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Google Home is now the best alarm clock on the market

As a child, I hated alarm clocks with a passion. They're harsh, ugly, and the snooze button meant that I'd hear my siblings' or dormmates' alarm clocks over and over again as they looked in vain for five more minutes of sleep. CD alarm clocks and their sweet music helped me make peace with the morning alarm, with my iPod and eventually Google Play Music (via custom Tasker profiles) replacing the harsh beeps, buzzers, and klaxons that have made users young and old curse their clocks for centuries.

Well, Google Home has finally freed us from the shackles of traditional buzzer, ringer, or ringtone alarm clocks, and it's all thanks to Google Assistant's custom Routines .

Routines are awesome

If I wanted to set a morning alarm with Google Assistant, why wouldn't I want to have all of that in my alarm?

Google Home has had alarms since its inception back in 2016, and even allowed users to start setting music alarms earlier this year, but these alarms left a lot to be desired. Google Assistant's "Good Morning" routine can turn on the lights, read you today's schedule, tell you how much traffic is on your way to work, then play your favorite music or the latest news.

Now, Google Home users in the United States can get Google Assistant to wake them up with all of that thanks to time-activated custom routines.

When you create a new custom routine, you're given two activation methods: a voice command that will manually trigger the routine on whichever device you say it to, and a time/date trigger that can be used to trigger the profile up to once a day on any and every day of the week you want on a single Google Home device. Other Google Assistant smart speakers like the TicHome Mini and the Insignia Voice Smart Speaker and Alarm Clock (opens in new tab), but you cannot designate your phone or Chromecast as the designated Speaker for the routine to play out on.

If you already had a custom routine set up the way you'd like it for your routine — or a ready-made routine like Good Morning — you can't add a time/date trigger to it; you'll still have to set it up as a brand-new custom routine. It's also not possible to add different times for different days of the week, so if you want the same routine to fire at 8AM on days you have class and noon on days you don't, you'll have to make two routines for the two different time triggers.

Once you have your trigger phrase and trigger times set up, you can add actions in your desired order. First things first, I'd recommend adjusting the media volume of your Google Home so that Google Assistant speaks loudly enough to wake you up. You can use any Google Assistant command in these routines that you can use with your Google Home such as:

  • Turning on one of your Philips Hue scenes
  • Reading the daily forecast
  • Hearing what traffic on the way to work is like
  • Saying a quote or motto from one of your favorite authors to motivate you
  • Turning up the thermostat so the A/C doesn't run all day
  • Hear a fun fact or word of the day

Below the ordered actions section is "And then play", which will start up your favorite podcast, playlist, or morning news. I wish you could have multiple categories here play in a designated order — such as having the news play and then music play afterwards — but this setup is easy enough to customize the way I want.

Make sure to always save and back out when you change your alarm routine.

Using Google Assistant's custom routines for an alarm clock has been a breeze once it's set up, so long as you remember to finish saving your changes to a routine if you tend to change your wake-up time from day to day. The alarm triggers daily, and it sends a notification to my phone once it activates, giving it a notification chirp just in case something goes wrong with the profile.

Since these profiles are not traditional alarms, you can't tell Google Assistant to hit the snooze button, but the snooze button is bad for you and needs to die a painful death for its oversleeping-enabling sins.

Brig your alarm clock everywhere

Now, I know that I said that Google Home is the best alarm clock you can buy, but I've actually been using the TicHome Mini (opens in new tab) as my alarm because of its portability: the small circular speaker hangs from my bedpost during the night, and after it wakes me up with YouTube Music in the morning, I unplug it and bring it into the bathroom so I can keep the music flowing while I shower and get dressed, then into the kitchen for breakfast and some frantic morning writing. It's also an easy size for packing on trips, assuming the Wi-Fi at my destination works with Google Home.

At $100, that's a bit steep for a portable Google Home, but the Insignia Voice Google Assistant Portable Speaker (opens in new tab) is on sale for $45 right now, features bigger, richer sound, and a LED clock display on the front. I've been enjoying it the last few days, and stay tuned for a full review

Portable Assistant Bliss

Things are still early days with time-activated routines — and it needs to roll out to users outside the United States pronto — but I'm embracing these custom alarm routines and all that they can do for me. We're another step closer to that pipe dream from Iron Man.

Now to find those holographic windows and get some more dry sarcasm into Google Assistant.

