Google Home Feature Updates: Phone Calling, Room Assignments, Broadcast Mode, Multi-user Availability, Nest Integration, Find my Phone
At today’s Made by Google event, Google made pretty clear that they were completely invested into the Google Assistant and, especially, into the Google Home, which formally became a product lineup today. Aside from the Google Home we got back in 2016, we now also have the Google Home Mini, which offers all the features of the regular Google Home in a way smaller package, and the Google Home Max, which has full-blown stereo speakers for an enhanced listening experience. However, owners of the regular Google Home should be happy to know that their home device is about to get more feature rich than ever, thanks to a series of updates announced at Google’s event today.
We should have in mind that Google Home already had phone call functionality. Phone call integration for the Home was actually announced on Google I/O 2017 all the way back to May, however, it finally rolled out months later without support for actually using your phone number: you could only use either your Google Voice or your Project Fi numbers, severely limiting your options if you were outside of the United States.
Amazon, on the other hand, rolled out phone call integration for Amazon Alexa-supported devices, including support for using your own phone number in these devices. Google is playing catch up now with new Google Home improvements: aside from including support for your phone number, United Kingdom users will also be able to make phone calls with the Home, with all the US features.
Several months ago, the Home got multi-user support, allowing owners to link up to six different accounts to their Google Home devices. However, this feature (like many others) was limited to the United States. Now, Google Home multi-user support is now rolling out to all countries on which the Home is being sold in. That means that Australia, Canada, France, Germany and United Kingdom users will be able to register multiple users on their device soon.
Additionally, the Google Home will also be sold in Japan coming soon, and Japanese owners will also be able to take advantage of features like multiple users, just like the above-named countries.
With the latest Home update in the Play Store, Google has included support for manually assigning Google Home devices to specific rooms in your home, allowing for way better organization and synchronization between these devices. And good news! You can already grab this latest update to the Google Home application in the Play Store, so be on the lookout for an app update coming soon.
Google also took the stage to announce Broadcasts, a small addition that should come pretty handy in times – and pretty annoying at other times. With Broadcasts, you can send a message to your Google Home speakers and have it spoken out loud by the Google Assistant to everyone in the room. To send a broadcast, you just need to say “OK Google, broadcast” followed by the message you want the Google Home to speak out. It’ll be read aloud in the Google Assistant voice instead of your own voice, so it’s not simply broadcasting a simple voice message.
This feature, while it’s actually something really basic, can have many different utilities: you can use a broadcast for telling your friends something in another room, you can use one for waking up your children in the morning, and a lot more!
Google Home will also receive integration with the Nest product line, which includes smart thermostats, security cameras and other product series for your home. For example, you will be able to ask your Google Home “who’s at the front door” and it will connect with a previously paired Nest camera located at the said front door, displaying a live stream of it on a connected TV. You will also be able to record these home live streams using voice commands in your Google Home as well.
Find my Phone with Google Home
The Home will also receive integration for Android’s Find My Phone feature, which allows you to locate any Android device of your own using a browser or an app. In this case, telling your Home “where’s my phone” will ping the nearest Android device paired with your Google account. It can even turn up the volume of your phone before pinging it and even bypasses a silent ringer mode. Have in mind that this feature can only locate Android devices at the moment since it uses Google Play Services and the Android Device Manager to ping your phone.
It’s not known where will all these features actually roll out to Google Home device owners, but judging by the phone call integration rollout, it could take several months before we actually see all of this in our Home devices. We will keep you informed on when these features and updates will roll out!
Excited for Google Home’s new and revamped features? What’s your favorite? Let us know!