OK, Google: 20 Useful Things You Can Say to Your Android Phone

Joe Coburn Updated 10-10-2018

“OK Google” is a phrase you probably say so often that you may not think twice about it. From ordering an Uber to setting reminders and more, Google’s voice assistant has embedded itself into our lives.


Here are some of the best commands to give your Android phone. Make sure you learn how to use Google Assistant first if you’re unsure.

OK Google, Call and Text

Ok Google, call home

This is an easy one, so if you’re not using it yet, you should start. Google Assistant can call anyone on your contact list or businesses around you.

Tell it to call [contact] or call [business] to start a call. If the name appears once in your contact list, the app will begin the call. If that person has more than one number, or if there are several businesses that answer to the same name, you’ll need to choose the one you want to call.

On a similar note, you can also use the command text [contact] to start a text message. Not only that, you can dictate the text message itself while you’re at it.


For example, try saying text [contact] I’ll be right there. All you’ll have to do next is choose the app you want to use to send it. You can edit the text too, if you want.

OK Google, Let’s Navigate

Ok Google, where am I

You may already know you can ask Google for directions to anywhere. After all, Google Maps is the navigation method of choice for a lot of people, even if they’re not on Android. But did you know you can ask for more than just directions?

To start, you can use the command where am I?, and Google will highlight your location on a map, along with an approximate address.


You can use the commands directions to, navigate to, and even how to get to. Then either say an exact address or a landmark name and Google will figure out where to go. If there are several places with a similar name, it will let you choose between them before it switches over to Google Maps for the actual directions.

Want to walk somewhere, bike somewhere, or use public transportation? No problem. A simple command like walking directions to or transit directions to will get you on the right track. Commands such as next bus to, or train timetable will also bring up helpful information, plus directions to the bus or train station if required.

As a bonus, you can also use the command map of with an address, name, or city to open Google Maps on that spot.

If that’s still not enough, then take a look at these awesome Google Maps hidden features 10 Lesser-Known Features in Google Maps for Android Google Maps has some amazing features that most people don't know about. Read More .


OK Google, Create Reminders and Events

Ok Google, set a reminder

By saying remind me to followed by a phrase, Google will create your reminder, and ask you when you’d like it. Or you can say set a reminder, and Google will ask you for the reminder details alongside the date and time.

After setting one, you can say show me my reminders to see a list of everything you’ve got coming up.

Reminders can get even more sophisticated if you use geolocation. Try saying something like remind me to feed the cat when I get home. If Google doesn’t know where home is, you can set a location for it to remember. This can work with businesses too. For example, remind me to buy eggs when I get to the store.


Check out other cool ways to use Google Assistant reminders 8 Amazing, Life-Improving Uses for Google Now Reminders Google Now has built-in reminders, but are you using them to their full extent? Read More for more tips.

Setting events is similar. To create an event, say create an event or create a calendar event and state the event, day or date, and the time. You can also use the command schedule a meeting to arrange meetings with a person, date, time, and location.

The last task in this category is setting alarms. This is as simple as saying set alarm and specifying the time or how long from now. For example, set an alarm for three hours from now, or set an alarm for seven. You can use any alarm app you want for this.

OK Google, Open an App or Website

Ok Google, go to

Use Google to open web pages you want to browse and even launch apps on your phone. Is it easier than tapping an app icon? Perhaps. But it’s certainly more fun.

To open an app, say open and the name of the app you want to launch. To go to a web page, say go to and give Google the URL. For example, if you say go to, your browser will open to MakeUseOf!

And for safe browsing on Android 8 Apps and Tricks for a Safer Browsing Experience on Android Everyone browses the web on their phone, but are you doing it safely? Here are 8 ways to keep your Android browsing safe. Read More , check out these tricks and apps:

OK Google, Send an Email

Ok Google, send an email

Android can remind you to complete tasks and add short notes for you, but did you know Google Assistant can also write whole emails? You don’t even have to launch your email app. Granted, I wouldn’t recommend using this for long emails, but if you’re only sending a line or two, it’s perfect.

