We’ve been hearing about Google Assistant’s routines for months now. Cody first discovered them in a Google app teardown last September, then they were officially announced in October, but Google was mum about them until last month when it said routines will launch “in the coming weeks in the US.” A few weeks have passed since then, so it’s about time we start seeing these routines for real. We haven’t spotted them on our phones just yet, but their support page just went live and now we know almost everything there is about them
There will be 6 routines to start: Good Morning, Bedtime, Leaving home, I’m home, Commuting to work, and Commuting home. The last two will only be accessible from your phone – you won’t be able to trigger them from your Google Home. The Good Morning routine is replacing the My Day feature when it launches. And routines will be voice-dependent, so you and the other people in your home will be able to trigger your own actions for each one.
That’s, unfortunately, where the good news ends. If you thought that routines will let you trigger any command and action on your Google Home, you might be in for a disappointment. Each routine has a limited set of predefined actions and it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to trigger much in the way of smart home appliances, at least not Assistant apps integrations. So proper Home control devices like lights and thermostats will work, but things like Logitech, Todoist, or others apparently won’t.
Here are the available actions for each routine:
There are many eyebrow-raising choices in this list. For example, why is it possible to send texts when commuting home but not to work? I often leave for work after my husband and let him know when I move, but the commuting routine won’t let this be part of my automated actions. Also confusing is why podcasts, audiobooks, radio, and news aren’t accessible for the bedtime routine.
There are also some unanswered questions. Will “sending texts” only use SMS or other messaging apps that are integrated with Assistant, like WhatsApp? What is “and more” in the smart home adjustment category? Will you be able to lock your smart locks at bedtime, start your smart vacuum when you leave home, or start your dishwasher when you arrive? And will the audio playback be limited to Assistant services, thus making it impossible to launch Pocket Casts on your phone for example in the commuting routine?
Until Routines start showing up in our Assistant settings, we won’t know the answer to these. Overall, the feature seems like a good start, but could use a little more flexibility in the available options. For now, if you’re wondering what Routines will look like, 9to5Google was able to activate Good Morning and showed it off, proving you can set several activation phrases for it.