously listened to. For example, if you speak English and Dutch, the text is automatically recognized as English or Dutch and translated and pronounced into the other language. So it is a real interpreter.

Tip 13: What song is this?

Forget apps like Shazam or SoundHound. Google Assistant can also recognize music tracks that are played in the room. just ask what number is this? and after a few seconds of listening the answer follows. Even the lesser known songs are usually recognized flawlessly. In addition to the artist and album on which you can find the song, you also immediately receive links to YouTube and Google Play Music and for some songs even a reference to the lyrics appears.

Tip 14: Videos

Not only does Google Assistant know a lot about music, she is also familiar with film knowledge. For example, ask how many seasons does The 100 have? or how long does deadpool 2 last? But it doesn't stop at asking for information, you can also easily let the assistant play a certain style of music, specific song or movie. If you want to play a movie without putting in too much effort, just say: play the100 on Netflix. First link your Netflix account via the settings to Google Assistant (in the section Videos and photos). If you also check the Google Photos box in that menu, you can view photos on TV. What's even more super convenient is using a Chromecast to play all kinds of content on the TV. Do you want to watch Netflix on the TV? The construction for this is sometimes difficult to find, but successful is for example: play the 100 on Netflix on my TV.

Tip 15: Lights off, spotlight on!

Control your (Philips Hue) lamps via voice? The Dutch Google Assistant is not ready for that yet, but hopefully not for long. There is a back door, in the form of IFTTT (If This Than That), with which you can automate many things. First, link the two accounts together: go here and create an account with IFTTT if necessary. Log in and choose Connect. Then log in with your Hue account and allow access by IFTTT. If you don't have a Hue account yet, create one that also immediately links the account to your bridge. You can now get started with IFTTT recipes (see tip 16)!

Tip 16: Control lamps

If you have created an account with IFTTT (see tip 15), you can control your Hue lamps via so-called applets. Open the IFTTT app on your smartphone and search for toggle hue. Choose the applet called Toggle Hue with Google Assistant and turn it on. Now IFTTT asks for access to your Google account so that it can manage your Google voice commands. Give that permission. Configure the applet and fill in which commands you want to use, for example switch bedroomlights. Also indicate what response Google Assistant should give to it (such as switching bedroom lights). The original command toggle we find it inconvenient, because it is often as double or google is recognized. Finally, at the bottom, select the Hue lamp that you want to control. There are many more fun applets that you can use, such as turning off all lights with one command (when you go to bed) or switching to a certain scene.

Tip 17: Home automation

If you have a taste for it and would prefer to automate everything in your home, you can use software packages such as Domoticz, OpenHAB and Home Assistant. Left or right, they all work together with Google Assistant, so you can, for example, control the temperature or dim lights with voice commands. At Domoticz you can keep it relatively simple by adding so-called webhooks (external URLs) to IFTTT, although this is quite limited. For more flexibility, consider Controlicz, a handy service that acts like a gateway between your Domoticz devices and Google Assistant (or Google Home or Alexa).

Tip 18: Google Lens

Another handy feature from Google is Google Lens. You can seamlessly switch to Lens from Google Assistant. The camera icon can be found at the bottom, next to the microphone for giving a new command. Helped by artificial intelligence, Google Lens can recognize texts and objects via the camera, among other things. Point your camera at a painting and you will immediately read the name of the painting and the artist. Point it at an animal — or a photo of it — and you'll see what species it is. Incidentally, this also works for traffic signs or restaurants.

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