Whether you’re new to the Google Home smart home ecosystem or have been using associated smart speakers from the start, you may be aware that it can be used to broadcast a message to smart speakers in your home. Or that it can be used as an intercom system. But, because it isn’t necessarily the most intuitive process, you may not be well apprised with regards to exactly how the feature is used.
This guide sets out to show you how you can use your Google Home smart home and smart speakers to communicate across devices. Better still, as with many of our smart home guides, your speakers don’t even need to be made by Google for this to work. They only need to be compatible with and linked to your Google Home-run smart home ecosystem. So let’s get started.
Ensure proper setup first
The first step in using Google Home-compatible speakers and devices as an intercom system is, of course, to ensure that they’re part of the smart home, to begin with. The setup process for Assistant and Google Home is fairly straightforward, with each device effectively using the same method, as of this writing.
Summarily, you’ll need to ensure that all of your smart home devices are set up on the proper network. And that they’re in the Google Home ecosystem that you plan to use for your broadcast functionality.
Use your Google Home speakers and devices as an intercom with Broadcast
Once your smart home gadgets are set up properly, the next step is to actually use the broadcast feature.
Now, some guides may indicate that you need two or more smart speakers in your home to use your Google gadgets as an intercom via broadcast. That’s not strictly true.
To that end, the first part of this guide will note how the feature can be used from your smartphone. That is, just so long as you also have a smart speaker to use as well. Later on, we’ll discuss how to use just the smart speakers or just Google Assistant. So if you’re looking for that explicitly, you may want to skip ahead to the next segment.
- On your phone, open up the Google Home app
- If you happen to have more than one smart home that you’re a part of, you’ll want to ensure that you’re currently on the home page for the smart home ecosystem you’d like to broadcast to. That can be accomplished via a tap on the title at the top of the home UI. In our sample images, that’s where it says “Daniel and Robin”
- After ensuring that you’re in the correct home, tap the Broadcast button at the top right-hand side of the UI
- Google Assistant will pop up and ask “What’s the message,” record a message or, conversely, tap the keyboard at the bottom right-hand corner to type a message. If you record a message, it will be broadcast in your voice. Otherwise, Google Assistant will read the message in the voice you’ve selected by default
- Once another user chooses to respond to the message, the connection will function more akin to an intercom than to a one-to-one broadcast
Use just your voice to broadcast via your Google Home
In terms of broadcasting touch-free, that’s also easily accomplished so long as the system is set up properly. And, best of all, it can be done via your phone. Although it does work best if you’re using a multi-speaker arrangement.
In terms of how, exactly, that works, all that’s required is the “Hey, Google” or “Okay, Google” command, followed by the right voice control. Below, we’ll provide some examples to help you get started.
- Start, as noted above, by saying either “Hey, Google” or “Okay, Google” within hearing range of a smart speaker or your Assistant-enabled smartphone, or tablet — or other associated devices. Then, use any of the following commands to inform the Assistant that you have a message to broadcast
- “Tell everyone”
- Follow that command directly with the message you’d like to send. For example, you may choose to tell Google to “Broadcast breakfast is ready.” The Assistant will then play “breakfast is ready” over your home’s smart speakers
It’s worth pointing out the biggest potential caveats …so here those are
Now, as noted above, broadcasting will work with just one speaker, if done from a phone. But there is a big caveat to how this works. Namely, if you choose to broadcast and have more than one smart speaker or broadcast-enabled gadget, it will play on all of those initially. For example, if you have multiple speakers around the house, in the bathroom, bedrooms, and kitchen, each of those will play the broadcast message.
For the system to work as a fully-functioning intercom, somebody near one of those gadgets must use the speaker to respond to the message. Namely, by using the “reply” or “send a reply” command. Then, subsequent messages will go between those devices.
On the other hand, the broadcast also won’t work with speakers that are in Do Not Disturb mode via Downtime. That’s a feature associated with Digital Wellbeing that keeps things quiet during set hours if that’s been set up.