How to Use Google Home as an Intercom – Hint “OK Google Broadcast” + Everything Else You Need to Know
Step by step guide Tutorial | Google Broadcast Commands | Google Broadcast Compatible Devices | Is it Free | and More...
Published: 10th Jun 2019
Gone are the days when you had to ring a bell to get everyone to come down for dinner. Thanks to Google Broadcast, you don’t even have to shout your voice hoarse from the hallway to get your family’s attention. Google Assistant now does it all for you, both when you’re home and when you’re not.
To get the family in on the fun, here is a great idea for a prank that will give everyone the giggles.
Searching for an answer? Here's our table of contents:
How to use Google Broadcast to Prank
Let’s start with the most important parts first. As it turns out, Google Home’s Broadcast feature is awesome for playing evil pranks on the people you love the most. A majority of older folks, parents and grandparents do not really get how it works. So you can use it to spook them to their wits end.
For example, if you have two Google Home devices in different parts of the house, you can have one announce virtually anything that you know will make your folks flip out. How about telling Google broadcast to announce that the system is preparing to enter attack mode? Simply say:
You might want to stick around, both to gauge the reaction and keep things under control. If your mom is a firm believer in the idea that computers will eventually start an uprising against humans, she might need some calming down.
What is Google Broadcast?
In November 2017, Google updated its Assistant features, allowing users to broadcast voice messages around the house and beyond. You can either broadcast the messages using your smartphone or a Google Home speaker to other Google Home speakers or Google Assistant-enabled speakers. Here is how it all works:
Google Broadcast Tutorial
Before you can start using the Broadcast feature, you need to have two or more Google Home speakers. These can be in any combination, Google Home, Home Max or Home Mini, and they all have to be using the same Wi-Fi network. Additionally, you need to have at least one member of your household sign in to each of the devices you would like to use.
When you broadcast a message on a Google Home device, it will play on all Google Home devices on the same Wi-Fi network signed in to the same Google account as the source device. However, you can also access the feature on your phone, and the best part is that when using a phone, you don’t have to be on the same Wi-Fi network.
Any message that you initiate on your phone will play on all devices signed in to your Google account. Anyone who is enrolled in Voice Match, as well as guests, can broadcast messages.
How to Enable Google Broadcast
Enabling Google Broadcasting does not take much. Most of it is already done when you get your Google Home speakers. To activate the feature, simply say “OK Google, broadcast [message].”
Keep in mind though that Google Broadcast cannot work when your devices are in ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode. Confirm whether it is enabled or disabled:
If you are new to the Google smart home and just got the speakers, you need to set them up in order to access the feature. Here is what you need to do:
Google Broadcast Commands
Creating a custom message for Broadcast is as simple as summoning Google Assistant and saying “Broadcast,” “announce,” “tell everyone” or “shout” and then stating your message. All devices connected to your Google account will then announce the message. Alternatively, you can have your smart home speaker system play what Google refers to as “delightful sounds.” Using these, you can alert the family when you’re leaving the office and a wide range of other everyday sounds.
Google Broadcast comes with some fun canned commands or delightful sounds preset. Using any of these commands means that Google Assistant will speak rather than using your voice to convey the announcement. Take a look at some of the most common ones:
What to say (start every command with “OK Google, broadcast/announce/tell everyone/shout”)
“Wake everyone up” or “It’s time to wake up”
“It’s time for bed,” “Time to go for bed,” “Sleep time,” or “We should go to bed”
Time to leave
“It’s time to leave,” “It’s time to get out,” “It’s time to leave the house” or “It’s time to leave home”
“It’s time for breakfast,” “breakfast is served” or “breakfast is ready”
“(your) lunch is ready” or “It’s lunchtime”
“It’s dinner time,” “dinner is ready,” ring the dinner bell,” it’s time for dinner” or “dinner is served”
“Let’s go to the movie,” “it’s movie time” or “the movie is about to start”
“The show is about to start,” “It’s time to watch TV” or “It’s TV time”
On the Way
“I’ll be home soon,” “I’m on the way” or “I’ll be back soon”
“I’m here” or “I’m home”
Can I Reply to Google Broadcast Messages?
It is possible to reply to a message, and the reply will only be transmitted to the originating device. To reply to a message, say, “OK Google, reply [message]” or “OK Google, send a reply [message].”
If the message originated from a phone, the reply will be transcribed, arriving in the form of a notification. But if you want to hear the original audio message, you can do so by playing back the audio clip. Additionally, it comes with a reply message so you can keep the conversation going.
When using the Google Home Hub, which is a Smart Display, you can reply to broadcast messages by pressing its reply button.
