Update 03/30/18: Updated the steps to clarify that the pairing setting can be found in the default music speaker setting.
Google Home and Google Home Mini might be good at finding songs you want to hear, but they’re not the best at playing them. Compared to higher-priced speakers such as Google Home Max and Apple’s HomePod, Google’s diminutive devices sound exactly as you’d expect: small, tinny, and muddled.
Google has heard your complaints. Starting today, you can hook up a Bluetooth speaker to your Google Home without needing to purchase a separate Chromecast dongle. Once you pair a compatible Bluetooth speaker with one of your Homes, you can make it the default for playing music, so you won’t have to fiddle with controls or tell your Home where to send your favorite songs.
(For guidance on choosing a Bluetooth speaker, see our review roundup and top picks.)
Pairing a speaker is simple. Here’s how to do it:
- Make sure your Bluetooth speaker is in pairing mode.
- Head to the Devices tab inside the Home app on your phone.
- Tap Settings in the overflow menu.
- Scroll down to Default music speaker and tap Pair Bluetooth Speaker.
- Tap the name of the speaker you want to pair your Google Home with.
Once the link is established, you can then go back a screen to make sure it is set as a default for whenever music is played.
You can also set up multi-room audio with a pair of Bluetooth speakers, just like you can do with two or more Google Homes. After you follow the steps above for pairing multiple speakers, you’ll need to create a group, which you’ll find in the same overflow menu on the Devices page. Name the group, choose the speakers that you want to be synced, and the next time you ask Google Home to play a song, your music will be beamed to Bluetooth speakers in two different rooms.
The impact on your Homes: This is probably the most overdue feature on Google Home—Amazon Echo users have been able to stream audio to a Bluetooth speaker for over a year—so we’re glad Google finally got around to it. Our home speakers have moved well beyond a way to get simple answers to basic questions, and with the rise of streaming services, they’ve quickly become the most convenient way to play music in our homes. But if you don’t want to spend $300-$400 on a high-fidelity speaker like HomePod or Google Home Max, this is a great way to give your sound a boost.