If you have the kind of house or flat that often has people coming and going, all with a claim on the music that's playing, we suggest you get acquainted with Google Home's guest mode.
It's a fairly easy way to let your friends and family get involved with your sweet, Cast-enabled set up without giving them access to everything Google Assistant knows about you – which, let's face it, is probably a hell of a lot.
1. Set up guest mode
The host – AKA someone who lives in the house and has access to the Google Home app and accounts – can set up guest mode pretty quickly. Get on the same Wi-Fi network on both your smartphone and smart speaker and make sure the Google account you're signed into is the same too. Then open up the Google Home app and click on Devices (the gadget-y icon in the top right corner).
Here you'll see device cards for each speaker in the house. In the top-right hand corner of the card, you'll see three dots – that's the Menu so tap that. Go to Guest Mode and slide the slider to On (blue). That's a bingo.
2. Let your guests use it
OK, so Guest Mode is turned on. Now what? One of the nice things about it is that your mates just need to be connected to any Wi-Fi network, or their own 4G data connection, for it to work. They don't need to be on the same Wi-Fi network as the smart speaker, and that's handy.
It works on both iPhones (iOS 8+) and Android phones (4.3+, but if they're on iOS, they will need to turn Bluetooth on. The first thing they need to do is open a Cast-enabled app, such as Spotify, Google Play Music, YouTube, Pandora, TuneIn Music or Soundcloud. Then they need to hit the Cast app.
More reading: How to set up multi-room audio with Google Assistant
Instruct your guest to hit Nearby device and follow a few in-app prompts while the Google Home sends inaudible audio to the phone to connect automatically. You should then be good to go. Your guests can now act as DJ – choosing the room, playing and pausing the music and switching streaming apps. Obviously if your Google Home is controlling multiple speakers, everything in the group or whole home will play what's selected.
3. If it doesn't connect the first time
If that fails, you can troubleshoot by telling them they need to enter a 4 digit PIN – the same PIN you used when you set up your Chromecast if you have one. The host needs to open up the Google Home app to find the PIN in the device card (under Devices again) below the name or under the Guest Mode slider.
One odd feature – if guests have the Google Home app, it seems they can turn it off too, so watch out for that. Once it's on, it's on until you turn it off.
4. Set up guest mode on Chromecast
Speaking of Chromecast, the whole process works much the same with video apps on Chromecast or a TV with Chromecast built-in. Just go to the Google Home app, tap Devices, select the Chromecast and turn on Guest Mode.
Essential reading: Six things you need to know from Google I/O
Then tell your guests they can go to apps like Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, HBO Go, Google Play Movies + TV and Now TV and hit the Cast button, then select Nearby Device to send the video or TV show or movie to your telly. As above, if this doesn't work straightaway, you might have to enter the 4 digit PIN code that will show up on the TV. It works with both iOS and Android, as long as they have a Wi-Fi or data connection.
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