Lost Google Home Assistant commands

Google did (quietly) become more restrictive in what utterances trigger the fan speeds a few weeks back, and we had to scramble to get typical utterances working again.

What we noticed was “set fan speed to two” worked, but “set fan to speed two” had stopped working.

We updated the “speed aliases” to include a much larger list, with “speed 1” being on it (but perhaps we need to add “speed one” also). We will check today and see if they’ve changed things again. @joaoricardo FYI

Yes very frustrating if you had this in a routine and then it stopped working (whereas with voice you can always adapt to saying something new that GH comes to prefer.)

Two things you can try:

  1. change “one” to “1”
  2. remove “the”

Why would “the” make a difference? I don’t know why, but it did for me: Google Home Tip: Don't Say "the" - YouTube

(What’s really strange is that, as @joaoricardo pointed out to me, the assistant responds with “the”!)

I hear you. That’s this world of AI we are entering… it evolves without anyone actually changing anything or understanding what’s going on! But practically, we’ll see if the Google folks have some insight here.

[EDIT: Here’s a quick look at what I’m seeing works / dones’t work right now]

@Mahhhky Here’s a few more results from my experiments. We will see if we can improve the situation through more tweaks, but this is what we see right now:

utterance result
Set family fan to speed 1 OK
set family fan to speed 2 OK
set family fan to low OK
set family fan to low speed OK
set family fan to high OK
set the family fan to high OK
set the family fan to low OK
set the family fan to low speed OK
set the family fan speed to one BAD (web search)
set the family fan to speed one BAD (web search) [EDIT: fixed now!]
turn family fan speed to one BAD (web search)
turn the family fan speed to one BAD (web search)
turn the family fan to speed one BAD (web search) [EDIT: fixed now!]
turn the family fan to one BAD (turns ON the fan, but doesn’t set to Speed 1)
turn family fan to speed one OK
turn family fan to low OK
turn the family fan to low OK

thanks, Chris. Apologies if my tone came across a little snarky. Just a pet peeve of mine where everything in my smart home is working fine for months; I come back after a few days away, and gremlins have appeared inexplicably in the system (Phillips Hue lights are the primary culprits of this).

With my Bond, the first couple of weeks were a little bumpy but after a firmware update, everything has been rock solid from that point onwards, so I had come to ‘trust’ it. I kind of felt I had been betrayed! :slight_smile:

I was going to ask if you could post examples of known working commands, but I’ve seen you’ve done just that already, so thanks.

One other data point for you. At first I repeatedly tried the command “set the fan speed to one” and it said ‘I’m not sure how to help with that’. One time when I tried that same command, it actually responded in the affirmative, but set the fan speed to TWO. I thought maybe it had misheard me, but I just checked my Google Assistant log:

Said set the fan speed to one
Sorry, I’m not sure how to help with that.
But I’m always learning.
Sure, setting Fan speed to 2.

Don’t know what to make of that. It didn’t actually verbalize the “Sorry… I’m always learning” part either

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Very odd. All I can say is, GH really is always learning!

Does anyone make a smart speaker that is not always learning, and just supports a bunch of voice commands for controlling smart home gadgets? Seems to me that could be quite simple to implement (closed set of utterances), be totally offline, and not break randomly. :thinking:

Also, @joaoricardo just deployed a tweak that wins us back the “set the family fan to speed one” and “turn the family fan to speed one” utterances. You just need to ask google “sync my devices” and you may notice an improvement.

thank you @merck and @joaoricardo. I assume that “family” there is just your own particular room assignment, and I don’t have to say that, verbatim? Do I now need to state my own room assignment (which I didnt need to do previously)?

[EDIT: No!] “family fan” is the name I gave to the device in the Bond Home app. The fan also happens to be in a room that I called “family room”, but I don’t think that is relevant to GH at this point.

Also, I haven’t tried this yet, but presumably as a workaround one could just set up a routine triggered by a now-inoperative command (your example “turn the family fan to one”) but the action performed is one of the ‘good’ ones (“turn the family fan to speed one”).

