Google Home Mini: 5 things you should know to enjoy it more

Your favorite music, podcasts, interviews, Ted talks, and much more. All in one place and one voice command away. That’s what Google Home Mini is all about. However, there are some good questions people ask about this fancy home butler that deserve some nuanced answers. Questions regarding security, how to talk to the device, and most importantly: the giveaway that people want more than anything. Keep reading, I hope you get what you’re looking for in this article.


Google Home Mini

What happened to Google Home Mini giveaway?

After upgrading to Nest, you can say that the mini speaker has been discontinued. The most famous giveaway Google offered was the YouTube Premium one. Back in 2020, YouTube has given a large number of Google Home Mini to everyone who got a YouTube Premium account. However, as of October 2020, the YouTube giveaway has stopped.

It should also be mentioned that Google has given away 100,000 units to the elderly and paralyzed. Now that the clear update Nest is here, I don’t think you would see many giveaways out there. You can still see some used units in the Asian and Indian markets at lower prices if you look thoroughly here and there over the internet. Spotify also offered a unit with every premium account in 2020 and 2021, but that’s something of the past now.


Does Google Home Mini have a word of the day command?

Well, not directly. If you tell the device to “play word of the day”, it will play Merriam Webster’s dictionary’s word of the day available on Spotify. Therefore, you’ll need to add your Spotify account to your Google Home Mini through the Google Home app, and here’s how to do it:

  1. Download the app from Play Store and App Store. Then, follow the displayed prompt to set up the device and connect it to your phone.
  2. Once the device is connected, go to Settings, select Music, and tap the Spotify button to set it as your default music player.
  3. Next, Google Home will ask you to connect your Spotify account to Google. Have the Spotify credentials (username and password) ready to enter them right away.

Now that Spotify is connected, you need to add the word of the day. Here’s how to do it:


google home mini add command

  1. open the Google Home app, settings, and then under Google Assistant services tap Assistant. Next, tap the big blue plus sign to add a new routine.
  2. Tap the Add commands button, and then you can enter the phrase you would like your Google Home Mini to respond to which is “play word of the day”. Tap save when you’re done.
  3. Now what’s the device supposed to do when you say “Play word of the day”? Simply type in the same command, and it will automatically connect to Spotify to do so.
  4. Finally, tap the save button which will bring you back to the Routines screens. To use the new routine, say “OK Google, play word of the day”.

Can a stolen Google Home Mini be tracked?

Now, hypothetically of course, if I stole someone’s google home mini and use it as my own, can it be tracked? Needless to say, Google Home devices don’t have built-in GPS because they don’t really move that much. Therefore, trying to track the device by using the find my phone feature wouldn’t help. Anyway, here are some actions that you can take that might help:

  1. Assuming that you’re lucky enough, the thief still hasn’t logged you out of the device. This will help you see the commands given to your device and get some clues. At the right top of the Google Home app, tap your account, and then My Activity.
  2. You can also go to google takeout to see all the data you shared on all your google services including Google Home. With some luck, you can find some location data attached and use it to narrow down the location of your stolen Google Home Mini. You might also find some IP addresses that can be turned to by the police.
  3. There is some fun and witty way you can use it if you had the approximate location of your device. You can play a loud rock tack and look for the sound in the neighborhood. That will definitely show the thief.


Google Home Mini


Can you change the commands on the Google Home Mini?

As shown in the “play word of the day” section of this article, you can go to routines and customize your Google Home Mini commands or add new ones completely. However, what if you want to change the “OK, Google” phrase to, say, something cool like Iron Man’s Jarvis or iRobot’s Viki? For branding reasons, the marketing team in Google has decided that you can’t really change the “OK, Google” or “Hey, Google” to something else. Also, there’s a good chance that your device won’t fully interact with the new name or would create some confusion once in a while.

Although there is no renaming feature in Google Home itself, there are some third-party apps that have proven useful with Google Assistant on phones. Such as Mic+ and the combination of Autovoice and Tasker, but I do have to say that these were not tested with Google Home Mini in particular.

Is there a way to use a google home mini to control a Python project?

To this moment, there’s no way to use Google Home Mini to directly control a Python project. On the other hand, there’s a Google Assistant Python framework that depends on Python to control your own DIY home devices. Check it out here. If you are a bit of tech-savvy, documentation of the Google Assistant SDK will help a lot.

Moreover, there’s another framework written in Python that lets you use Google Assistant (the same Google Assistant used in Google Home) to get your device to say things or play some song.

In this article, I have put you in perspective on some of the questions that went unanswered to some extent about your Google Home Mini device.


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