Google Home for the Holidays

Overseeing the food, the drinks, the festivities, and the delinquents you invited into your humble abode is enough to drive any party planner mad, but don't worry about not getting to have any fun playing host! You can make your party look effortless with the help of your trusty Google Home and the many tricks it performs with Google Assistant before and during your party.

Products used in this guide

Pre-party prep with Google Home

Google Home is just as much of an asset when planning or preparing your home for a party as it is during the actual event. Google Assistant has command to do thousands of party prep activities such as:

  • Step-by-step recipe guides by asking "How do I make [sugar cookies]?"
  • Set reminders for yourself by saying "Remind me to [take out the trash] [at 4 PM tomorrow]."
  • Add items to shopping list before heading to the store by saying "Add [carrots] and [cabernet] to shopping list."
  • Plan for weather contingencies by asking "What will the weather be like [Friday night]?"

You'll also want to familiarize yourself with Home View in the Google Home app. This is the left-most tab in the Google Home app, where you can see all the devices configured in your Home setup, as well as see what quick commands are available to you based on what devices are in your home. Home View is also accessible on Google Assistant displays like the Google Home Hub.

If you intend to use your Google Home to play music, you may want to pair bigger speakers to your Google Home for a better sound. If you have multiple Google Assistant speakers in your home, you might want to join them together in a Chromecast speaker group for easy playback between multiple devices.

How to link Bluetooth speakers to Google Home

  1. Open the Google Home app.
  2. In the Home View tab, tap the Google Home you wish to pair Bluetooth speakers to. My Google Home is named Castle.
  3. Tap the Settings gear in the top right corner of the screen.

    Google HomeCastleSettings

  4. Scroll down and tap Default music speaker.
  5. Tap Pair Bluetooth speaker.
  6. Put your Bluetooth speaker into pairing mode according to the speaker's operation manual. When your speaker appears in the available Bluetooth devices list, tap your Bluetooth speaker's name. If you don't see your device, tap Rescan.

    Default music speakerPairSBode

  7. The Google Home will attempt to pair to the Bluetooth speaker. If it is successful, the device's name with turn blue and a blue circle with a checkmark will appear next to it.
  8. Tap Done to complete the pairing.
  9. Tap Done to confirm your Bluetooth speaker as the default speaker for your Google Home.

    DoneDone

How to create a Chromecast speaker group in the Google Home app

  1. Open the Google Home app.
  2. In the Home View tab, tap Add.
  3. Tap Create speaker group.

    Google HomeAddAdd speaker group

  4. Tap the Google Cast speakers you wish to include in the group.
  5. Tap Next.
  6. Create a Name for your group.
  7. Tap Save.

    Speakers to includeCool nameFinished

A toast message will appear saying the group has been created, and the speaker group will appear in the Groups section at the bottom of your Home View, as well as in the target list when you tap the Cast button in a Chromecast-enabled app.

Hosting a party with Google Home

Party time!

The time is now; the party is here! Before your guests arrive, do yourself a favor and turn off personal results. This will keep any nosy guests from asking about your calendar events or packages you're expecting — no, I don't think they'll do anything that stupid, but why take chances? Personal results are easy to toggle off, but you'll have to do it on Google Assistant enabled speaker in your Home setup individually.

How to turn off personal results on Google Home

  1. Open the Google Home app.
  2. In the Home View tab, tap the Google Home device you want to disable personal results on.

    Google HomeCastle

  3. Tap the settings gear in the top right corner of the screen.
  4. Under the More section of Device settings, tap the toggle Personal results off.

    SettingsOff

The toggle will turn from blue to grey, indicating that personal results have been turned off for your Google Home. Repeat as necessary with each of your Google Assistant speakers or displays.

How to Broadcast party announcements through Google Home

In a loud, crowded party, it can be hard to to be heard over the music and the revelry, but thankfully, Google Home can double as an intercom in every room you put one in. Broadcast an announcement to every Google Home device in your home quickly via Home View in the Google Home app.

