Setting up Google Assistant to do practical things is surprisingly easy. In this tutorial I set up spoken commands to track events in a spreadsheet.
If you have a newborn, then you know it’s important to make sure they eat enough and often enough. After we got home from the hospital with our little one, my wife and I tracked our baby’s food by making handwritten notes of the start and stop time, how much our baby ate and if it was breastmilk or formula. It was super frustrating to keep track of the baby while keeping the bottle in the right position, the pen and notebook handy, a writing surface nearby, but not in the way, where is the clock, and remembering how much food was in the bottle when you started. Clearly, some sort of hands-free solution was needed and I immediately thought of our Google speaker.
Google assistant on the Google speaker is really useful as a speech to text service, so when I say “Ok Google” followed by a key phrase, it will recognize what I said, translate that into text and allow other programs to process that text.
I’ll need a program like Google’s web-based spreadsheet program Google Sheets to keep track of detailed notes. A separate service IFTTT (pronounced “ift”) which stands for “if this then that” will act as the glue bringing these programs together.
The basic idea here is I want to say a key phrase like “Ok Google, the baby has started a bottle”, then I want the process to create a new line in a specific spreadsheet in Google Sheets, noting the new bottle and the date and time. Then i want the speaker to acknowledge that it understood what I said; something like “num num nummy”.
The concepts here can translate to almost any job where it would be advantageous to do a repetitive, digital task hands-free. I recommend playing around with IFTTT and have some fun with it.
Here are the links that you’ll need to get started:
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