[OBSOLETE] Google Home Helper (2016)

I am pleased to announce the Google Home Helper, a ‘branch’ of my Alexa Helper app which allows you to more tightly integrate your Google Home Assistant Device with SmartThings.

First, let me thank the beta testers for guiding me through this development process. They challenged me to not only produce something as useful as Alexa Helper, but to use my lessons learned from Ask Alexa to ‘spice up’ the interface.

Just like Alexa Helper, this app allows you to tie switches (usually virtual switches) to functions within your SmartThings environment. Want to lock a door, set the heat, or close the garage (things the Google Home can’t do natively)? Simply create a virtual switch within the app, tie it to a function, and away you go! In addition, unlike Alexa Helper, the IFTTT site allows for even deeper integration and custom feedback with Google Home. In addition, you don’t actually have to use the On or Off commands when using IFTTT. Just set up an IFTTT recipe, tie it to a virtual switch action, and now you can say things like, “Ok Google, Good Night” and have all kinds of actions happen.

To get started, please follow the instructions here:


Finally, like Ask Alexa I set up a Slack channel to facilitate real-time support of this app. You must be invited to this channel at https://GoogleHomeHelper.slack.com, but this will allow us to do troubleshooting in real time if necessary.

These are still a work in progress as some of the screen shots don’t exactly match the app.
As always, this is a lot of work for me, so if you find this useful, think of karma and send a little donation my way: PayPal.Me


@MichaelS thanks very much for your work on this! I have a question, and please, I sincerely don’t mean this as any type of criticism. Currently, I have an IFTTT recipe set up so that when I say “Goodnight” IFTTT throws a virtual switch. There is a CoRE piston that then triggers. I’m wondering what capabilities your app offers beyond that?

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No offense at all…for your example, there is no advantage as you already have the pieces working. However, some people actually dislike the size and complexity of CoRE and are not as skilled at creating virtual switches. So, here are some of the things that my app does:

  1. Allows you create the virtual switch without going into the IDE. Either momentary or dimmer
  2. The dimmer (Google Switch) allows for a ‘stateless’ condition. Basically, it keeps you from running into an ‘out of sync’ condition with your switches where a virtual switch will not turn something on because the switch is already on and won’t react to the on command
  3. Allows you to set up unique conditions that might be a bit more complex to accomplish for a noob CoRE user.
  4. Allows you to set up heating set points for things like baseboard heaters
  5. Allows you to set up limits to prevent misunderstandings if the app hear 53 degrees instead of 83 degrees

As you have probably seen, IFTTT doesn’t react (sometimes) immediately to triggers, where directly connecting to switches locally will. You still have to use the context of on or off to control the switch, but with creative naming that isn’t usually an issue. And, you CAN use this app with IFTTT to set up the switch and the actions within one app.

At the end of the day some people won’t install this as it is simply not needed. But if you want something simple to set up and control, this is a way to do that.

Let me know if that explains it well enough.


Yes @MichaelS that explains it nicely, thanks!

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Does this also mean that the dimmer/switch will update it’s state if someone uses the Sonos App to control the speaker?

e.g. If My wife uses the Sonos app (or third party controller like Google Music casted to speaker) to pause the music, ST will eventually know the speaker is paused - thus making it necessary for the dimmer/switch to turn off.

I set up a Core Piston to monitor the state of the Speaker so as to update the Switch, but I was getting caught in a loop. music would play for 1 second and then pause. I’m cleaning up some of my older formulas for control to see if it was my doing.

I also set up IFTTT to give me alternate voice commands to control the GH dimmer/switch. Will it one day be possible for Your app to customize voice commands?

The virtual switch doesn’t update its state based on the speaker but will allow you to control the speaker based on perceived state…what this means is that if the speaker is on it is perceived by you that the virtual switch is on… however it may actually be off…the stateless ability allows a switch that is off to still pass the off signal to the speaker. Hard to explain but hope that clears it up a bit.

