So you've got a couple (or more) Google Home or Google Assistant powered speakers dotted around the house? Maybe a Home Mini upstairs, Home Max in the lounge.
Well, that means you can use them to communicate within the house - kind of. Read on to find out what you can and can't do to chat with Google Home.
Can you use Google Home as an intercom?
You might have seen headlines saying things like 'Google Home is now an intercom'. Well, it's not. You can broadcast a message from one speaker to another, or all other speakers, but you can't have a two way conversation via the smart speakers - at least not yet.
This issue has been addressed this on Google's forum pretty recently. On 2 March, a user asked if you can use it as an intercom and 'rising star' sandieann replied:
"There is no true intercom feature for Google Home at this time, and I'm not aware that any announcement has been made to expect such a feature. You may already be aware that Broadcast can be used in a clunky fashion to achieve a conversation. Note that it does Broadcast to all Google Home devices on your network, it's not a point to point intercom."
The Amazon Echo meanwhile allows you to Drop In to a specific Alexa device from inside or outside the home or broadcast an announcement from one speaker to all other speakers. Drop In is like a call or two-way intercom and is used for Alexa devices within your app but you can also add friends and family.
How to use Google Broadcast
There's not much extra you need to set up to start broadcasting - most of it will probably have been set up when you got your smart speakers.
You just need two or more Google Home speakers, all on the same Wi-Fi network and with someone's Google account signed in on each of them. Oh, and they can't be set to Do Not Disturb. Anyone, including guests, can do a broadcast.
When you do a broadcast, though, it's worth noting that it will play on all speakers that are signed into the same Google account as the speaker you're speaking into - except the one you're speaking into of course. You can also broadcast from Google Assistant on your phone.
When it comes to two way chat, the "clunky fashion" referred to above means that you could listen to a Google Home Broadcast message then respond with your own Broadcast - but obviously both messages would go to all smart speakers in the house. Not a problem if you've only got two we guess but still not an intercom.
Quite a few people on the internet are asking for this, particularly since those misleading headlines, so we expect Google is working to bring this feature out. Especially as Alexa got there first.
Google Broadcast commands to try
If you just want to use your Google Home as a PA system, there are a few ways you can do it. So if breakfast's ready, say:
- Hey Google, broadcast breakfast is ready
- Hey Google, shout breakfast is ready
- Hey Google, tell everyone breakfast is ready
- Hey Google, announce breakfast is ready
Google also has a few suggestions on what you could use its Broadcast feature for. For some weird reason, if you use these exact phrases, the message also broadcasts on the speaker you're broadcasting from.
- Hey Google, broadcast wake up everyone
- Hey Google, shout it's time for dinner
- Hey Google, tell everyone it's time to leave
- Hey Google, announce I'm home
- Hey Google, shout sleep time
- Hey Google, tell everyone the show is about to start
- Hey Google, broadcast I'll be home soon (from Google Assistant on your mobile)