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

37 Comments
  • Tichome mini is cool. Nicer than the google home mini in my opinion. Also, I realize this is a post promoting google home/routes but you can do the exact same thing with Amazon Echo devices. I say this to let others know who might have an Echo that they can do basically the same thing.
  • The promoted posts on this site are getting ridiculous. It's like half the articles are fake news. I know Samsung is paying for some of the Note 9 coverage, too. I'm on the verge of unsubscribing from this blog all together.
  • You know? How?
  • By reading the article? Because I'm not completely oblivious?
  • By reading the article? Ry caught you out. I call bullsh*t. You're passing off a theory of yours as fact when you say "I know..." Oh, and it's not a "blog". Just sayin'.
  • You mean her unending and nauseating articles about the worthless Google play music service replacement, called YouTube music, were disingenuous? Say it ain't so!
  • All this stuff just so a person can wake up? What a waste of time + solutions to problems that don't exist. Btw.. Best alarm clock in your world. For the rest of us.. Nahhhh.
  • I love these options. Two things I feel that the Google Home experience is missing is the ability to set the alarm to a different device. Such as from my phone (or a Google Home device in a room other than where you want the alarm to go off in) say "Set the alarm in Spider-man's room for 6:10 am" then have it give the confirmation back on the device I initiated it from. Also the ability to turn off the mic to a google home device from my phone. I'd like to have the mic on for my son's mini but then turn it off at bed time.
  • You can set up a scheduled routine from your phone and have it run on any Home device you've linked your Google account to. Very easy to do. When you create the routine, you'll be asked to select the device it should run on. And I agree with you about turning off the mic remotely. Hopefully, that will be enabled in the future.
  • Over complicate simple tasks much?
  • Just thinking the same thing. A $15 alarm clock from Walmart and I'm good to go, been doing it for years.
  • Our your "smart" phone!
  • The one thing I've never been able to find in an alarm clock since back in my BlackBerry alarm days is the ability to create an alarm that can be reproduced on a "repeat every X number of days" schedule. I work a 4 day on, 4 day off schedule. This means that my first day on in one week, is 8 days later the next week. Second day on is 8 days later, etc. Currently I have to manually move the first and last days each week. Not everybody works a 9-5 Monday to Friday schedule.
  • What's different from this and me using my echo dot? I wake up to music on Spotify. If I lose my internet, it will still work but with a standard audible alarm.
  • Wrong. The Echo Spot has routines, supports more smart devices, and can actually look like an alarm clock and SHOW YOU the time. Google is good, but definitely not the best.
  • Until this syncs up with my alarm app, forget about it. I change my alarm on a daily basis and I don't want to have to go into the Home app every time do so. Sync it and I'd be in.
  • I use my Best Buy Insignia to wake up to AC/DC's Hells Bells. I also like how it shows the temp.
  • it shows the temp? Mine only shows the time... maybe I have to change something.. or maybe I just don't realize it shows the temp. My biggest issue is that when it loses internet.. it can't recover.. just says "net" on the screen until I power cycle it. Happens like 2-3 times a week. Still love it tho (got it for $23 last time BB had that major deal on them)
  • I love my Google home, but have to vehemently disagree. What makes a good alarm clock? One that goes off consistently and never fails you. This is where the GH is a terrible fail, and I bought an Echo to make up for it. If you lose wifi for any reason and the GH has no internet connection, your alarm will not go off. Even if that happens only one in a thousand times, it's too many. Seems like a huge oversight for something so important . To the best of my knowledge this design flaw has not been fixed.
  • My internet went off in the middle of the night and my alarm, I have the insignia, still went off. The display was just the dots instead of the time.
  • If it loses internet it shows "net" not dots
  • I have my phone wake me up 15 mins later as a backup. No big deal. Never ever even had to use it.
  • Yeah it's great until the internet goes down for maintenance or bad storm.
  • I have both the Tichome and the Insignia speaker. I think they are both great products. The Tic is primarily for use in the shower - so I can continue to stream podcasts, radio, etc. with the voice control of Google Assistant. But its portability is also a plus and I take advantage of that as well. The Insignia is simply the best deal in a Google Home Speaker. At $50, it is a no brainer. With the built-in clock, it is ideal as an alarm clock - and that is exactly what I have it for. If I did not already have the original Google Home in the kitchen, I would get an Insignia for there too - as it is nice having a clock. However, with the advent of the display devices (waiting on the JBL unit) that will be the replacement for the Home in the kitchen. The screen, of course, will display the time.
