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.
Why? Because you can build new morning and bedtime routines with alarm, music and smart home control features with no nasty, distracting screens needed. Here's how to turn your Google Home into the ultimate bedside companion.
How to set a Google Assistant alarm
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 10am named medicine". You can also then say "Hey Google, cancel my alarm for 8.30" if you change your mind.
Read this: How to create the perfect night time routine
To set up regular alarms, say "Hey Google, set an alarm for 7.30am every day" or similar and Assistant will repeat back to you the recurring alarm. 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?" - again, no screen needed - and you can also say "Hey Google, snooze alarm" which snoozes it for ten 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 Home 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.
How to set a music/radio alarm with Google Assistant
Music alarms are a fairly new feature to Assistant on Google Home and it's only live in the US so far.
You can't yet set it as default - which is a pain - but 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 "Hey Google, set an alarm for 6am that plays KEXP [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 to. 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 play bedtime sounds and use the sleep timer
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 night time routine with Google Home
Google Home Routines are now live - in the US only though so far. If that's where you are, you've got six starter routines - multi action, multi device set ups 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.
For night time, you could have Assistant set an alarm for the following morning, turn Cast enabled or Bluetooth speakers and TV's 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?