Google is turning Google Home into a domestic public address system, ideal for summoning people to the dinner table or warning them you’re about to turn off the internet. The update, being pushed out from today, allows users of the Google Assistant to broadcast a voice message through their Google Home devices.
For instance, you can say “Ok Google, broadcast it’s time to leave for school,” and the message will be relayed to every Assistant-enabled speaker around the house. For some announcements, Google has preset sounds, too. “Ok Google, broadcast it’s dinner time,” for example, sounds a dinner bell across the Google Home speakers.
Other sounds have been preselected for when it’s time to wake up, to leave the house, and for bedtime. There are sounds for letting someone know you’re en-route, or that a TV show or movie is about to start.
The system works both from messages sent from an Android device, and from Google Home speakers themselves. In the latter case, the broadcast is played from every speaker signed into the same Google account, aside from the one you broadcast it from. As well as the “broadcast” command, the Assistant also recognizes “shout,” “tell,” and “announce” as instructions for the same thing.
However you needn’t even be home in order to use the new service. The Assistant supports remote broadcasting, so that you can send messages home even while you’re on your commute or at the office. If you have multiple Google Home units in different locations, as long as they’re signed into the same Google Account they’ll all play back the broadcast.
It’s worth noting that, while Google Home can identify different voices and control access to services and features accordingly, currently there are no limitations on broadcasts. So, any guest can say “Ok Google, broadcast…” And send a message to all of your speakers. That could prove less entertaining if they do so in the early morning.
Broadcasting is being enabled from today, as long as your Assistant and your Google Home are set to English language. Users in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia will get the functionality first, with Google promising support for more languages is in the pipeline.