It’s been over a couple of years since Google added streaming functionality to its Home speakers, but the feature was an all-or-nothing approach. You can send the message to all speakers in one house or none. Now, and for the second time in a few months, it seems that Google is launching to some users an option to transmit to a single speaker or room, an improvement that we have wanted for more than two years.

The feature was discovered by a Google 9to5 reader and our own David Ruddock was also able to confirm it. I’m just saying “Hi Google, broadcast to [speaker name or room name]”followed by your message (or use one of Google’s defaults) should send that message only to the devices you specified, rather than turning it off in all rooms.

However, neither the 9to5 writers nor I can make it work as intended. For me, saying “broadcast to the living room hello” translates to “say hello to the living room” throughout my home. The “a” part of the command is clearly not parsed correctly. On Reddit, one user reports that out of five people in the same house, only one can use this, while the others can’t get it to work despite saying the same command on the same speaker. So it appears that the option is still being enabled on the server side and may not be available to all users for a while. It might also disappear a bit like it did the first time it appeared.

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

Seen again

The post was updated to include a second limited implementation of this feature, after that of February 2020.