Technology / 24 December 2019, 3:00pm / Staff Reporter
DURBAN - If you have an Android device, you might not be aware that it has all sorts of useful functions.
Among them is the Google Assistant, which can help make your festive season less stressful.
Here’s a list of 10 things it can do you didn’t know about:
1. Be available at the drop of a hat
Friends might need 20 minutes to get to you, but Google Assistant is at hand the minute you say “OK Google” or “Hey Google”.
2. Control your home even if you don’t have super-smart devices
Set Google Assistant to mimic your normal bedtime routine, and fool criminals into thinking you’re at home. By accessing the apps on your device, Google Assistant can set your alarm, control your lights, and switch on your Android TV.
3. Help you to run your home
Tell Google Assistant what time your machine will be done as you load the washing, and you’ll get an alert. Google Assistant is also a great solution when you’re elbows-deep in cooking but forgot to switch on the dishwasher. No more pushing of buttons with dough-laden fingers. Instead, give Google Assistant a voice command to message a family member to activate the dishwasher.
4. Compile a holiday playlist
To enjoy the sounds of the season, put together a playlist of your favourite artists. You can even get Google Assistant to add a few of your Mom’s favourites and score extra points at family get-togethers.
5. Compile a last-minute shopping list and shop for you
Who can keep track of all the small items you need for the holidays? Or remember to buy a last-minute gift for your niece's boyfriend? Google Assistant adds items to your shopping list with voice commands. It can also order them, and pay for them.
6. Keep track of the turkey in the oven - and figure out what to do with leftovers
Use voice commands to have the Google Assistant remind you when to take the turkey out of the oven. Or order takeaways when you're tired of cooking. Find recipes and other options for dealing with leftovers, or a list of nearby charities that accept food donations.
7. Warn you when your visitors are about to arrive
Let Google Assistant keep track of trips shared with you via Google Maps or other apps, and alert you before your visitors arrive. Meet them in style at the front door, rather than scrambling to find keys while they wait outside.
8. Get you home safely
Lost in a strange holiday town? Google Assistant can get you back to your Airbnb or all the way home with a voice command. And if you know you shouldn’t be driving, Assistant can set up your e-hail ride.
9. Find something to keep the kids busy
Ask Google Assistant about activities for children and you’ll be able to choose from a selection near you. Google Assistant can also book and pay for activities, and e-hail a car to get the teenagers to their movies.
10. Keep conversations going
Good conversations are important around the Christmas lunch table, so you need to prepare. Ask Google Assistant to tell you about news events or answer your questions about historic issues. It will also help end disagreements around the table by automatically searching. And at multi-cultural gatherings, Google Assistant will translate conversations into any of South Africa’s official languages, in real-time.