If you want to keep it simple, say email or send email and specify a contact. This will start the email, letting you type it in yourself. If you want to go all-out, say something like email mom subject hello message I’m coming to visit you soon.

In much the same way, you can write Google+ posts by saying post to Google plus (if you actually use it).

OK Google, Translate

Ok Google, translate

You’ll need the Google Translate app installed for this to work. If you don’t have it yet, ask to install the Google Translate app. Google will open the installation instructions, with a link to download the app.

Once installed, saying phrases such as translate to Spanish, or how do you say hello in German will make Google speak your translated phrase, along with related phrases, and the written words. Check out our overview of Google Translate on Android 7 Google Translate Mobile Features You Must Know Google Translate's mobile app can do more than you might think. Here's a guide to all of Translate's features on Android and iOS. Read More for more tricks.

More Google Assistant Commands

Who knows what else Google Assistant will be able to do in the future? You might be able to book a flying taxi, or have Google read your thoughts.

If you can’t wait until then, have you considered changing the Google Assistant voice, or asking the most popular Google Assistant questions The 15 Most Popular "OK Google" Questions You Can Ask Google can answer a wide range of questions, but which are the most common? The most popular OK Google questions might surprise you. Read More ?

Related topics: Android Tips, Google Assistant, OK Google, Voice Commands.

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  1. Shakespeare Geek
    October 18, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    "Ok Google, when does open?" is a useful one, and surprisingly accurate. At least the times I used it recently it didn't have to ask me "Which did you mean..." or anything else, it just told me the closest one, which is what I wanted.

    Also, "Ok Google, continue" works better than I expected. If you were listening to audio and paused it, this will pick up where you left off. What's especially cool is that I use the "read aloud" feature in Play Books' ebook reader, and it works there, too!

  2. DaWoman
    February 1, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Lower my brightness.

    (Works Android 7)

  3. Shmoken
    January 26, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    Uhhh, not so much. When I say,"OK Google; Call Home" I am directed to the show, "A Place to Call Home". Maybe that's an improvement? It used to find results for, "E.T. Phone home."

    Funny because it's the single most used voice command AND phone number I call. On the bright side, I suppose the AI isn't going to be taking over the world any time soon at this rate.

  4. Plaktoets
    January 6, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Hello! If You say
    .turn flashlight on.
    It turnsters it on!

    • YoGiant!
      January 11, 2018 at 9:57 pm

      That's awesome, but with my phone it only shows the torch switch in off position.
      Still, pretty cool.

  5. Devendra
    August 1, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Can ok Google answer a call

    • Georgia Kolesar
      August 14, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      Thank you for the info! I had no idea!

  6. Dev Joshi
    March 22, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    We can also turn on our flashlight by saying "turn on flashlight" or " turn on torch" ... Add this

  7. Shay Ceasary
    January 24, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    I guess this is due to my phone being bi-lingual (Hebrew+English) - but none of the commands actually work.
    The phone calls are usually wrong at recognizing the names - and even if they do get it right - the call still requires me to confirm it on screen - which makes the voice command main attraction moot.

    The iPhone SIRI is slightly better - but still bi-lingual phones (maybe Hebrew is tougher?) just don't make voice recognition work (yet?) - the hype is too soon.

  8. Felicity
    December 29, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    For the Potter fans outo there, use "Lumos" to turn on the flashlight and "Knox" to turn it off again!

  9. Arvid
    October 7, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Whenever I say "OK Google, open Firefox" or any app for that matter it just google searches for "open firefox" is there a setting for this? I live in Sweden btw but the author said it was worldwide so I doubt that's the problem.

    • bperrybap
      December 4, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      You should use "Start {app}" not "open".

  10. Raghav Rajan
    September 19, 2016 at 2:28 am

    It Also helps to increase or decrease volume... Tell "ok Google " and say increase volume to maximum

  11. Akshay H
    August 22, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    U can even send a msg through whatsapp just say "send msg" it will ask you from msg app or what's app.. Even you can use "change " for changing the msg and " add some more" to add text in your msg it's pretty cool..!!

