There’s a reason hands-free devices like the Google Home find themselves in more and more homes; the ability to browse the web, make phone calls, set reminders and alarms, and, yes, even send text messages with only your voice is a hard feature to pass off. Because of its access to the internet, these features are at your fingertips.
However, let’s focus on one: text messaging. Imagine you can’t reach your phone or perhaps it’s dead. Sure, you could stand against a wall for a few minutes like a goon until your phone has enough juice to power on. Instead, why not use Google Home to send an important message?
Now, there is a small caveat: Google Home doesn’t have an official text messaging feature. What you do is manipulate IFTTT – also known as If This Then That – to create messages and send them.
What is IFTTT?
IFTTT, or If This Then That, is essentially the implementation of certain functions that some devices don’t support natively, but have the potential to. “If this” applies the request, “Then That” carries that function out. In this case, Google Home doesn’t support texting messaging natively, but by manipulating the system, you can create the function. When everything is said and done, you’ll be able to holler at Google, “Hey Google, send a message to [contact]” and create a message with just your voice.
This is because Google Home has voice functionality already. It’s smart enough to recognize your words and what you’re saying. By using IFTTT, you apply those words in a text message format. It’s quite ingenious.
How to Send Text Message with Google Home
As mentioned before, you’re going to need to set up an IFTTT in order to send text messages with your Google Home device. And there are a few details you should know and understand before you send messages, which will be listed when the time comes.
1. Start by downloading and installing IFTTT from the Google Play Store. You don’t have to pay a cent. It’s free.
Note: This is an Android exclusive application.
2. Once IFTTT has been installed, launch it on your device.
3. Create an account using your Facebook account, Google account or email.
4. Now, at the bottom of the screen, tap Get More. A menu will appear from the bottom of the menu. From here you can browse the various apps to download and install. Instead, scroll down until you see Create Your Own.
5. When you see “If This Then That,” tap the addition sign next to “This” to start adding triggers.
6. Use the search bar at the top to search Google Assistant. Select Google Assistant from the search results.
7. Now, you’ll see a few triggers. The one you want to choose first is “Say a phrase with a text ingredient.”
8. Now you need to add the trigger phrase. This will let your Google Home know that you’re sending a text message. Use a command like “ping Calvin” or something of that nature.
Note: Don’t use the phrase “send a text.” Google won’t accept it. For some reason it attempts to trigger a feature it doesn’t support. Could it be that Google Home is gearing up for native texting with Google Home? It’s possible.
9. At the end of your command, add a “$.” That lets IFTTT know further information will be given after the command is said. If you forget the “$” symbol, IFTTT will not work.
10. Next, create a response that Google Home will use to confirm it has heard your command.
11. Choose a language and select Continue.
12. Tap “+That” to create the second-half of the IFTTT. After you do, you’ll see a list of applets. You want to choose Android SMS.
13. For “Select Action,” choose “Send an SMS.”
14. Next, add the phone number of the person you want to send a text message to, using the international format.
Note: The international format contains additional numbers in front of someone’s phone number. For example, U.K.’s international format is 44.
15. Finally, tap Create Action at the bottom and wrap up the command by tapping Finish.
Now that you’ve created an IFTTT for Android SMS, simply saying the phrase you chose to Google Home will kickstart the feature. You can then speak your text message and Google Home will send it off.
However, there are a few details you should be aware of:
- When you send a text message, the message is sent by the primary Google account. It does not matter if there’s more than one Google account. The original account holder is the sender.
- You need to create an IFTTT applet for every single person you plan on sending text messages to, which is the biggest downside to this method.
Until Google Home support native text messaging, you’ll have to deal with the tedious nature of IFTTT applets.