It's been more than a couple of years since Google added a broadcast functionality to its Home speakers, but the feature was an all-or-nothing approach. You could either send the message to all speakers in a home or none at all. Now, and for the second time in a few months, it seems that Google is rolling out to some users an option to broadcast to a single speaker or room, an improvement we've wanted for more than two years.

The feature was just spotted by a 9to5Google reader and our own David Ruddock was able to confirm it too. Just saying "Hey Google, broadcast to [speaker name or room name]" followed by your message (or use one of Google's defaults) should get that message sent only to the devices you specified, instead of it going off in all rooms.

However, neither 9to5's writers nor I can get it to work as intended. For me, saying "broadcast to living room hello" results in "to living room hello" being played across my entire house. The "to" part of the command is clearly not being properly parsed. On Reddit, a user reports that out of five people in the same home, only one is able to use this, while the others can't get it to work despite saying the same command on the same speaker. So it seems the option is still being enabled server-side and may not be available to all users for a while. It might also disappear for a bit like it did the first time it showed up.

That was back in February of 2020, when several Reddit users, as well as our tipster Brian, reported that their Google Homes had started telling them that they can broadcast to a specific speaker. This happened after they broadcast a message, at which point the speaker spelled out the tip. Even then, it was a limited rollout and most users, including our tipster, later reported that the feature stopped working. We don't know if it resurfaced for some people over the past few months, but it hasn't yet been officially announced, and that's as good a sign as any that Google is still experimenting with it.

Spotted again

The post has been updated to include a second limited rollout of this feature, following the one from February 2020.

  • Thanks:
  • Brian