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Help seniors set up and use Google Nest and Home speakers

With Google Nest and Home speakers, seniors can stay connected to their friends and family. This article will help you assist a family member or friend with setting up their speaker and share tips on how to use some of its most popular features.

Before set up

Create a Google account

If the person you’re helping set up a Google Nest or Home speaker doesn’t have a Google account, they’ll need to create one before you can set up their speaker. Here’s how they can create a Google Account.


For Google Nest or Home speakers to work, your family member will need a direct connection to the internet and consistent Wi-Fi. If available, use a 5 GHz connection.

Note: The speaker needs to be connected to the internet to work. If the Wi-Fi network you’re trying to connect to has a sign-in portal or requires a login before each use, you may not be able to use the speaker in that location. Places that require logging in are often found in commercial settings like hospitals, assisted living facilities, libraries, airports, and hotels.

Help set up a Google Nest or Home speaker

A Google Nest or Home speaker needs to be set up while connected to the same Wi-Fi network the owner will use it on. For example, if the device owner is in an assisted living facility, follow these steps while connected to the assisted living facility’s Wi-Fi network, not your home Wi-Fi network.

The speaker owner will need the Google Home app on an Android or iOS mobile device to get started. Make sure they’re signed into the Google Home app with the Google account they’d like to use to control their speaker in the future. The app will walk them through most steps. 

Setup: Follow these instructions to set up a Google Nest or Home speaker

Note: If you choose not to set up a particular feature, you can always come back another time and add it through the Google Home app or by following the instructions below. However, we do recommend allowing personal results to make features easier to use.

After they’ve done the initial setup, there are several additional features you can add or customize below.

(Optional) Ask the device owner to add you to their Google home structure

After you complete the setup, you’ll be able to help manage the home structure if you’re added as a home member.

Setup: Share a home and devices in the Google Home app.


Personal results allow the owner to call contacts by name, view calendar events, and receive specific results.

Setup: Allow personal results.

Change languages

You can change the language of the Google Assistant, or add an additional language to speak to the Google Assistant in two languages. 

Setup: Change the language of your Google Assistant.

Add features

Below are some helpful features of Google Nest and Home speakers. If you haven’t already, follow the setup instructions for each feature you’d like the owner to be able to use.

Make Duo calls with your speaker

Using Duo, you’ll be able to make and receive calls from other Duo users using your speaker.

Setup: Make Duo calls with your speaker.

Set up household contacts

You can set up a group of contacts on your speaker, including yourself or family members, to allow quick access for anyone in your home to make calls. These contacts can be used by anyone with access to the device.

Setup: Learn more about setting up household contacts.

Create morning and bedtime routines

Google Assistant can automatically do multiple things in a row when you use built-in routines or create your own. For example, you can say “Hey Google, good morning” to learn about today’s weather and the news.

Setup: Set up and manage Routines.

Link music services

You can link music services associated with a Google Account to listen to and set a default music service. Depending on the service added, you can create custom stations or playlists for the owner based on their preferences. If you’re a member of the home in the Google Home app, you can link your own music services so that the owner can use them. Learn more about listening to music on Google Nest and Home speakers.

Setup: Link your music services.

Customize the news

If the owner prefers to listen to news from specific providers, you can select different sources for your speaker to play.

Setup: Customize your news preferences.

Use accessibility features

You can control your appliances, broadcast messages to your other devices, and more. Learn more about accessibility features on Google Nest and Home speakers.

Adjust the volume

“Hey Google, turn it up.”

“Hey Google, turn it down.”

“Hey Google, volume level five.”

“Hey Google, volume level 65%.”

You can also adjust the volume on the top or on the side of your Google Nest or Home speaker.

Learn more about volume controls.

Things you can say and do with your speaker

Note: Some features or commands require setup. If you try one of the Assistant commands and it doesn’t work for you, check out the setup instructions or tips for more info. You can also ask the Assistant for help, like by saying “Hey Google, how do I watch a video?”

Make a phone call

Setup: Make Duo calls with your speaker

Setup: Household contacts

“Hey Google, call [contact name] on Duo”

“Hey Google, answer the call”

“Hey Google, decline the call”

“Hey Google, end the call."

“Hey Google, hang up.”

“Hey Google, mute call.”

“Hey Google, unmute call.”

Watch videos

Note: You need to have a cast-enabled TV or speaker for this feature.

"Hey Google, play funny videos on YouTube.”

“Hey Google, show me football highlights on YouTube.”

View the weather

“Hey Google, what’s the weather today?”

“Hey Google, will it rain tomorrow?”

“Hey Google, is it sunny in Seattle?”

Tips for learning about the weather

Listen to music

“Hey Google, play jazz.”

“Hey Google, play relaxing music.”

“Hey Google, stop” or “resume”

“Hey Google, play next song.”

Tips for listening to music

Listen to the news

“Hey Google, what’s the latest news?”

“Hey Google, tell me sports news.”

“Hey Google, watch the news."

"Hey Google, tell me the news."

"Hey Google, listen to news about NASA."

"Hey Google, listen to [news provider’s name].” 

"Hey Google, stop" or "stop the news."

Tips for listening to the news

Listen to the radio

“Hey Google, play radio NBC.”

“Hey Google, play NPR radio station.”

Tips for listening to the radio


“Hey Google, tell me a joke.”

“Hey Google, let’s play a game.”

Helpful home

Find my phone

Setup: Link your device and phone number to a Google Account.

“Hey Google, find my phone.”

Set reminders

“Hey Google, remind me to take my medicine every day at 5 PM."

More ways to set reminders 

Set alarms

“Hey Google, set an alarm for 6 AM tomorrow.”

“Hey Google, set alarm for 7 AM every day of the week.”

To stop an alarm or timer, say “Stop.”

Tips for settings alarms and timers 

Be an interpreter

Your Google Nest or Home speaker can translate words or phrases in several different languages. 

“Hey Google, how do I say 'Nice to meet you' in French?"

“Hey Google, translate.”

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