  1. Open the Google Home app.
  2. In the Home View tab, tap Broadcast in the quick shortcuts section at the top.
  3. A Google Assistant prompt will slide up from the bottom of the screen and ask "What's the message?" State your announcement without taking any long pauses. Once Google Assistant detects a long pause in your speech, it will assume that is the end of your message.

    BroadcastRecord your messageMessage broadcast

Google Assistant will then send out your freshly recorded message to every Google Home in the house.

Casting and controlling music from and with Google Home

As guests start to arrive and the party begins to progress, you'll likely want to put on some soft music to cover up any awkward silences and put attendees in a festive mood. While you can just say "OK Google, play some music" and our Google Home will automatically start playing a shuffle of music it thinks you like, casting a specific shuffle or playlist from a Chromecast-compatible music service like Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music, or Pandora will let you ensure the playlist is appropriate for your party.

  1. Open your music app of choice. If you see the Google Cast icon in your music app, your music app is compatible.
  2. Tap the Google Cast icon, and it will give you a list of available Google Home devices to cast to, including Google Home device groups.
  3. Tap the Google Home or device group you want to play music on.

YouTube MusicCast targetsCasting controls and termination

Once you select a device, the app will initiate a cast connection to the Google Home device. You'll hear a chime from the Google Home once the connect is successfully established. You can start playing an album or playlist, and the music will play on the Google Home instead of your phone speakers.

You can control the music playback through the Google Home using a variety of commands:

  • "Next."
  • "Rewind 40 seconds."
  • "What song is playing?"
  • "Pause the music."
  • "Volume at 30 percent."
  • "Previous song."
  • "Turn it down."
  • "Turn on shuffle."
  • "Stop."

You can also access music controls through the Google Home app and the persistent media notification that appears when media is being played on a Chromecast device like a Google Home, and you can also find it in Home View. From here, you can adjust the volume up and down, pause or play the music, and you can fast forward and rewind within the current track.

Our top equipment picks

The original Assistant

Google Home

Google's first smart speaker has still got it after two years

There's a whole slew of Google Home devices to choose from these days, but the Google Home will always hold a special place in our hearts. It's also still one of the first devices to get new Google Assistant commands and features.

Honestly, you can use any Google Home device to do just about anything in this guide except the recipe videos, which need either a smart display like the Google Home Hub or a regular Google Home casting recipe videos to a Chromecast-enabled TV.

Upgrade pick

Google Home Hub

Google's first branded smart display is a tantalizing host helper.

Google Home Hub can help you nail every aspect of your picture perfect party, in the kitchen helping you step-by-step through those hors d'oeuvres, in the living room showing off Live Albums of your picture-perfect vacations, and giving you easy control of all your other smart devices through Home View.

Google Home Hub is great for those who host parties at home regularly, as Home View lets you quickly pull up controls for your smart home devices without having to dictate every individual command for all to hear. The Google Home Hub's photo slideshow can also show off those perfect pictures of your family — or for a themed soiree like a Christmas party, set it to a folder filled with festive photos and graphics that you used as inspiration while planning the party!

Mini music magician

Google Home Mini

Google's small smart speaker can fit into any house party.

Whether you're streaming music through every room in the house, entertaining your guests with Google Assistant games, or settling a bet with a Google search of just who did get the most passing yards in the NFC West last year, Google Home Mini has your party covered in style.

Google Home Mini may not have the biggest sound ever, but they're small, easy to mount out of the way, and they can be used with the same Google Home commands when you're out of earshot of your Google Home Hub. Like all Google Homes, you can pair the Google Home Mini to bigger speakers via Bluetooth to let you quickly and easily stream music throughout a single room or your entire house.

(Home) View everything

Google Home app

This indispensable app corrals and controls your smart home.

The Google Home app is required for setting your Google Home and Chromecast devices up, and it is very much your friend before and during a party, thanks to the new Home View layout.

Home View is a hugely helpful addition to the Google Home app, allowing you to quickly dim or turn on the light for a surprise party, broadcast announcements to every Google Home device in your home, as well as giving you quick and easy controls for any currently playing music, any smart lights or smart thermostats in your home, and easy toggles for your smart plugs.