Smart speakers and voice assistants are perhaps most useful for controlling your smart home, but in that case, it’s all about instant actions. Now, Google Assistant is adding the ability to schedule commands, certainly a handy trick!

Google Assistant is currently rolling out the ability to control and adjust smart home hardware based on a schedule. For example, you can ask Assistant to turn on a lamp with a Philips Hue light bulb at a specific time or ask the action to be performed a certain period of time from now. On top of that, you can also ask for an action to only occur for a certain length of time. “Hey Google, turn on the lights for 5 minutes” would immediately turn on the lights, but shut them off a few minutes later without the need for another command.

This feature was first announced at CES in January 2020.

This feature appears to be live right now, but could still be on the end of its rollout to users. In any case, on my Nest Hub, I was able to ask Assistant to schedule a light to turn on at a specific time and on a timer. I didn’t try scheduling these actions out for a different day, but Android Police says that works just fine. Google says on a support page that users can schedule Assistant actions out by “several” days, but that part seems a bit fickle.

Users can schedule the command to be triggered by specifying a time or duration. For example:

  • “Hey Google, turn on the lights in five minutes.”
  • “Hey Google, turn on the lights at 7 AM.”

Commands can be scheduled for the current day or another day within the next seven day period. For example, users can say:

  • “Hey Google, turn on my coffee maker at 8 AM tomorrow.”
  • “Hey Google, run my sprinkler in a week at 5 PM.”

This may seem like a basic feature, but it’s one Assistant has lacked for a long time. It’s also something Amazon Alexa technically lacks, though a similar function has worked with the company’s routines.

Notably, this feature is limited specifically to smart home devices. You can’t schedule actions like playing music or using routines. The feature does work, though, on both Assistant speakers/displays and smartphones. Google also notes on its support page that you can cancel scheduled actions as a group or on a per-device basis.

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