Over the next few months, Google Home is getting a full makeover, complete with new tools, functions, and more. One of these new tools is device triggers for routines. Here’s how they work.

In previous versions of the Google Home app, routines ran on a small list of starters. Those included time-based initiation – such as the sunrise/sunset or a certain hour – or asking the Assistant to start a routine with a specific phrase. While those were generally good starters, it can prove to be a little limiting.

Device triggers, on the other hand, make way for Google Home users to create complex routines that start up when certain devices do something. For instance, you can set your entryway lights to turn on when your Nest Doorbell rings between the hours of 7 am and 10 pm on weekdays. In another example, you can set your living room lights to turn on when you pause your Chromecast, giving your home a theater effect.

There are countless new ways to create routines now, with each device triggering a little differently. This makes it a little easier to automate your home without you having to tell Google Assistant to do so.

How to create Google Home routines using device triggers

Before setting new device-triggered routines, ensure you have the latest version of Google Home installed on your device. You’ll also want to get an idea of what you want your route to do. Do you want your lights to turn on when a sensor sees motion? Do you want your thermostat to up the temperature when you lock your front door?

The options are practically limitless and depending on how many smart home devices you have, you could automate just about everything that goes on.

Possible devices that can trigger a routine What that device can do
Door lock Trigger action when it locks
Doorbell Trigger action when it rings
Motion sensor Trigger action when it detects movement
Smart plug Trigger action when it turns on/off
Smart light Trigger action when it turns on/off
Chromecast Trigger action when it plays/pauses/stops
Nest Hub Trigger actions when volume is within parameters
Vacuum Trigger action when it starts/stops
Nest Guard Trigger action when arming system
  1. Open the Google Home app on your device.
  2. Tap Routines in the shortcuts section.
  3. Hit the add new button in the bottom-right corner.
  4. Choose the Household routine kind.
    • Note: Personal triggers are only activated by you when using voice triggers.
  5. Name the routine.
    • Note: You can name it after figuring out your starter and action.
  6. Hit Add starter.
  7. Choose When a device does something.
  8. Pick a device.
  9. Choose what the starting action will be and hit Add starter.
  10. Tap Add action.
  11. Pick between the massive list of possible actions that could occur and hit Done.
    • Note: You can add multiple starters and actions to build out a detailed routine.
  12. Tap Save.

We recommend diving into routines and getting an idea of exactly what the options are in terms of device triggers for starters and the actions that can come about as a result. Once you get a feel for that, you can really build out some cool routines.

More on Google Home:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Andrew Romero's favorite gear