At present, Google Home integrates seamlessly with connected Chromecast devices, which are capable of performing a number of minor tasks via voice commands, but if Google Home is poised to push out Amazon Echo's smart speaker reign, then it needs a bigger ecosystem than what it currently boasts.
Starting Monday, Dec. 19, Google Home owners may be able to pair Sony speakers or Android TVs to control music and video streaming, without fumbling with complicated smart home or hub setups.
Google Home Expands
All of Sony's speakers that have Chromecast built in will get the Google Home support by virtue of a firmware update, as is the case with Android TVs poised to take advantage of the expanded ecosystem. This means that barking orders to Google Home, such as playing music from Spotify, can now be routed directly to supported Sony speakers.
Additionally, Google Home can now also route TV-based voice commands, such as asking it to play something from Netflix, directly to the connected Android TV. TV sets such as Sony's Bravia line or its latest 4K HDR panels will support this new integration.
"This additional functionality is another example of Sony's commitment to customer choice by delivering new and innovative technologies," said Mike Fasulo, Sony Electronics' president and COO.
There's also a multi-room feature for homes sporting multiple devices that can connect to Google Hone. The feature allows grouping of all compatible Sony speakers placed in different parts of the home. Once all devices are grouped together, users may command Google Home to synchronize musical output. They may create groups via the Google Home app, and name it "all speakers." Tell Google Home to play music on "all speakers" and the command is triggered across all devices included in the group.
Even with this newly formed integration with Sony devices, however, Google Home still lags behind the stellar Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, which sport Amazon's proprietary voice-enabled virtual assistant Alexa. At present, Alexa has these things called "skills," or different app integrations it can process, such as pulling the latest news, playing music or adjusting paired smart home devices as instructed.
Google Home needs a little more than just speakers and TVs before it can significantly rival Amazon's smart speaker line. To be fair, Google Home is still relatively young, and the company is likely hard at work procuring forthcoming integrations for the smart speaker. It remains to be seen whether it actually surpasses Amazon Echo and similar devices, but a growing ecosystem spells only good news.
Do you have a set of Sony speakers or a Sony Android TV? Have you tried any of the commands described? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!