Google Home: How to set up your smart speaker

Smart speakers let you control your house, its systems and your gadgets using your voice. Discover how to set up the Google Home Hub.

Smart speakers, such the Google Home range, are incredibly clever devices that connect to the internet and let you control your home using your voice.

If you’ve got a Google Home smart speaker this Christmas, we’ll show you how to get started. We’re using the Google Home Hub which has a 7-inch screen, but the process is similar to other devices in Google’s range.

[Read more: Which Google Home should I buy?]

What’s in the box?

In the box you’ll get the Google Home Hub and a power supply – the Home Hub needs to be connected to the mains and doesn’t run off batteries. There’s a ‘Let’s get started’ leaflet to help.

Google Home Hub box contents

What ports does the Google Home Hub have?

On the back of the Google Home Hub there’s just one port - for connecting it to a power supply.

What do the Google Home’s buttons do?

There are just two buttons on the Google Home Hub. On the top at the back there’s a Mute switch for turning off Google Assistant and on the side you’ll find the volume control.

On the front at the top there’s an ambient light sensor that adjusts the screen brightness to suit the lighting in the room.

How to do I set up Google Home Hub?

Step 1: Plug it in

Using the supplied plug, plug it into a power socket.  The screen will light up and message will appear saying "Get the app: Download and open the Google Home app on your phone to begin setup".

Step 2: Get the Google Home app

If you’ve got an Android phone download the Home app here.

If you’ve got an Apple phone or tablet download the Home app here.

Once you’ve installed the app, follow the directions.

Step: 3: Set up Google Home

Launch the app and click Add, then Set up -  Set up new devices in your home and ensure Home is selected.

The app will scan for Google devices and will detect your Home Hub.  Wait for the app to connect to the device, which will take a few seconds. A code will appear on the screen of the Hub, which should match one on the app.

You’ll see a request from Google to 'Help improve Google Hub' by sending it anonymous data about the way it works for future improvements. It’s up to you whether you opt in or opt out.

Next you’ll need to select the room it’s in. If you haven’t got any rooms tap ‘Create new room.’ 

Choose the wi-fi network you want the Hub to join, it should be the same one your phone is connected too. The set-up will finish, which may take a few minutes,.

You’ll be asked to set your preferences using the app. This includes

  • Voice Match - to link your voice to the display.
  • Your address - so you can get things like weather information.
  • Adding music services - you can link your Spotify account.
  • Set up Duo audio calling - this lets you make video calls using the Google Duo app.
  • Choose an Ambient mode: This is what you want on the screen when it’s not being used, including Google Photos, Art gallery or a clock.

How to use the Google Home app

There are four tabs along the bottom: Home, Discover, Browse and Account.

Google Home app

1: Home

This is where you can control devices connected to your Hub, including Google Chromecast, thermostats and speakers.  

At the top are what Google calls 'Quick Actions', where you can quickly turn your devices on and off.

  • Play: Play music to speakers around your home.
  • Broadcast: Send a voice message to speakers compatible with Google Assistant, including other Home Hub devices.
  • Routines: Here you can set up Google Home, so you say one command and it will do multiple things. For instance ‘Hey Google, good morning’ could tell you about the weather, commute, your meetings and then play music,
  • Add: For adding new devices including speakers and thermostats and music and video services.

2: Discover

Here you’ll see what’s playing on your devices, such as music, movies and TV programmes. There are a series of cards with tips and tricks you can close.

3: Browse

Use this to discover music, films and TV shows. You’ll see suggested TV shows and films and a list of popular apps.

 4: Account

This is where you’ll find all your account settings, so you can do things like set up or add devices, create speaker groups, see your activity and any offers. General settings includes your personal information, such as address, how you get around and contacts.You can also set preferences for Google Assistant, including the language, voice and manage home devices.

Google Home Hub

How to use the Google Home Hub

Once it's set up you can start using it. Start with 'OK Google' or 'Hey Google'. Commands can include:

'OK Google, what's the weather going to be like today?'

'OK Google, play The Beach Boys on Spotify'

'OK Google, set a time for 10 minutes'  

Check out the video below to see it in action.

Google Home will also work with other apps using 'skills'. Find out more about skills and how to set them up

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