You may have recently purchased a Google Home device and are now wondering what’s next. For starters, I suggest you unlock some home automation capabilities by coupling your Google Home with SmartThings, IFTTT, and the Harmony Hub. Take a look at my previous post for insight into how to get started.
In the meantime, if you have interest in sending text messages via voice commands and your Google Home device, I have an option to consider. Out-of-the-box, Google Home does not provide the ability to send text messages. In fact, when you ask it to send a message, Google Home will reply back with “Sorry, I can’t send texts yet.” Fortunately, there is a work-around available, and it is quite simple. The video below highlights the work-around in action.
By leveraging a Google Home and IFTTT integration, I can text virtually any message to a pre-defined contact via IFTTT applets using the Google Assistant service. I chose the “Say a phrase with a text ingredient” trigger to accomplish this task. When connected with Google Home, this trigger will listen to a self-customized phrase and perform my configured IFTTT action. The phrase I asked Google Assistant to monitor was “Tell Keith.” Google Assistant will treat everything after the phrase as the message, or, specifically, as a Google Assistant variable that can be passed along to the connected service. In this example, I connected the Google Assistant trigger with the SMS service in IFTTT, which already has my phone number configured. As demonstrated in the video, the message will be sent to my mobile number as a result. Further, Google Home repeats the message to confirm that the IFTTT applet was executed successfully.
In order to message numbers other than your own, you need to configure either an email service (e.g., Office 365 or Gmail) or the Android SMS service. For iPhone users, email is your best option. Most mobile carriers have a feature where you can send an email to a 10-digit, mobile carrier specific, email address. Below are the most popular US carrier email addresses; simply replace “10-digit-number” with the desired mobile number:
- AT&T: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Verizon: email@example.com
- T-Mobile: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sprint: email@example.com
As for Android users, I suggest using the Android SMS service. Using “Tell Sally pick up milk on the way home” as an example message, here is a quick step-by-step guide to configuring an Android device to work with Google Home:
- Create a “New Applet”
- The first step in creating a new applet is to configure the “this” trigger. Click on the “this” link and search for the Google Assistant service.
- Select the “Say a phrase with a text ingredient” trigger.
- Complete all of the required fields. In the screenshot example, I used the phrase “Tell Sally $.” Tell Sally is the key phrase that connects Google Home with this IFTTT Applet. The “$” symbol represents the text spoken after the key phrase. (In the system, the “$” symbol will be replaced with words I use after “Tell Sally.” For example, using the “Tell Sally pick up milk on the way home” example, “$” will be replaced with “pick up milk on the way home.” I also created alternate ways to trigger the phrase “Tell Sally.” I did this by adding “Tell Sally that” and “Tell Sally to” to the trigger. The natural tendency will be to use those words (“that” and “to”) when speaking to the Google Home device, so I found this helpful.)
- The next step is to create a “that” action. Click on “that” and search for the Android SMS service.
- Select the “Send an SMS” action. (Note: You have to install and configure the IFTTT app on your Android device for this to work. Additionally, messages will be sent from your phone number.)
- Enter the phone number of the recipient of the Google Home message. Additionally, you can customize the message in the “Message” area. In my example, I make it clear that the message was triggered by Google Home by prefixing the message with “Message from Google Home: .” The “TextField” ingredient is required, and it will be replaced with the message captured above (i.e., whatever is being held by the “$” argument).
- Test it! (It will take a few minutes for the change to be registered by Google Home, so be patient if Google Home does not understand your phrase right away.)
Side note: I used “tell” as my key word, as Google Home didn’t like when I used “message” or “text.” I’m assuming those are reserved words used by Google Home.
Drop me a line if you have any issues, or other suggestions. As an aside, I have my first set of Z-Wave blinds on order. We’ll see how that integration comes along.