Google Broadcast - All The Devices
For a device to support Google Broadcast, it has to be a native host of Google Assistant. At present, most of such devices are made by Google, with just a few exceptions. Here are some of the devices that support Google Broadcast:
How to broadcast messages to specific Google Assistant devices?
Google Broadcast from Phone
If you would like to broadcast from your phone to a Google Home device, you simply need to have Assistant activated on your phone and at least one Google Home device. But you cannot broadcast from any Google Home device to your phone.
Google Broadcast Third-Party Devices
At present, Google Broadcast does not offer support for third-party devices such as Ecobee, Sonos or Nest, all of which support Alexa Drop In. It currently works only with devices that support Google Assistant natively. These are limited to the Google range of smart speakers mentioned above and phones with Assistant functionality.
Can Google Broadcast on Chromecast?
No. Currently, Chromecast does not offer Google Broadcast functionality even though it supports a wide range of Google Assistant features.
Google Broadcast Privacy
How can you tell if your Google Broadcast is on or off? One of the ways, as outlined above, is by confirming whether or not your device is in Do Not Disturb mode. Whenever you are in this mode, you cannot make or receive broadcast messages.
How to Block and Unlock Google Broadcast?
The last thing you want from your Google Broadcast is to have it blurt out loud responses at midnight and wake up the neighbors. So from time to time, you might want to disable the feature.
There are a number of approaches to getting that done. First, you could turn on Downtime on your Google Home app, which disables Broadcast. To do this:
Alternatively, you could turn on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode by following these steps:
The third option is Night Mode, which you can customize according to your requirements:
With night mode enabled, you will get several settings which you can customize to your liking. You can use these to ensure that it automatically turns on and off at specific times each day.
Is Google Broadcast Free?
Yes. Google Broadcast is free. All you need to access the service is two or more Google Home devices and a Wi-Fi connection. Once you set up your devices, the only charges you will incur are utility and data to keep the system running.
Can Broadcast Be Used For Conferences?
No. Google Broadcast would not be a suitable choice for conferences. The primary reason is that the feature is currently only available on Google Home devices and smartphones. None of these devices support video Broadcasting. The Google Home Hub which happens to be the only Smart Display in the range does not have a camera. As such, it cannot support the transmission of live video footage.
Can Google Broadcast work on phone/tablet/iPad (IOS, Android)?
Google Broadcast works both on Google Home speakers and on Android and iOS devices. However, to access the feature, your device has to meet the following specific Google Assistant requirements:
Could Google Broadcast Be Hacked?
Yes. Just like any other tech-related device, Google Broadcast can be hacked as it is not immune to system kinks. The risk of hacks on the smart speaker system is heightened by the fact that they are almost always listening. At the same time, they are programmed to record conversations since they learn about you from what they hear. In order to protect yourself from cybercriminals, always ensure that your device is unplugged when having confidential conversations.
Does Google Broadcast Store Conversations?
Yes. As mentioned above, Google Home saves recordings of the conversations you hold so as to keep learning about you and fine-tuning performance to match your preferences. The idea behind recording audio is to learn how your voice sounds, learn your manner of speaking and improve its speech recognition capabilities.
Some users make it a habit to delete recorded audio from time to time. To do that, follow these simple steps:
Does Google Broadcast use a lot of data?
Google Broadcast, like any other Google Home and Assistant features, depends entirely on the internet to function. As such, the amount of data it consumes will depend on your level of usage. A household in which the feature is used throughout the day would certainly have a higher level of data consumption than one which is only used in the evenings and over the weekend.
Can Google Broadcast work with Ring or any other doorbells?
No. Google Broadcast has yet to introduce support for third-party devices. Therefore, it only works with Google Smart Home speakers and smartphones with Google Assistant.
How do you know if someone is broadcasting on Google Home?
What you hear when someone broadcasts an announcement on Google Home will depend on the type of announcement. Whenever you use one of the preset messages on Broadcast, it will start the announcement with sound effects. For instance, if you announce movie time, it will start with a movie intro audio and then make the announcement.
Can Google Broadcast from another house?
Yes. You can broadcast using your phone to devices in another house so long as they are connected to your Google account. If you want to use the service to check on grandma for instance, you can have a smart speaker in her house connected to your account.
Google Broadcast also works on condition that the recipient’s device is using the same Google account and the same Wi-Fi network. Therefore, this means that the feature can only work if the house in question is within the proximity of your house. The target device would also have to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
Can I Use Google Broadcast As Baby Monitor?
No. A baby monitor would need to support two-way audio and possibly, offer video footage as well. However, Google Broadcast only lets you make announcements, but you cannot hear audio from the other side, unless the recipient chooses to reply. That would not apply for baby monitoring. At the same time, Home Hub does not have a camera, which means you cannot view video footage from the baby’s room.