  12. akshay
    August 19, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    how can i restrict my phone from "google ok " command which is told by frnd ....... is my phone recognize only my voice???????????

  13. akshay
    August 19, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    how can i restrict my phone from "google ok " cammand is google recognize user voice???????????

  14. Anonymous
    August 26, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    How can I get GN to read my email messages out loud?

  15. Anonymous
    July 31, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    It can also interpret words or whole phrases for you. Just say "how do you say in " and it will translate for you.

  16. Anonymous
    July 23, 2015 at 10:55 am

    With the command "Sing me a song" google will start to play your own music.

  17. Anonymous
    June 6, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Is there an option to dial a simple number? (not a contact)

    • Anonymous
      July 31, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      Yes, you can dial a number that is not in your contacts just say "Call " and it will call the number for you. You may also use "Dial ".

      • Anonymous
        August 1, 2015 at 11:14 am

        Sorry. could not understand your answer.. Do you mean say "Call" and after that start saying the numbers? (This is not working, cause it's search for a contact named "Nine" or "One".
        Please elaborate.

        • Anonymous
          August 2, 2015 at 5:47 am

          Sorry, I wrote that using angled brackets which I guess was translated into HTML when I posted. But yes, you'll say "Call <phone number>" and it will dial it for you. You have to be relatively quick and clear though, otherwise it will think that you are trying to call someone named "Seven two zero" or whatever number is it that you were trying to dial through speech.

        • Anonymous
          August 28, 2015 at 4:32 am


  18. Mike
    May 5, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    I wonder if there's a way to ask, "Get directions to my next appointment", or, "Get directions to my appointment at 3:15pm". I have a location set in my google calendar for appoinments.

    • Anonymous
      September 6, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      There is, as I'm concerned, no command for doing so, but if you use Google Now, there will be a card that says when to leave to get to your appointment on time with various options, like how early you want to arrive etc. I use this all the time for meetings at new locations.

  19. vince
    April 19, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Android 5.0 made it work so perfectly on my HTC one M8. All these commands work and there's some funny stuff like saying "beam me up Scotty"

  20. dan
    March 9, 2015 at 3:22 am

    Do these tips apply for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4?

    • Anonymous
      July 31, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      They should as long as you have Google Search installed on your phone. Also, you can install Google Now Launcher to be able to do it from your home screen without having to open the Google Search app.

  21. me
    February 26, 2015 at 12:05 am

    Try how do you say "hello how are you?" In Spanish (or other language)

  22. jodi
    April 29, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    I laughed at it once and it told me hello by my name continued to tell me pending messages I had that came in it told me the time and then followed up by saying not 'much going on here'. I've never been able to make it do it again. It was so funny

    • Anonymous
      July 31, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      I tried it as well. My friend was telling me a joke and as I was laughing I decided to whip my phone out and hit the voice command button. (I was laughing too hard to say "OK Google.") It looked up Facebook instead though...

  23. theresa
    April 6, 2014 at 4:24 am

    Say beam me up Scotty to your apple or android and it will give you an amusing answer!! They are hopefully adding more of those amusing playful answers to silly statements or questions!!

  24. Matthew M.
    March 30, 2014 at 4:53 am

    For all the hype that voice recognition programs like Siri and Google Now receive, I've never seen anyone really use them that much, myself included. In the case of (at least) Google Now, I think this is primarily due to three things: the limited set of both recognizable AND executable commands/sub-commands, and also non-Google and weird-titled apps.
    Even as late as 4.4 Kitkat, I've had trouble trying to voice-dial a number that isn't listed as either home or mobile (most often this happens when I try to call an "other" number). GN isn't even able to do things as simple as toggling Wifi, Bluetooth or GPS, which I feel is too fundamental a function to be omitted.
    Lastly, I have not seen GN work well with apps not made by Google, and there's no option to select apps to use for certain commands in the way the general Android interface allows for things like messaging or Web browsing when multiple capable apps are installed. For example, I use Amazon MP3 as my music player rather than Google Play Music, which I have disabled just to help de-clutter my app drawer a bit, and while I've seen many examples of orally calling a song up in Play Music work, all I get with my configuration is the option to buy the song from Google Play. The other shortcoming is when you try to call up an app that has a run-on or really unique/whacked-out name (some apps I use with names like this include "TextSecure" and "Lazors"), because GN interprets the spoken name as either the two separate words, or can't parse the title correctly or even at all sometimes, and thus simply returns a Google search, and there's no way to "train" it or add information as to what it should be looking for given certain words and context.