Kind of grind to maintain a routine just for this but I’m a creature of habit and will probably struggle to relearn new commands

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ISY controllers allow you to set specific utterances (and a few synonym / alternative utterances) for GH (or Alexa) which then you can have run local based programs on the ISY (such as my Bond API integration commands), or do local device control directly.
Would be interesting to see if Bond or other devices wanted to give that option a try. Harder on consumer at least for the initial setup, and 100% not sure if the back end is easier or more capable for the device manufacturers, but the upside is a much higher stability factor, in my opinion.

I moved houses recently and while I don’t have all my integrations / devices set back up, I did set Bond up and did the direct GH integration just to test the differences; I think I’ll go back to my ISY GH integration and remove the direct Bond integration soon.

That would be a Custom Skill, correct? So, you need an invocation word as in “Hey Google | Alexa, tell ISY to do XXX_ARBITRARY_UTTERANCE_XXX”, right?

We ditched an early Custom Skill and moved to the Smart Home Skill because of the improved cognitive ease without the invocation word. (Plus, people expect to see the device appear in the Google Home / Alexa apps and control from that UI alongside other devices.)

I suppose I over-simplified.
They map to smart home devices, so I end up using “turn on” for nearly everything as the invocation word (though I don’t have to say ‘tell ISY to…’). Shows up in the Google Home app, can be assigned to rooms, etc.
Probably not optimal for a wider audience, but works well for me.
Now, is it weird to ‘train’ myself to say “turn on main garage” / “turn on side garage” (instead of open / close garage doors), “turn on daylight” . “turn on warm light” (instead of set color temperature to XYZ) etc?

Anyways, if you’re curious: https://wiki.universal-devices.com/index.php?title=ISY_Portal_Google_Home_Integration

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Hello @merck and @joaoricardo; I’ve noticed this morning that I’ve now lost the ability to “set [blind] to favorite position”, which mimicked the Somfy ‘my’ button.

Is there a command that still works to activate ‘my’? If so, I’ll add it to a routine triggered by the phrase above, which is the workaround I’m using for the issue I reported in the OP above.


We will check into it within the next day. Nothing changed on our side, but we may need to tweak things again to keep up with the AI :slight_smile:

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@Mahhhky, indeed we try here and “set to favorite position” doesn’t seem to work anymore with Google Home. The assistant does a web search instead. We will do some experiments… we may need to add other ways of saying it that work around Google’s propensity to send you to their search engine.


Thanks @merck. I have precisely zero idea how, when a manufacturer creates a new device, a button is bound to a Google Home command. But I assume Google has stock phrases like ‘open’ (which you map to the up button), ‘close’ (which you map to down)… is there perhaps another stock phrase (like ‘shift’) that you can map to the Somfy MY button?

Thanks again

Try “Set [blind] to preset”. This seems to work on our end as of now.

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thanks, will try that when I get a chance.

To anyone else reading this thread, if you miss the old “set [blind] to favourite position” command, you should just be able to set that up as a phrase to trigger a GH routine, with the action being “Set [blind] to preset”.

Voila, original phrase restored


Just to add more info on this, Google now supports the following phrases as well:

"Set <shades> to preset"
"Set <shades> to preset mode"

"Set <shades> to favorite"
"Set <shades> to favorite mode"

"Set <shades> to my"
"Set <shades> to my mode"

In case this is a useful data point… The “favorite” expressions seem to have stopped working for me altogether, but they do still work for my fiancée.

I’ve been scratching my head about this, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because my GH is personalised to British English (I’m British). So when I speak the phrase, it resolves to “favoUrite” (I can see this on the screen of my Nest Hub).

If I type the command with the American spelling without the ‘u’, it works just fine. And my (American) fiancee has little difficulty using it, at least when she can navigate around the tricky wording (“favourite position” used to work but not any longer etc)

Okay I’ll relay this to the engineer who maintains the integrations.

So for a while it was working fine with your British English setting?

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Seems that way, yeah. But I might have caused confusion by myself from setting up some Google home routines on this a few weeks back.

I’ve now adjusted my routines so that the expression “set [blind] to favourite” or “…to favourite position” (i.e. British pronunciation/ spelling) triggers the action ‘set [blind] to favorite’ (i.e. the American spelling). Haven’t yet been able to do a full set of tests across both blinds with both phrases, but an initial test worked perfectly first time.

So it does seem like there is some region/ language specificity here.

Anyway, hope that’s useful for you for any future development