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Pardon the full on noob question, but what does the play button do? for that matter what does it do in any Smart App?

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That button does nothing…it appears sometimes randomly on different applications…Not sure why, but it doesn’t do a thing.


Looks like a great app. I am getting a Google Home for Christmas. So getting ready :). I want to set up routines like Good morning and Goodnight to start with. I am a little confused. If I use Google Home Helper, do I still need to set up a Applet in IFTTT? Or does Google Home Helper do that for me … or maybe it doesn’t need an IFTTT Applet? I know through IFTTT you can set up to 3 phrases. I do not see a way to do that using your app?

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Yes…Google Home Helper uses the fact that you can control virtual switches like regular switches. The app will allow some creative names for the switches which will allow you to do more than simple turn things on and off…such as running routines or opening/closing a garage door. IFTTT is not technically needed, except for the fact that you will probably want virtual switches to interface IFTTT, which Google Home Helper can help create for you.

Thanks. So I am correct in using Google Home Helper to create the switch and link to the ST Routine, and then creating a IFTTT applet to give me more voice options? Sent a donation by the way … looks to be worth every penny :slight_smile:

I sent you a note on e-mail…thank you for the donation!

I answer your question, however, you CAN link it to a routine or create a ‘scenario’ that is tripped when the switch goes off (internal to the app…no need for IFTTT). It is much easier to understand once you install the app. In fact you technically don’t need Google Home Helper to install and play with the app (you will just need to trip the virtual switch to test it).

Hope that helps.

I’m a noobie to ST but installed the Google Home Helper last week. I use a Honeywell 9500 WiFi thermostat. I found that a phrase such as “OK Google, raise temperature by 2 degrees” works and does increase the thermostat temperature…however, I also noticed that it puts the thermostat in a permanent hold rather than raising the temp for the currently scheduled time period.

We have our thermostat set to be lower at night time and higher during the day when we are home. By setting the temp to permanent hold means that it ignores our scheduled time periods.

Is there a different phrase that will raise the temperature for the current period only and then follow the schedule thereafter? I had been using an IFTTT routine that allowed me to raise the temperature for 1 hour only and then resume the schedule but would prefer to eliminate IFTTT routines if this can be done via Google Home Helper.

This is a function of the thermostat…not my app…any program that manually changes the temperature will probably exhibit this behavior.


I have a Tado thermostat.
Not sure if you have done this but I have set up ST -> Tado integration via IFTTT.
I have various recipes that turn heating up to 22, 23, off and auto etc.
When I set these up I get a ‘for how long option’.
I use ‘until next automatic change’.
This basically means the heating will be at, say, 23, until the next schedule kicks in and then it goes back to my Tado schedule that is set up through the Tado app.
Not sure if you can do this with a Honeywell.

Thank you @MichaelS and @bobbles. I was hoping that there was a phrase that I simply hadn’t figured out. I know that IFTTT allows me to set temperature and time duration (e.g. “set temperature to 70 degrees for 1 hour”). I didn’t know if there was some type phrase via GHH that would be similar. Also, IFTTT allows me to issue a “resume” command that resumes the current schedule. I’ll keep using IFTTT for now since it seems to be specific to that particular thermostat.

Sorry I should have said that I do speak to GH to do the above actions.
I will say “Hey Google, set heating to 23/off/auto”.
It then uses gh ->ifttt->tado integration

Thank you @bobbles. Yes, I do the same. Thanks for the clarification.

As a follow-up in case anyone else has this same issue with their Honeywell thermostat…I created a IFTTT that simply issues a “resume” command at the same time each evening so in case anyone else in the household changes the temp it won’t be in a permanent hold status overnight.

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Any hope to get Smartthings to play sound on Google Home using it as a speaker?
For example: Start playing a playlist when you get home or play music at full volume if front door camera detect movement while you’re away.

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