A QUICK WORD: In all the years we’ve been doing this, we’ve had a few times where Gabriel and I accidentally began working on the same topic for an article. In those times, we’ve always caught it before publishing. This time I missed it. Our schedules get hectic, we work in-office and remotely, and sometimes things just don’t line up. Today was one of those days, and I completely missed his article on this exact topic from this morning. I apologize for the repeat, and if you’ve read it, simply move on. If not, here’s my take on the situation and you can read Gabriel’s as well. Sorry again for the mix-up.
According to some users over on Reddit (via a post from Android Central), it appears as though Google is finally rolling out a much-needed feature in the Google Assistant’s ability to broadcast to specific speakers or speaker groups. While the update has not rolled out widely at this point, a few users are already being prompted by the Assistant to specify the speaker they would like to broadcast to when issuing the command.
This comes as a huge reprieve for those of us that love using the broadcast feature, but hate the fact that there is no granular control over where your voice is being bellowed out. For instance, if I have signed-in Assistant speakers in multiple rooms in my home, there’s no way for me to simply broadcast to my kids room that it is time to leave without broadcasting to every single device I’m logged in on.
This becomes even more of an issue when you set up multiple devices in multiple locations. For example, we have a group of speakers set up and running at the office, my wife has a few at her work, and we have some at home. If she is logged in to any of them, the minute she broadcasts, it will send the message to all of her logged-in speakers at once. This has lead to some strange and startling voice messages over the past few years when someone was still at the office and gets an unrequested voice queue from one of my kids at the house.
I’ve long said you should be able to say something like, “Hey Google…broadcast to downstairs…time for bed!” and expect that Google will only relay the message to the speakers I mentioned. I honestly don’t use broadcast as often as I’d like due to this current limitation, but it seems this will soon be a problem of the past. If the accounts on Reddit are to be believed, we might be seeing early tests or a staged roll-out of this exact feature, and it works just as you’d expect with Google prompting you to name the device you’d like to broadcast to as an option.
Multiple users are reporting similar experiences, but some are citing some glitches and only seeing the feature for a limited time. When we begin seeing things like this hitting in random fashion, it usually means we’re right around the corner from a roll-out, and I can think of few features I’ve been waiting on as long as this one. Hopefully we’re not far off from full-blown availability.