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Google Assistant Now Has a Built-In Santa Tracker
It’s that time of year. Holiday music, sweet treats, classic movies — all the reasons to cozy up and spend time at home with the ones you love. And with Google Nest/Home, there are countless ways to spread the holiday cheer.
Not only can you play Christmas music and control your smart home-enabled holiday decorations with Google Nest/Home speakers, you can also ask for a report on Santa’s GPS coordinates, play virtual dreidel for Hanukkah and learn about all the various winter holidays just by asking. You can even read along with select children’s titles, like Frozen II or record a holiday story in your own voice for family and friends to listen later.
Have your kids talk to Santa
- Hey Google, call Santa
Keep track of Santa
Whether he’s preparing his sleigh or already in flight, your Assistant keeps you informed of Santa’s latest whereabouts (tracked by Google Maps). Just say “Hey Google, where’s Santa right now?” or “Where’s Santa?” and the assistant will let you know what he’s up to right now. Obviously, the real fun will kick off on Christmas Eve, but for now the assistant will still let you know how Santa’s preparing for his rounds. You can also entertain yourself in the meantime by asking it for holiday-themed jokes or ask these questions
- Is Santa real?
- Tell me a Santa Joke.
- Tell me a Christmas Fact
- What’s happening at the North Pole.
- Play Christmas Music or Play Toddler Christmas music
- Let’s play Christmas Mad Libs
- Do you wanna build a snowman?
- Happy Holidays!
- Talk to Santa’s Hotline
- Merry Christmas
- What did a reindeer sound like?
- Ask UVersion to read Luke 2
- Watch The Grinch from Netflix on Chromecast
Other things to try:
- Where does Santa live? or Where’s Santa?
- Talk to Christmas Adventures
- How many else’s does Santa have?
- Play freeze dance winter edition
Google Assistant now has a built-in virtual dreidel
For those who celebrate Hanukkah, you can spin a dreidel. It will randomly pick one of a dreidel’s four sides each time you ask it to spin one. The assistant will tell you what side you got (Nun, Gimel, Hey, or Shin), as well as what that means for the game, just in case you’re rusty on the rules. Or, if you’d like a playlist of Hanukkah-themed music, just say, Hey Google, play some Hanukkah music.
It’s super useful during the holidays, like when your kids want to talk to Santa.
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Enjoy new year with holiday tricks from Google Home
How many of you noticed these red and green lights when you ask google to play Christmas music? Kinda cool!
Every tree deserves its own spotlight
Hey Google, turn on my Christmas tree
Tired of searching under your tree for the Christmas lights and wall plug? Seeing as one of the main functions of a smart speaker is controlling your smart home, you can upgrade your Christmas decorations this year by making them smart. All you need is a few Google Nest/Home-compatible smart plugs and your typical strand lights. With Google Nest Audio, Mini, Nest Hub, Hub Max and a compatible smart plug, you can turn on your Christmas tree lights with just your voice! Turn on and off the holiday mood with a voice command and feel all powerful.
If you consider smart plugs useless, then this might give you a reason to buy one. A Christmas tree, one you can turn on and off without kneeling, ruffling half the tree, and dropping several decorations in order to unplug and replug the lights? Is that a light bulb 💡 moment.
Get a smart WiFi plug like the WeMo Mini ($35), TP-Link Smart Plug ($30) or Mini ($35), iDevices switch ($30), iHome Smart Plug ($28), or the Geeni Surge 4-outlet ($40) if you have several lights. You plug your lights in it first then plug it in, name it to “Christmas Tree” in its app, and then add it under Home Control to your Google Home. Now you can say turn on/off Christmas tree.
Tip: Set it up to automatically turn on a few minutes before you arrive and off a few minutes after you left. That way, the ambiance is always cheerful when you’re around.
Hey Google, Turn on my Fireplace!
Have a fireplace that can be controlled remotely?
Use your voice to turn it on with a little Raspberry Pi magic and Google Home. To control the fireplace remotely the same way, you’ll need
- Raspberry Pi,
- A Global Cache relay controller
- Google Nest/Home speaker
- IFTTT to help with voice commands
- Fireplace that can be controlled remotely.
You’ll have to do a little wiring for the switch and, since you are dealing with fire, you should probably know what you’re doing. Be sure to thoroughly check your fireplace’s instructions and schematics before building this yourself. Hovee’s instructions are a good place to start looking.
Delivering those little surprises. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.
Cherish the holidays by giving and sharing. ‘Tis the season to be jolly! Happy Holidays!