Despite the hundreds of fancy smart-home integrations, my Google Home devices almost exclusively get used for boring stuff. Converting units when cooking, checking the temperature outside, and setting alarms is 90 percent of what my smart assistant gets to do.
So I’m happy that as well as focusing on clever new AI features, Google is also making the simple stuff better. Today’s brilliant new feature: the ability to set music alarms using your favorite music service, because nothing gets me out of bed like the insatiable need to turn off Rick Astley.
To set an alarm with music, you just have to ask the Assistant to “set an alarm for 8AM that plays Rick Astley,” and your morning will start with a firm promise to neither give you up nor let you down. Just like the rest of Google’s music commands, it works with whatever music service you have set up as default, like Google Play Music or Spotify. It’s still a little tricky to get Google to play a specific song — I often end up making one-song playlists and telling Google to play that — but it’s better than the old system, which required you to download tracks offline.
The only flaw I can see is that you can still turn off alarms with your voice, which isn’t helpful if you’ll do anything to silence your alarms in the morning. I wish Google would add an option to keep playing alarms until you physically touch a button on the Google Home, so you actually have to get out of bed.
In addition to the update to music alarms, Google has also added the ability to look up TV schedules. You can ask things like “what channel is the Super Bowl on?” or “When is The Price Is Right next on,” although results are dependent on location and availability.