Google has updated its Assistant service with the ability to broadcast voice messages from users to connected Home speakers connected to their accounts.
The feature works not just when you talk to a speaker, but also when you issue a broadcast command to Assistant on your phone; you don’t even have to be on the same Wi-Fi network to beam a message, which means you can use this remotely to let your family know you’re leaving the office or returning from the grocery store shortly.
From Google’s support page, it appears that you can send custom voice messages, as well as have Assistant bark automated messages and sounds depending on the command you choose. To use it, say something like “Ok Google, broadcast it’s time for school!” A command like “Ok Google, broadcast it’s dinner time” will sound a dinner bell across your speakers.
Google’s one-way broadcast approach to inter-device communication differs from Amazon’s, as the latter lets Echo users talk to each other through an intercom system (it also works with phones that have the Alexa app and are signed into the same account). That seems rather limited, but I imagine that fans of smart speakers will eventually want both features, and it won’t be surprising to see both brands achieve parity with this functionality soon enough.
Google’s broadcast feature is rolling out today in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.