Can Google Broadcast on Alexa devices?
No. Google only broadcasts on devices that have native Google Assistant capability. As such, it cannot support the function on an Alexa device.
Can Google Broadcast to a group?
One of the most common questions smart homeowners ask is, “Can Google Broadcast on multiple devices at the same time?” The answer is yes, it can. Google can broadcast to any number of devices with Google Assistant functionality. They, however, have to meet two main conditions. First, they have to be connected to the same Wi-Fi system. And second, they all have to be running on the same Google account.
Can Google Broadcast Silently?
No. Google cannot broadcast without notification. Anytime you opt to broadcast one of its preset messages, it will begin with a chine followed by the announcement. For instance, when you announce “Dinner’s ready,” it will start by ringing dinner bells. If you do not want to get broadcast messages, you need to put your speaker in Do Not Disturb mode.
Can Alexa Broadcast like Google Home?
Yes. Alexa has a feature known as Drop-in that works more or less like Google Broadcast. Using this feature, you can make announcements on all compatible devices in your household and elsewhere.
Google Broadcast vs. Alexa Drop In
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa both let you use their smart home speakers as an intercom system. They both make life easier by allowing you to make announcements to the entire household instead of shouting.
Unlike Alexa Drop In though, Google Broadcast is a lot less intrusive. Alexa Drop In is comparable to a calling system, but unlike in regular calls, it uses an auto-answer system. This means that it connects automatically to the recipient, which is considered rather intrusive. But Google Broadcast can be compared to a PA system. You can only use it to make announcements to connected devices and receive responses from individual speakers.
Another benefit that comes with Google Broadcast is the ability to use your Android or iOS phone to make announcements. This comes in particularly handy when on the move, in situations where you might not have access to a smart speaker. While it is also possible to initiate a Drop In from your phone, accessing the feature is considerably more complex than using Broadcast on phone. With Broadcast, you simply need to speak to Google Assistant as you would on a smart speaker. But with Alexa Drop In, you need to go through the Home app, which is rather inconvenient when for instance you are driving.
Alexa offers a distinct advantage in the sense that you can Drop in on a specific device when you want. You can use it in place of a phone to call people on your contact list. On Google Broadcast, you can’t make an announcement to a single device. Rather, all of the speakers using your Google account and connected to the same Wi-Fi will receive the broadcast.
Another advantage of Alexa is its ability to Drop In on people outside your household. Google Broadcast is restricted in this regard. It can only communicate with devices (smart speakers and phones) connected to your Google account. Smart speakers also have to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network to get broadcast messages.
Furthermore, Alexa has the advantage of supporting announcements on third-party devices such as Ecobee thermostats and Nest doorbell systems. Google Broadcast, however, still remains limited to making announcements over native Google Assistant devices only.
Overall, Alexa Drop In is a more comprehensive intercom and calling system. It offers a greater level of convenience in checking up on people outside your household. Furthermore, you can use it as a baby monitor, connecting automatically to the baby room to get both audio and video feedback. And since you can select a single device for your Drop In, it allows you to wake your teenager up without interfering with anyone else’s sleep.
Troubleshooting Google Broadcast
Why is Google Broadcast not working?
There are a number of reasons why your Google Broadcast may not be working. First, if it happens to be in Do Not Disturb mode, it cannot transmit or receive broadcast messages. To find out if this is the issue:
Another issue that may prevent the feature from working is if the device in question has been set to Downtime using Digital Wellbeing. This is a feature used to reduce distractions from Google Home for times when you feel you need a break. During Downtime, your device filters out most content and broadcast messages cannot transmit.
Confirm whether it has been turned on and switch it off to access Broadcast.
Here is how to do it:
Another common culprit is Night Mode, which when enabled often prevents Broadcast from working. To check whether it is on and turn it off, do the following:
Oftentimes, houses filled with connected devices face connectivity problems. When this happens, consider power cycling the smart speaker as well as the router and modem. You can also reboot the speaker by removing the power cable for some seconds and plugging it back in. Another option is to move Google home closer to your router or placing the router at a more centralized location.
If after confirming the above settings and addressing connectivity issues the Broadcast still does not work, you might as a last resort consider doing a factory reset. Note, however, that after a factory reset, you will have to reconfigure your device from scratch.
Further Google Broadcast Reading From Around the Web:
Reddit Questions: Anyone found a way to Broadcast to one specific GH?
Google Assistant: Broadcast App
Google Community Question: Broadcast not working?
YouTube: Video from Home Automation X