Every few weeks, Google announces (and sometimes re-announces) a bunch of new Assistant features, so it's getting a little difficult to keep track of all of them. Among those was an option to reply to broadcasts, and now it's live.

Well, technically, we're not sure when it became live, but it is working now. If you broadcast a message to your speakers (you can't choose one, it has to be sent to all), they will play it back and then offer a little hint: you can reply to the message if you want. Saying, "Ok Google, reply" triggers the answer and you can dictate any message you want. That message is then sent back to the original sender (whether that's your phone or another speaker).

On phones, the message is also transcribed and arrives as a notification, but you can play back the audio clip if you prefer to hear the original recording. A reply option is offered as well, so you can keep going back and forth with answers.

I was able to test this between my phone and Google Home Mini at work, and it worked flawlessly. However, I don't have access to all my Google Assistant speakers to check whether replies are broadcasted everywhere, so I'm hoping they're restricted to the original sender and the first responder. I will have to test this when I get home.

This is a step in the right direction for broadcasts, as it allows users to sort of walkie-talkie between speakers around the house, or from their phone to their home when they're away. It's a neat solution for talking to children or other persons who may not have a smartphone at all or may not carry it all the time and thus miss messages. However, the better solution would be to allow audio calls between Assistant devices, or to at least let us broadcast the first message to a specific device when we know which one we want to talk to.

  • Thanks:
  • Mike Silluzio