One of the best features of the Google Home device is that it can sync with other devices when playing music. Setting up an audio system that can be controlled by Google Home may be easier and less expensive than you think. Once setup a simple voice request triggers Google Home to play music, podcasts or radio from services like Google Play Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora and TuneIn on the devices of your choice. There are several easy ways to do this.
Buy more than one
The easiest way to do this may be to buy several Google Home devices. While each individual device is selling for $129, over the past few months Google has had several promotions on their Home Device. As I write this, the current promotion is “get two for $229.” Unlike the Amazon Echo which cannot sync music on multiple devices, Google Home does an excellent job of syncing music. If you decide to buy multiple home devices you will not only have decent whole-house audio, but you will have the Google Home assistant available in several rooms.
Use with Chromecast Audio
Chromecast Audio is a small $35 device that plugs into a speaker for streaming music through Wi-Fi. It is a small black circular device about 2 inches around and approximately ½ inch thick. The fact that it is an audio only device is indicated by the black grooved top that looks similar to a vinyl record with the Google symbol in the middle.
The Chromecast Audio comes with a power cable and a bright yellow 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm stereo cable. This can plug into the standard headphone jack on any device that has an Auxiliary in port. This includes any old speakers, radios, or boom boxes that you may have.
The only hang up with Chromecast Audio is that this device must be plugged into a wall outlet. That means that if you use if with a portable speaker, that speaker is no longer very portable. Of course this is not a problem if you are using it with a radio or boom box that must be plugged in anyway.
Use with Chromecast Enabled Devices
Another way to enjoy whole-house audio is with devices that have Google Cast built-in. These include televisions, speakers, and A/V receivers. You can find speakers with Google Cast built-in from Sony, Philips, Vizio, and Bang & Olufsen. Many other manufacturers including Harman/kardon, Onkyo, and JBL have such speakers in the works. I own a Sony A/V receiver and a Sony h.ear go speaker that both have Chromecast built-in.
These devices require little or no extra setup. Just turn them on and you will find them identified in the Google Home app where you can rename and group them.
Once you have plugged in the Chromecast Audio or added a Chromecast-enabled device, you download the Google Home app to your Android or Apple cell phone or tablet. Tap on the Device icon as shown below or choose Devices from the Settings.
Once in the Device area, scroll down to the bottom and choose to add a device. You can give any devices names of your choosing. You can also create groups of devices in this area. For instance, you may want to group all the living room devices together. Or perhaps you would like to create a Home Group which will cast to every device in your home at once.
Once the devices have been added to the Google Home app, just open the audio app that you normally use. Then look for the little “cast” icon. This looks like a TV with a Wi-Fi signal on it. Tap icon, choose a device or group, and the music will start playing through your audio device(s). You can adjust the volume or change the song, right from your phone.
Of course, you can also simply tell your Google Home device to play a certain song, playlist, or music genre to the device group. For instance, just say “Hey Google, play jazz on Home Group.” Provided that you have created a Home Group in the app, the music will start to play on the specified devices, all perfectly synchronized.
I currently can also turn my TV to the Chromecast input. Then tell Google Home to play a song on the TV, which I have added to my Google app. Not only will the song play through the speakers connected to my TV, but if there is a YouTube video for the song, it will play on my TV screen. Right now the Google app doesn’t recognize my Chromecast TV as an audio device. So I can’t group it with other devices. Google is, however, always adding functionality to their Google Home device. So I am hoping that they will add this functionality in the near future.
Better than Bluetooth
Google Cast is better than Bluetooth in several ways. Since Google Cast works over your home Wi-Fi network, you don’t have to go through the hassle of pairing. You can also connect more than one device at a time. With Wi-Fi streaming, if you get a phone call, your music keeps playing while you take the call. Also, you can control the music from anywhere within your Wi-Fi network. You do not have to be near the speaker. Best of all, using Google Cast doesn’t drain the phone battery as Bluetooth does.
Using Google Home and Chrome casting is an easy way to add music to your entire home.