What Works With Google Home?

Google Home does more than play music and provide useful info

Google Home (including the Google Home Mini and Max) does more than play streamed music, make phone calls, provide information, and help you shop. It can also serve as a home lifestyle hub by combining the power of the built-in Google Assistant with additional compatible products.

With the PetNet Smart Feeder, you can use Google Home to manage your pet's nutritional needs.

PetNet

How to Tell What Will Work With Google Home

Google Home works with products in the following categories:

To determine if a product is Google Home compatible, check for package labeling that states:

  • Chromecast or Chromecast built-in
  • Works with Google Home
  • Works with the Google Assistant

If you can't confirm Google Home compatibility through the package labeling, check the product's official web page or contact that product's customer service.

Using Google Home With Chromecast

Google Chromecast devices are media streamers that need to connect to an HDMI-equipped TV or stereo/home theater receiver. Typically, you need to use a smartphone to stream content through the Chromecast device to see it on a TV or hear it through an audio system. However, if you pair a Chromecast with Google Home, a smartphone isn't needed to control the Chromecast (although you still can).

Using Google Home With Products That Have Chromecast Built-in

Many TVs, stereo/home theater receivers, and wireless speakers support Google Chromecast built-in. This technology allows Google Home to play streaming content on a TV or audio device, including volume control, without plugging in an external Chromecast. However, Google Home can't turn Google Chromecast built-in devices on or off.

Chromecast built-in is available on a growing number of TVs from Sony, LeECO, Sharp, Toshiba, Philips, Polaroid, Skyworth, Soniq, and Vizio; home theater receivers (for audio only) from Integra, Pioneer, Onkyo, and Sony; and wireless speakers from Vizio, Sony, LG, Philips, Band & Olufsen, Grundig, Onkyo, Polk Audio, Riva, and Pioneer.

Using Google Home Partner Devices

Here are select examples of the more than 1,000 possible products you can use with Google Home.

  • NEST Thermostats and Security Cameras: With Nest Thermostats, use Google Home to tell you the current room temperature, as well as raise or lower the temperature generically (warmer/cooler) or to a specific temperature. If you have a Chromecast connected to a TV or a TV with Chromecast built-in, ask Google Home to show video from your NEST camera on your TV.
  • Philips HUE Lights: If a Google Home device is linked with a Philips HUE light system, Google Home turns lights on or off. If you have Philips HUE color-changing lights, ask Google Home to change their colors. If you install HUE lights in several rooms, Google Home controls them separately.
  • August Smart Lock: If you link a Google Home with an August Smart Lock, command your Google Home to ask it to lock or unlock your door. Google Home controls different locks separately.
  • Samsung SmartThings: This collection of products includes lights, smart outlets, thermostats, and even a leak detector. Using a SmartThings hub as a gateway, use Google Home to control all SmartThing device tasks, such as turning lights off and on and adjusting thermostats. Also, using smart plugs, turn on ordinary devices and lights that may be plugged into them.
  • Logitech Harmony Remote Control: You can use Google Home to control a lot of devices, but they have to be Google Home compatible. As a workaround for non-compliant media devices, if you have a Logitech Harmony Elite or a Harmony remote that works in conjunction with a Harmony Hub to control your home entertainment devices, link the Google Home with the Harmony Remote system. Using the Harmony Remote/Hub as a bridge, Google Home can ask it to turn your TV, Roku, or Xbox on or off, go to a specific TV channel (either by name or number), go to Netflix or Hulu on your media streamer, raise and lower volume, and more.
  • Blossom Smart Sprinkler System Controller: If you have an electronically controllable sprinkler system, replace its controller with the Google Home-compatible Blossom. Once linked, use Google Home to ask Blossom to water your lawn. You can even designate it to stop after a specific time period.
  • GE Select Wi-Fi Connected Appliances: A GE refrigerator, stove/range, wall oven, dishwasher, washer/dryer, or air conditioner that uses the Geneva Home command interface supports Google Home (through Geneva) to perform operations on a specific appliance, such as heat the oven or start the dishwasher.
  • PetNet Smart Feeder: With the PetNet Smart Feeder, use Google Home to manage your pet's nutritional needs. The Smart Feeder stores several pounds of food and dispenses the correct amount needed by your pet on a schedule you set. Or, using Google Home, tell the smart feeder when, and how much, to feed your pet.

What Is Necessary to Use a Google-Compatible Product

Google Partner products come with what you need to get started. For example, for TVs, a Chromecast offers an HDMI connection and power adapter. Products with Google Chromecast built-in are already set to go.

For stereo/home theater receivers and powered speakers, Chromecast for Audio has an analog 3.5 mm output for connection to the speaker. If you have a receiver or speaker that has Chromecast built-in already, pair it with Google Home directly.

For Google Home-compatible thermostats, smart switches, and plugs (outlets), you supply your own heating/cooling system, lights, or other plug-in devices. If you want a complete package, look for kits that contain several smart control items in a single package, along with a hub or bridge that allows communication with a Google Home. For example, a Philips HUE starter kit includes four lights and a bridge. With Samsung SmartThings, you start with a hub and then add compatible devices of your choice.

Even though products or kits may be compatible with Google Home and Assistant, they may also require the installation of their own smartphone app, which enables your smartphone to perform the initial setup and also provides an alternate control method should you not be near a Google Home. However, if you use several compatible devices, it's more convenient to use Google Home to control them all, rather than having to open up each individual smartphone app. You can even control Google Home through your PC.

How to Link Google Home With Partner Devices

To pair a compatible device with Google Home, first, make sure the product is powered up and on the same home network as your Google Home. Also, you may have to download a smartphone app for that specific product and perform additional setup, after which, you can link it to your Google Home device in the following manner:

  1. Open the Google Home app on your smartphone.

  2. Select the Plus (+) icon in the upper-left corner.

  3. Select Set up device.

  4. Choose to set up a new device, such as a Chromecast or Nest speaker, or choose one of your existing devices.

    A Google Home user sets up a new device
  5. Choose a home, then select Next.

  6. Google Home searches for compatible devices. Pick the type of device you're setting up (display, doorbell, light bulb, or other), then pick your device.

    Google Home searches for compatible devices to add to a smart home

Products With Google Assistant Built-in

In addition to Google Home, a select group of non-Google Home products also has Google Assistant built-in.

These devices perform most, or all, of the functions of a Google Home, including controlling Google Partner products without having an actual Google Home unit present. Products with Google Assistant built-in include Nvidia Shield TV media streamer, Sony and LG smart TVs (2018 models), and select smart speakers from Anker, Best Buy/Insignia, Harman/JBL, Panasonic, Onkyo, and Sony.

Google Assistant is also built into a new product category called "smart displays" from three companies: Harman/JBL, Lenovo, and LG. These devices are similar to the Amazon Echo Show, but with Google Assistant, rather than Alexa.

Google Home and Amazon Alexa

Many of the brands and products that work with Google Home also work with Amazon Echo products and other branded Alexa-enabled smart speakers and Fire TV streamers through Alexa Skills. Check for the Works with Amazon Alexa label on the product packaging.

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