  • The Insignias are great and frequently on sale. They were basically giving them out last holiday season.
  • But do they support continued conversation? That is a deal breaker
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/googlehome/comments/8tur7j/continuous_conversat...
  • I'll have to disagree with this... Since I started using routines it has completely failed 3 times... just not gone off in the morning.. .. Luckily I've kept my phone alarms going so I wasn't late to work... The last time it Failed I never fixed it.. So I just stopped using the feature..
  • We use Google Home for timers, but I would never rely on it for a primary alarm because the device can lose its Internet connection and not be able to do anything for you. There are other technical problems that we have experienced as well. An alarm should never be stopped by a technical problem. My wife and I both use Alarm Droid on our cell phones as a primary alarm. However, if you have a critical alarm it cannot hurt to use Google Home and its related devices as a loud alarm to kick in a minute or two after your regular alarm to give you time to be awake enough to hear it.
  • I have to agree with others on the Insignia. It's a great device. If you get one, get the slightly more expensive one that has a battery backup. Reason being that it also has a bigger speaker. Another benefit of using the Google Home as an alarm clock is that you can wake up to a huge variety of radio stations from all over the world. Try doing that with your traditional clock radio.
  • For starters, the author needs to learn that a comma is not a space bar. As far as the Google Home goes, I'm using Alexa, and think I could probably do something like this.
  • Alexa is really inferior to Google Assistant nowadays...
  • Just a heads up: none of the mentioned portable speakers in the article support "continued conversation" mode.
  • My question is, where can I get an Android mug like that? Looks sleek!
  • Thanks to Ara, my Google Home Mini has been upgraded to the larger and better sounding Insignia portable speaker. At $45 currently, that's a steal.
  • All this effort and nonsense to set an alarm!
    And this makes it the greatest alarm clock ever?
    Sorry to be the one to inform you of the obvious. But nobody, other than the overpaid Google jag-off, who ordered another overpaid Google jag-off to develop this Rube Goldberg-esque alarm clock is ever going to use it.
    And then, only once, at the demonstration roll out.
    Normal people don't want all this crap, they want a simple alarm to wake them up.
    And they have that, in their phone. Some more obvious facts. Most people don't have a Google home device at their bedside (or any other home Assistant device).
    They bought one, put it in the most used room. Then saw how useless it was for anything, other than asking the most mundane questions, like current weather. Got sick of the never ending, "sorry, I can't do that yet" responses. And unplugged it.
    Thus, relegating it to the land of misfit tech devices.
    Don't believe that?
    The sales of the devices, or lack there of. And the rush to get a replacement with a (should have never been released without one) screen, out to market. Thus creating a WiFi only phone / tablet wannabe, you can't
    even move.
    Or, as it's known at Google, a solution in search of a problem! Here's an idea Google.
    What's already in most rooms in a "connected" house And has a screen?
    It's called a TV.
    I'll bet you have one in your bedroom too.
    Right next to the life sized cutouts of Larry , Sergey! And probably Sundar Too Every Penny Google has relegated to Google home devices, Google Assistant, Chromecast etc. Should be immediately diverted to developing a tiny HDMI device that combines a Chromecast, Google home, Google Assistant and a Google home device all in one. This device will, (without a needed app, phone, casting or any other complicated setup. Other than a one time initial setup, strange impossible to remember Queries command steps etc...)
    Instantly answer and show Everything that can be shown or answered by typing a question into Google. Onto that TV screen.
    No delay.
    No waiting for the TV to boot up.
    No silly command strings.
    No typical Google half assed work arounds. It should work like the assistant on the phone.
    Showing what you speak on the TV as your saying it, , repeating it audibly as an option. Then answering it.
    Audibly, visually or by completing the command. Then they can discontinue, Chromecast, Google home devices etc. As I said, normal people will never use routines, complicated commands etc to set an alarm.
    Most people don't have smart lightbulbs, or want them.
    They don't have over hyped, Non money saving nest thermostats.
    And most won't use Google home devices as they are worthless without a screen. And then there's you. The person who can never say a negative thing about Google. Everything they do is the bestest greatest thing in the world.
    And yet, you still haven't gotten that dreamed about Google job!
    Why that?
    Maybe all the ass kissing is having a reverse effect?
  • I have a clock radio, cost me a tenner, about 15 years ago, it wakes me up with the radio nice and gentle. so why would i want to pay stupid amount of money for a spy in my bedroom?