It might not be the first place you think to put it, but the bedside table is a great place for a Google Home or Google Assistant-powered smart speaker or display.
Why? Because a Google Home alarm clock is far smarter than your current incumbent. It can build new morning and nighttime routines by setting a Google alarm that plays music, the radio or kicks in your other smart home gadgets - leaving the nasty, distracting phone out of your hands.
Google Assistant devices with displays, including non-Google specific ones such as the Lenovo Smart Clock, of course, also feature dedicated clock displays with a range of digital clock faces to choose from.
Here's your guide to using your Google Home and Assistant to set new alarms.
How to set an alarm on Google Home
This is super straightforward, but there's a number of ways you can use the alarm function - set it day by day for peace of mind or set up a regular alarm for work or schooldays.
Say, "Hey Google, set an alarm for 8.30 tomorrow morning" for a one time alarm and the Assistant will confirm the time with you. You can name alarms e.g. "Hey Google, set an alarm for 11am, named take your pills". If you have a Google Home device with a display, you can also get a visual on what alarms are set by saying, "Hey Google, show me my alarms."
You can say, "Hey Google, cancel my alarm for 8.30" or "Hey Google, cancel all my alarms"if you change your mind.
To set up regular alarms, say, "Hey Google, set an alarm for 7.30am every day" or similar, and the Assistant will repeat back to you the recurring alarm. Again, to check what you have coming up, say "Hey Google, what alarms are set?"
If you're groggy in the morning you can ask, "Hey Google, what time is it?" and you can also say "Hey Google, snooze alarm" which pauses it for 10 minutes or, "Hey Google, snooze alarm for seven minutes" to specify the time.
The alarm sounds for ten minutes if you don't do anything - to stop it say, "Hey Google, stop" or tap the top of the Google Home, the side of the Mini or the line on the top/right side of the Home Max. Right now you can't change the beeping tone - get on this please, Google.
Google has also added interactive alarms for kids, giving users the ability to set up an alarm using messages from characters from Lego and Nickelodeon, instead of Assistant. These alarms will have music, jokes, facts, words of encouragement and other messages from characters in the shows.
For example, you can have one of the characters from Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles help remind the kids itâs time to finish playing and get in the bath. Just say, âHey Google, set a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle alarm for 8pm.â
How to set a music or radio alarm with Google Assistant
If you want to wake up to a specific song or radio station, it's simply a case of adding one more word to the command. So, you can instruct your speaker, "Hey Google, play a music/media/radio alarm at 8.30am tomorrow" and the Assistant will ask you what you want it to play - or, alternatively, "Hey Google, set an alarm for 6am that plays [radio station name]".
It works with songs, playlists and radio stations. As with the beeping alarm, it will only play on the speaker you've set it on. The music will be taken from the default streaming service you've set up on your Google Home account, and if you're not connected to Wi-Fi, the regular alarm tone will sound.
How to use the Google sleep timer and play bedtime sounds
Another simple one - you can ask Google Assistant to play ambient sounds or music and you can also set a sleep timer so it stops playing after a certain amount of time. Try, "Hey Google, play ambient sounds/noise," or, "Hey Google, play Bon Iver for 20 minutes."
You can also just say, "Hey Google, help me relax," or if you already have a playlist, podcast or audiobook going, you can say, "Hey Google, stop in fifteen minutes," and, "Hey Google, turn loop on" to loop the track till finish. And there's always, "Hey Google, tell me a story," or, "Hey Google, sing me a lullaby" for maximum chill. Easy.
How to create a morning or nighttime routine with Google Home
Google Home Routines include preset routines - multi-action, multi-device setups that require only one voice command - and two of those are, "Hey Google, good morning" and, "Hey Google, it's bedtime".
If you've set up Voice Match, you can set up customised Routines for individual users. For the morning routine you could, for instance, have Assistant turn your Android phone off silent, play music/radio/news, tell you the weather and today's commute and adjust smart home devices like lights and thermostat to pre-set settings. This is, of course, much friendlier to tweak from your bedside table if you've got a Google Smart Display, featuring the new Home View control.
For night time, you could have Assistant set an alarm for the following morning, turn Cast-enabled or Bluetooth speakers and TVs volume down, adjust the lights and temperature to your personalised settings for bedtime, tell you tomorrow's weather, and play sleep sounds or music on a timer, as above. Pretty cool, right?
How to set Gentle Sleep and Wake with Philips Hue
A newer feature to the Google Assistant lets you bring your Philips Hue lights into your evening bedtime and morning wake-up routines, brightening or dimming the bulbs to ease you in and out of slumber. The Gentle Sleep and Wake process will take place over 30 minutes to imitate sunrise and sunset.
To get it working, you'll need to first get your Hue lights talking to the Google Assistant (read our guide on connecting Philips Hue to Google Home for more). Then, to start the process for an entire room, say, "Ok Google, sleep my lightsâ or âHey Google, wake my lightsâwhen you're in the same room as the lights. If you're in a different room, you'll need to specify âSleep the lights in [room name]â. You can also do it for a single light by simply saying âSleep [light name]â.
And to sync it to your Google Home alarm, just say âTurn on Gentle Wake Upâ if you're in the same room, or âTurn on Gentle Wake Up in [room name]â if you're elsewhere in the house. You only need to do this once, after which it will be sync'd with your alarm.
More Google Assistant how-to guides
- How to translate languages with Google Home Interpreter mode
- How to change the Google Assistant voice
- How to set up Google Home parental controls
- How to set up Voice Match with music and movie services on Google Home
- How to control Sonos with Google Assistant
- How to make voice calls on Google Home smart speakers
- How to add and control lights and devices with Google Assistant
- How to set up guest mode for Google Home smart speakers
- How to pair your Google Home with better sounding Bluetooth speakers