    So, when you add all that up, I'd say Google Now does some things amazingly, and other things terribly. It's great for some purposes as described in the article, but it's far from perfect. Here's hoping time will help change that.

  25. veno8mm
    February 19, 2014 at 4:13 am

    Spell. Because im dumb. And sometimes autocorrect just gives up tryong to gess what im typing. It is awesome

  26. Adrian
    February 13, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Try. "Show me the traffic"

  27. Ty
    January 28, 2014 at 2:51 am

    If I Ask Ok Google To Call My Phone Will The Number Show On Billing StatemNt? I Ask Because I Was ToLd It DOes Not.

  28. someone says
    December 16, 2013 at 1:25 am

    Execute audible opens the app, but that's as far as I can get it

  29. Wassim Taher
    December 15, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    You can also say "open application name" to load any application installed on your device.

  30. Zero
    December 15, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Hello Folks I have found the word "Explain".... seems to work at least sometimes, it sometimes gives a verbal explanation other times it Wiki's.

    CB: I already have a model of Spouse 2 but I am afraid its old tech now they have gone out of production the manufacvturer is not intending to make a new version

  31. Zero
    December 15, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Hello Folks I have found the word "Explain".... seems to work at least sometimes, it sometimes gives a verbal explanation other times it Wiki's.

    CB: I already have a model of Spouse 2 but I am afraid its old tech now they have gone out of production the manufacvturer is not intending to make a new version

  32. Zero
    December 15, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Hello Folks I have found the word "Explain".... seems to work at least sometimes, it sometimes gives a verbal explanation other times it Wiki's.

    CB: I already have a model of Spouse 2 but I am afraid its old tech now they have gone out of production the manufacvturer is not intending to make a new version

  33. Zero
    December 15, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Hello Folks I have found the word "Explain".... seems to work at least sometimes, it sometimes gives a verbal explanation other times it Wiki's.

    CB: I already have a model of Spouse 2 but I am afraid its old tech now they have gone out of production the manufacvturer is not intending to make a new version

  34. Anonymous
    December 15, 2013 at 6:34 am

    Hello Folks I have found the word "Explain".... seems to work at least sometimes, it sometimes gives a verbal explanation other times it Wiki's.

    CB: I already have a model of Spouse 2 but I am afraid its old tech now they have gone out of production the manufacvturer is not intending to make a new version

  35. Anonymous
    December 15, 2013 at 6:34 am

    Hello Folks I have found the word "Explain".... seems to work at least sometimes, it sometimes gives a verbal explanation other times it Wiki's.

    CB: I already have a model of Spouse 2 but I am afraid its old tech now they have gone out of production the manufacvturer is not intending to make a new version

  36. Jay
    December 1, 2013 at 11:46 am


    Thanks for the summary.

  37. Will
    November 23, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Ask Google Now, how much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood and she will tell you.

    • Yaara L
      November 24, 2013 at 10:30 am

      That shes does! She's smart. :)

    • Daniel
      December 31, 2013 at 12:08 pm


  38. Juspar
    November 20, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Has anyone found a way to change settings? eg. Turn wifi off; set volume to vibrate?

  39. Mark M
    November 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    ^^laughin' at cb's comments^^....
    but somewhere deep down in a basement at the Google Corp. some underpaid techie's goin'..."hhuuummmm" I wonder....

    • charlie
      May 7, 2015 at 6:12 am

      For theGoogle people deep down in the basement, let's not forget the totally blind person who cannot see the screen to "tap" or "move" anything on the screen. Let's not get away from the speech to activate and call numbers by speech only. Belive me, there are millions of blind in the US that cannot use a phone with a glass face. Let's be thoughtful.

