Although named a smart speaker, Google Home has been unable to play audio from a computer or smartphone. With the latest update to enable Bluetooth, however, the smart speaker can finally function like a real speaker.
Google has gradually rolled out Google Home’s Bluetooth streaming capability. There is now reportedly a Paired Bluetooth device option under Google Home’s settings.
Even though the Bluetooth feature was announced in May 2016, users were constrained to use only a few music services approved by Google, such as Spotify, Play Music and Pandora. There was no way for users to play music from local devices.
With the update, the speaker can finally function like a real speaker. Its competitor Amazon Echo already offers the Bluetooth feature since the beginning.
With Bluetooth connection, Google Home doesn’t have great sound quality as other smart speakers, however, and some users have reported issues relating to audio lagging and low volume.
While smart speakers are often promoted for their AI assistant and hands-free features to control home gadgets, most users simply use them for music listening.
According to a survey conducted by VoiceLabs this January, 46.7% of respondents said they use Alexa to play music and audiobooks at home, followed by 29.1% of respondents who use Alexa to control smart home devices, 29.1% use it to play games and entertainment, and 26.5% use it to listen to the news and podcasts.
The new update may get Google Home’s users to interact with the device more frequently and hopefully increase engagement between Google Assistant and its users.
Google Home is now available in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K., Germany and Australia. In addition to English, the device will have language support for Brazilian, Portuguese, French, German and Japanese this summer, and for Italian, Korean and Spanish by the end of the year.