Make your own Google Assistant – Turn your home into Smart Home


Sometime ago, PDA personal digital assistants became popular before mobile wave came. Now it is time for SDA (smart digital assistant) On Oct 4, Google launched Google Home mini and Max speakers which make use of Google assistant at background. From tomorrow Oct 19, these speakers are available for sale in 7 countries costing 49 USD.

Google is little behind the race as Amazon launched similar Echo series speakers a year ago. Now Google is getting siri-ous and Echoed other competitors. Microsoft is also in fray with Cortana. In addition hardware vendors like Samsung and Sonos are in the SDA race.

In this blog, we shall see how to make a similar SDA from Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry pi as GA

Required items:



Speakers (3.5 mm or HDMI)

LED (to mimic smart home devices)

Of course, Raspberry Pi


Google Account

Node js

Python (preferably anaconda environment)

Architecture Diagram:

This architecture diagram depicts the input from the user via mic and GA processes it, IFTTT receives the htoword and triggers the Node server command, which calls python program to turn on or off the LED. However architecture is flexible in a way that each component can work independently as well. That means, node server separately trigger LED, Python program separately trigger LED.. and also they work together as well.


  1. Setting up microphone and Speakers for raspberry PI
  2. Setting up Node js and python in Pi
  3. Setting Google assistant API
  4. Circuit and LED toggle
  5. Setting up actions using IFTTT and ngrok
  6.  Integrate and test

Step 1: Setting up Mic and speaker:

Raspberry PI does not have inbuilt microphone to capture voices. So let us use USB microphone to get the voice commands.  I used this one bought from Amazon India costing 680 rupees.

From the raspberry pi terminal, type the below command to list the audio capturing devices.

arecord -l

Please check the device id from the command. It will be like USB PnP sound device. By default in built sound card will be o, this new USB mic will have card number as 1 and device id as 0.

Other way to check this is to give below command


This opens the window, where one can see USB PnP sound card

Since it is new card, we need to modify the default sound configuration file

edit the existing sound configuration file by typing command

sudo nano /etc/asound.conf

Based on configuration, if anyone uses more than one devices, just find card number and device number and modify this file under mic. Here I sued pcm”hw:1,0″

copy the same file to /home/pi as well

Now check the setup by recording sample and confirm microphone is working

arecord –format=S16_LE –duration=5 –rate=16k –file-type=wav out.wav

After recording playback the recording by typing command

aplay out.wav

Check the speaker by typing command

speaker-test -t wav

Step 2: Setting up python and nodejs environment

Give the below commands from home directory (/home/pi) one by one

Step 3:  Enabling Google assistant cloud project

In this step, we shall create google assistant client id  and credentials from Google cloud platform

From Google Cloud platform (GCP), create a new project, store the project id. Then connect to Google Assistant API from API Manager  , after that enable the activities web, app, device and voice.

Then get the credentials from OAuth screen. Download the JSON file that stores the OAuth key information and transfer it to raspberry Pi.

Then run the below command

(genv) google-oauthlib-tool –client-secrets PATH_TO_YOUR_JSON_FILE –scope –save –headless

headless need to added if you are running from remote ssh terminal.

After this you will re-direct a permission page, where one has to give “allow” permission.

Step 4: Connecting LED. In raspberry PI GPIO pin 23 need to be connected to positive leg of  led and ground of led to ground pin Raspi

Check LED is working or not by running this script

Step 5: Setting up IFTTT and ngrok

In this step , we need to run node server which will listen on a specific port . I used the code from KylPeacock.

This script internally invokes the above python script to turn on or off the LED using python-shell command.

However Node server is running on local instance, while Google assistant is running on cloud. so we need to get internet URL.

I used ngrok to get the IP address by typing below command, which will provide internet IP address.

./ngrok http 8000

Now Google assistant need to invoke this URL whenever key word (like Toggle lights) is said. For this we will use Webhook to assign trigger and action. Login into IFTTT website, choose google assistant , then choose  say a simple phrase, after that choose webhook for making trigger

Click save .

using postman, one can test whether LED is changing status by running this URL.

Step 6

Integrate all and test – LED, speaker, Microphone, Node server, IFTTT, Google assistant by issuing this command

python -m googlesamples.assistant.grpc.pushtotalk

This is the output from the command prompt when “Toggle lights” is said

Other advantage of using Google assistant is any device that runs Google assistant can control this device now. For example, I ran the command from my mobile phone, to get the same result

Next steps:

Since we are able to control remotely LEDs, we can build many such assistant programs

For example, I am planning to build Talking mirror – which I will use to deliver news items while I am shaving.

Or build many transactions like Reservations, room booking, ordering a cake etc.. are the other possible usecases for this assistant.

Google suggests  to build actions from Dialogflow,or actions SDK which will be used in such complicated solutions.

What are you going to build ?

In India, Google Home Mini is not yet available, however they are available in 7countries from last week.



Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *