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Curious about smart home devices? Start here.
How to set up a connected, automated, and secure smart home.

The biggest choice when figuring out how to set up a smart home may be where to begin.

Turning your home into a connected space can have loads of benefits for most households – making the day run more smoothly, staying connected to one another, helping save energy, and keeping your home safe and secure. And most devices are easy to set up with Fast Pair for Matter devices, so creating a smart home is simpler than you might expect.1

The Cook family’s smart home started with a gift. John Cook wanted his wife to have an easy way to listen to music when she was getting ready for the day. So he got her a Nest Audio speaker, which has Google Assistant built in, to let her use her voice to play music. Soon, the whole family was asking Google for the weather and news instead of reaching for their phones. 

Shortly after, the Cooks bought a Nest Hub Max for the kitchen and then added more speakers throughout the house. They topped it off with a Nest Thermostat, a smart lock and doorbell, and more. 

“At the beginning, you go, ‘Wow, this is really cool,’ but then after a while it’s part of your daily life,” Cook says.

Here’s how to choose the Google devices that are right for you, connect them with other products, and automate your home with confidence.

Turning your household into a smart home makes the day run more smoothly, keeps you connected to one another, helps save energy, and keeps your home safe and secure. Getting started: Is your wireless internet strong enough?

First things first: The foundation of any smart home is strong and secure Wi-Fi that blankets the space and keeps smart home devices running smoothly. If you’re not sure whether your signal is sufficient, use this speed test to find out whether you need to boost your Wi-Fi with Nest Wifi or Nest Wifi Pro. They work by pairing a router with points around the house, increasing your network’s strength and reducing dead zones.2 As you add devices, use the speed test to make sure your connection remains stable. 

Choosing and setting up devices

Once you know your internet can support your smart home, building it out is easier than ever thanks to Matter and Thread. Matter is a new universal language for smart home devices that ensures they work better together, while Thread improves the connections between them. 

Automations keep daily life on track

A smart home can take care of tasks, running home automations that are tailored to you. Automations extend how you use your Google devices, helping you run your home seamlessly through your Nest Hub (2nd gen), Google Pixel Tablet, or other devices.3,,,4

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Automations set up through the Google Home app can work with thousands of compatible devices. Here are some ways automations can help you get more done and have fun4:

  • Let the devices handle basic tasks. Your smart home can help start your day off right. Create an automation that turns on your coffee maker every day at 7 AM with a compatible smart switch and sets an alarm for an early morning workout. When you head out for an afternoon break, automatically send your robot vacuum out to clean your floors. While everyone’s away, your devices can sweep up so you return to a tidy home.3,,,4

  • Help save energy. The Nest Thermostat and Nest Learning Thermostat are packed with proven energy-saving features, turning down when you’re away so you don’t waste energy on an empty home.3,,,5 Nest thermostats are designed to work in most homes without a C wire. And this compatibility checker can help you determine if your heating and cooling system will work with a Nest thermostat based on your existing thermostat wiring. If a Nest thermostat is compatible with your home, installation usually takes 60 minutes or less with a video guide.

  • Keep your home comfortable. With a Matter temperature sensor, your smart home can automatically open or close your compatible smart blinds based on your indoor temperature.3,,,4 As the day progresses, your home helps you stay cool.

  • Turn devices on or off if you forget. Motion sensors can prompt connected lights to turn off after a certain amount of time – like in the garage after you’ve brought in the groceries.3,,,4

  • Set up a series of events. You can also set “device starters” that know what you plan to do when you turn on one smart home device. For example, with a voice command to turn on the TV, a set of actions can also include turning on the lights, setting them to yellow, and dimming the brightness to 50%.3,,,4,,,6A doorbell ring can also serve as a starter:  Set the speaker volume to 50% when it rings, and the porch lights to turn on if it’s after 7 PM. You can also set schedules according to your daily needs and routines.