  40. Henk van Setten
    November 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    In a few years from now, Android 5.0 will get even more advanced features.
    Rumors are that Google's UI designers have developed a radically new take on how to interact with your phone. In the future, the screen will show little customizable images (they will be called "icons") that can immediately activate any dedicated command with just one simple tap from your fingertip -- without having to stumble around yelling commands and having to yell them again when they're misunderstood.
    This really advanced interface would allow us to execute commands in complete silence, without bystanders even noticing what you're doing!
    It's a pity we'll still have to wait a few years for this tremendous improvement.

    • cb
      November 18, 2013 at 4:50 am

      Sounds good but still manual. The feature I'm waiting to work is spouse 2.0. You say "make me dinner" and it does. Version 1.0 works some of the time, but you keep having to add "please", and it takes about 30 years to work out what you actually like for dinner.

    • Erika
      December 3, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      Did all this come true?!

  41. Don Gateley
    November 16, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    Love it! I said ok, Google to get the list and said one of the examples, "play some Paloma Faith" and it translated that to "play some cum on her face." Honest!

  42. Víktor
    November 16, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    You say Music & TV don't work worldwide. In fact, I'm in Western Europe and only works (when in English): open something; call someone (pronouncing the name in an English accent, of course!).

    So, I'd say almost nothing works worldwide.

    • Yaara L
      November 17, 2013 at 8:23 am

      I'm in the Western Asia and everything I tried worked for me. I see no reason it shouldn't work in Europe if it works here, but there might be surprises. Which device and version of Android are you using?

  43. Nick Johnson
    November 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Saying "ok google" gives you a nice list of actions you can do.

  44. Joel
    November 16, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I tried this on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (Verizon, Android 4.3) this morning and if I say "Navigate to so-and-so" or "Navigate to Contact: So and so" it doesn't work. If you can tell me how it's accomplished, I'd be most grateful.

    • Julie Nicole
      September 2, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      You can save their address as a custom location in Google maps. They're separate apps, like GNow v. GSearch, so you have to adjust the settings from within Maps. I searched for the addresses on Maps then added the location from the actual map screen and not from settings. Not sure if there is another way but it worked for me.

  45. Joel
    November 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Of course! I already have their addresses in the contact information. It still has not worked for me to date. If this is something that has changed, I'll be delighted to find out about it.

  46. Joel
    November 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Is there a way to get Navigation to provide directions to a contact's address yet? If so, I'd love to learn how. When I say "Navigate" to "[Contact's name]", it doesn't work.

    • Matt
      November 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      You have to set an address for them in your contacts.

  47. Gary F Moody
    November 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    I use the FIND command often and it is super helpful...
    Pizza, Italian Food, Gas Station, Movies, Person's Name, Calories in a slice of pepperoni pizza, The time in (city/country), Ounces in a Gallon, website URL, Directions to (location), Amazing Android Applications, and finally "Why Android is Better than Apple".

    • Yaara L
      November 17, 2013 at 8:21 am


  48. Brian
    November 16, 2013 at 9:39 am

    "The only real downside with both these features is that Google doesn’t do a very good job understanding names if they’re not regular English names."

    You can set a phonetic name in Google contacts.

    • Yaara L
      November 17, 2013 at 8:21 am

      My names are written in English, and I use the phonetic name field sometimes. But it just doesn't do a good job in recognizing them when I say them.

    • asdfasd
      December 1, 2013 at 7:39 am

      noone cares about non english things :D

  49. Dishon
    November 16, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Ask Google "make me a sandwich" and you'll get a funny reply. ;)
    One thing I found is that it understands what we are asking. For example we can ask "Who is Emma Watson" and next we can simply ask "How old is she" without having to repeat the name again and so on.

    • Lee
      November 18, 2013 at 12:17 am

      The second part of that joke is "sudo make me a sandwhich" and it will say "OK"

    • Queen Sage12
      March 9, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      What are we talking about

  50. will
    November 15, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    you can also just say OK Google and it should shoe you a list. sorta hire like siri works.

  51. Jon
    November 15, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    This is great!

    • Queen Sage12
      March 9, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      yes it is