Google Home Rolls Out Broadcast Feature
Google announced on a blog post today that it is rolling out a new broadcast feature for Google Home that it also integrated into Google Assistant. The broadcast feature enables users to deliver an audio message to all devices in a household.
Starting today, you can broadcast your voice from your Assistant on your phone or voice-activated speaker, like Google Home. So when you need to round up the family in the morning, just say ‘Ok Google, broadcast it’s time for school!’ and your message will broadcast to all Assistant enabled speakers in your home.
The feature also has additional intelligence built in for certain broadcast messages. For example, if you broadcast that it’s dinner time, a dinner bell will ring. It is not surprising that you can do execute this feature from one Google Home to all of the other Google Homes registered to the same account. An interesting twist is that you can also do it from the Google Assistant on that same account to the Google Homes. So, you will be able to be outside the home and still broadcast a message to all of the Google Homes using Google Assistant on your smartphone. It is not clear whether this is available to only the primary Google Home device owners or if other household users will also be able to access the feature from their smartphones.
Broadcast is Not Intercom
Amazon announced an intercom feature in June for Alexa-enabled devices and broadcast is different. Intercom is a one-to-one, device-to-device communication that creates an open channel for two-way communication. Broadcast is a one-to-many, one-way communication channel. It’s good for distributing information quickly but not for interactive communication. This feature is a good idea, but many users will be looking for a true intercom feature from Google in the near future.
Multiple Devices Per Household
Multiple devices per household wasn’t an issue last year when Google only had the original Home unit. At $129 each, few consumers were placing the devices in multiple rooms. The sub-$50 Google Home Mini release has significantly improved the economics for placing Google Home devices throughout a house. Strategy Analytics estimates that smart speaker owners in the U.S. have 1.9 devices per household. That figure was skewed by the many Amazon Echo Dots in circulation last year. Google Home Mini is expected to make that more common for Google device owners. Broadcast will be a nice feature to leverage all of those little devices throughout the household. The feature will become available to Google Home users in the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia over the next week.