  • Maintain your lawn and garden so it’s always ready for guests. Whether you’re planning a summer cookout or hosting family and friends for a soiree, the Google Home app can ensure your yard is always ready to entertain. Set a weekly schedule for your smart sprinkler and set up an announcement on your speaker for when the sprinkler is done.3,,,4

Keep your home safe and secure

Smart home devices give you peace of mind by providing an extra eye around the house. Automations will help you take security to the next level.

  • See what’s going on inside and outside your home. The combination of Nest Cams and a Nest Doorbell can let you know that everything is fine at home. The doorbells have a 16:9 view, letting you see visitors or packages head to toe. Use this doorbell compatibility test to see if the battery or wired doorbell is right for you. Nest Cams have you covered for any other areas of interest inside the home or out. Some popular spots are back and side doors, pathways, and hallways.

    Consider adding a Nest Aware subscription that will store video picked up by the doorbell and cameras.7And if you’re elsewhere in the house, where it’s hard to hear the doorbell? Nest Mini and other speakers can be paired with the Nest Doorbell to send the sound throughout the house.

  • Unlock (and lock) your home remotely. At the Cook house, the Nest x Yale Lock on the front door locks automatically after five minutes in case someone forgets.4 You can also create passcodes and get alerts any time the door is unlocked. The lock fits in the same space as most traditional deadbolts and connects to Wi-Fi and the Google Home app through Nest Connect, a dedicated Wi-Fi bridge that you purchase with the lock. You can use the same Nest Connect if you decide to add more locks.

  • Know immediately when smoke or CO becomes a problem. Nest Protect monitors smoke and carbon monoxide levels and connects to the Google Home app, where you can check the battery level. The 5x5-inch device tests itself automatically (400 times a day), knows the difference between smoke and steam, lights your way at night, and lasts up to a decade. Create an automation through the Google Home app to have your smart lights turn red and flash, and your Nest Audio speaker increase its volume to 90% to alert you.3 How many will you need? The National Fire Protection Association and the Consumer Product Safety Commission advise installing alarms around sleeping areas, in stairwells, and in other important areas in your home.

  • Automate safety. Create an automation that connects your Nest Doorbell to conditions such as “between 6 PM and 10 PM,” turning your porch lights on automatically each night. And in the morning, your shades and curtains can routinely open when your outdoor lights turn off.3,,,4

  • Keep an eye on your home at all times. Through the Google Home app, set Home and Away automations so your Nest Cam can notify you if motion is detected when no one is home. Your Pixel Watch can pick up the camera’s live video stream for easy viewing right from your wrist. And when you return, your indoor cameras can turn off automatically.4,,,8

Level up your entertainment

There are so many movies, TV shows, and songs to choose from. Smart speakers and streamers make it easier to find the ones you want, then watch or listen wherever you’d like.

While Nest Audio makes it easy to hear your favorite music on demand, and Nest Hub Max (2nd gen) lets you stream videos, you can also bring it all together for movies and gaming.

  • Let the entertainment follow you from room to room, screen to screen. Using Chromecast with Google TV, you can start watching a movie and continue right where you left off when you go to another room, simply by moving the stream to a different device – from the TV in the family room to the Nest Hub Max in the kitchen, for example.8

  • Find shows quickly and easily. Just ask Chromecast with Google TV for the show or movie you want to watch.8,,,9 It learns from your viewing habits, pulling content from your streaming subscriptions onto one screen and making recommendations based on your subscriptions, viewing history, and content you own. It can also match your mood: Just say, “Show me some funny shows,” or “Show me a scary movie.” Want to watch something from your phone? Chromecast allows you to stream content from other devices connected through Bluetooth.

  • Create an audio system for your entire home. Nest Audio speakers provide powerful sound that responds to the acoustics of the rooms where they’re located. Link Spotify or YouTube Music to play your favorite songs.8,,,9 Two or more speakers will give you stereo sound, or sound from room to room. Nest Mini is a smaller option, good for smaller spaces or less immersive audio (think podcasts and doorbell chimes).

