9 ways Google Assistant can help with Thanksgiving

Google Assistant is available on all kinds of devices in your home. From the basic smartphone to smart speakers and smart displays like the Nest Hub Max, Google Chromecast, and more, the “Hey Google” assistant is often beyond helpful. This feature is really useful around the Thanksgiving period, when there is a lot to do and not much time to do it. Here’s how Google Assistant can help make your holiday gathering a little easier.

Find recipes and ingredient conversions

Google nest hub in the kitchen.

If you have a Nest smart display or Android phone, you can tap on any recipe you find and say, “Hey Google, add to my cookbook.” Then, when you’re ready in the kitchen, you can simply ask to see your cookbook. With recipes and compatible devices, you can even say, “Hey Google, start cooking,” in a recipe, and Google will walk you through the steps (this trick is mainly for smart displays).

When you’re really starting to cook, you can use Google Assistant to set important timers, which is really useful when you’re running multiple timers at once. Or you can ask any kind of recipe question, like, “What’s a zucchini substitute?” or “How many ounces are in a cup?” You can even ask Thanksgiving questions like, “How do I dehydrate my turkey?” or “How long can I defrost a turkey?”

Set important reminders

Draw a family with the Nest Hub.

If there’s a lot on your Thanksgiving plate, you can avoid forgetting things by using Google Assistant. Ask him to set reminders for important events. This could be anything from “getting ready to get the turkey out of the oven” to “reminding Uncle Kevin to take his meds”. Remember to set a time for Google Assistant to send you an alert about the message it saved for you.

Let the Google Assistant wait for you when your phone calls are on hold

Pixel Hold for Me screen message.

Does your Thanksgiving involve a lot of booking rooms or making reservations? That can mean a lot of waiting time on the phone: If you have a Pixel phone, you should look into Hold for Me, a special Google Assistant capability that will keep the line open and monitored for a real person. When someone appears, Google Assistant will send you a notification. You can even monitor recorded messages from afar as the Google Assistant will display their text on the screen.

Get cooking with the right meat thermometer

Fire thermometer.

A meat thermometer monitors the internal temperature of large meat dishes (among other things), and smart versions can send alerts to your phone or allow you to control it remotely. Some models work directly with Google Home and the Google Assistant, so you can use the tools you already know and ask questions about the progress of the meat. One of the most popular is the FireBoard, but other smart thermometers are also compatible.

Order groceries at the last minute

Prepare vegetables on work surface.

Are there some ingredients, utensils, or other important purchases you forgot to make at the last minute before you set out to cook your Thanksgiving meal? Don’t worry — Google Assistant can help you shop right from your kitchen — as long as you’re willing to use a Walmart grocery service like this one. He even makes suggestions for certain types of food if you’re not sure what you want! Then just someone swinging by for a quick pickup.

If you’re out for a few days, make sure you have a payment method connected to the Google Assistant, and then you can use voice commands to order products from a variety of stores, including Walmart, Target, Costco, PetSmart, Walgreens, and more.

Raise and lower the temperature

Google Nest Audio.

Nest thermostats let you easily set a new temperature with a word to the Google Assistant, and a number of other smart thermostats from brands like Honeywell and Emerson work with the Google Assistant. This targeted control comes in very handy during Thanksgiving. When the kitchen fills with steam and the house is crowded, you might be glad to have the option to turn the temperature down a few degrees. Or when it gets late and grandma starts complaining about being cold, you can turn up the temperature a bit with a word.

Play the big games

People watching sports on a 50-inch Vizio V-Series 4K TV.

Sure, Google Assistant can give you the latest scores for any Thanksgiving game. But why stop there? If you have a Google Chromecast or a TV that supports Google TV or Android TV, you can control it with Google Assistant commands, including finding the right sports channel, turning up the volume, and more. If you have a connected Google Assistant-enabled speaker, like the Sonos soundbar, even better! This way, you don’t need to find the remote control to switch between games or get the channel you want.

Connect with distant family members

Nest Hub Max hands-on review.
Julian Chocato / Digital Trends

Google Assistant can also start a voice chat with anyone in your contacts, including over a Nest Audio speaker — or even a video chat if you have something like a Nest Hub. This feature makes it really easy to contact family members who might not be able to be there (they’ll need Google Assistant too, but it’s really easy to arrange). Don’t let Thanksgiving go by without making sure you’re in touch with all your loved ones.

Entertain the children

Kid and dad looking at Google Max.

Remember, Google Assistant is always available to keep kids entertained for a while. Just ask him to play a game, or choose something specific like Mad Libs. You can also order a Thanksgiving game — Google often adds seasonal activities to Google Assistant. This feature works best with a Nest smart speaker if you have one!

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