  • Enjoy a family movie night. By connecting smart lights to your Google Home app, you can build an immersive setting while watching a favorite flick.3,,,4,, ,8 Select a specific color palette, or just soften the intensity to create a cozy and comfortable scene. With a starter such as “every Saturday at 8 PM” for a movie night, you can set an automation to dim the den lights, start the TV, and send an announcement to your family (through Nest speakers and displays) to grab their favorite snacks for movie time.

Starting small versus doing it all

The best place to start setting up your smart home is wherever your need or interest is greatest. Over time, you’ll see how adding devices increases the benefits: A Nest Doorbell is a good way to keep tabs on the front door, and when you pair it with a smart lock, you’ll also be able to let someone in. A smart speaker provides help and entertainment on its own; pair it with smart lighting to create automations for the morning and evening that turn the lights on and off.4 And with Nest Hub Max or your Pixel Tablet, you get a central dashboard to manage and sync your devices. 

When is a good time to start? Anytime. Some households have found that moving into a new home is a great opportunity to set up a smart home. And when you’re ready, automations can help expand your smart home by connecting your Google devices to thousands of others through Matter and Thread.

Want help? Bring in a pro.

Most people set up their Nest devices easily using step-by-step audio instructions. But for homeowners who’d like extra help, professional installation through Google partners is available in the US for all Nest products purchased from the Google Store. Installers are background-checked and licensed, and they’re local to your area. You can book an installer through the Google Store.*

Getting started

Ready to get started? This checklist should help you get going:

  • Begin by considering which everyday challenges you’re trying to solve. 

  • Explore Google’s connected home products and select your connected devices.

  • Download the Google Home app and sign in with your Google Account.

  • Plug in your devices and follow the setup instructions in the Google Home app. 

  • If you’d prefer expert assistance, book a professional installer.

  • Use the Google Home app or Nest Hub to manage compatible devices like smart thermostats, lights, and more with your voice.

  • Set up routines to automate your home and complete multiple actions at once.

Takeaways
Start by setting up a strong Wi-Fi network with Nest Wifi or Nest Wifi ProMatter and Thread are protocols that help new devices connect quickly and easilySet up automations to create a more helpful home
Pixel Tablet
Help in your hand. And at home.
Related products
Nest Hub Max
Nest Audio
Nest x Yale Lock
Chromecast with Google TV
Nest Protect smoke and CO alarm
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  1. Requires mobile phone or tablet running Android 8.1+, Google Account, Google Home app, Matter-enabled Google hub device, working Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (4.2) or higher.

  2. Based on use of at least 1 Nest Wifi router and 1 Nest Wifi point. Home size, materials and layout can affect how Wi-Fi signal travels. Larger homes or homes with thicker walls or long, narrow layouts may need extra Wifi points for full coverage. Strength and speed of signal will also depend on your internet provider.

  3. Requires a compatible smart device.

  4. Personalized features require additional enrollment and setup. Routines are for convenience only, not safety- or security-critical use cases.

  5. Google Assistant and some related features are not available in all languages. See g.co/assistant/languages for updates to language availability.

  6. Nest Aware subscription required (sold separately).

  7. Some features, including mobile notifications, remote control, video streaming, and video recording, require working internet and Wi-Fi.

  8. Independent studies conducted in the US showed that Nest thermostats saved people an average of 10% to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling. Individual savings are not guaranteed. Learn more at nest.com/real-savings.

  9. Subscriptions may be required.

*Google does not perform your Pro installation and has no responsibility or liability for the installation. We partner with Handy and OnTech, who are independent of Google. Handy is a platform for home services that connects individuals to professional installation partners, including OnTech, who will install your Google Nest Products. The professional installer connected to you is not an employee, subcontractor, or agent of Google. For your convenience you can pay for your installation through Google Store, but Google accepts the payment on behalf of Handy, whose network of licensed installers perform the installation.