Most TVs and stereos require a Chromecast dongle, left, before you can stream audio to them, but Google Home has that ability baked in.

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Even though Google Home ($99 at Walmart) has yet to capture the flag for most popular smart speaker, it can actually do a few things that its biggest competition — Amazon’s Alexa (and to a much lesser extent, Apple’s Siri) — can’t do. From having a longer attention span than other digital assistants to giving you more Assistant voices to choose from, Google Home is a formidable, if still trailing, contender. It doesn’t hurt that Google Home is the only assistant with the full power of Google Search at its beck and call.

Millions of people rely on Google Home to manage humdrum household tasks like ordering groceriesputting your kids to bed or helping to find your lost phone, but Amazon Echo ($70 at Amazon) and Apple HomePod ($299 at Walmart) can both do all of that, too. If you’ve chosen the Google Home ecosystem to manage your digital life, wouldn’t you like some bragging rights to go with it?

If you’d like to show off your Google Home to your non-Google Home friends and family, or if you’d just like to put Google Home’s unique skills to work, here are the top three things Google Home can do that other smart speakers and their digital assistants can’t. What’s more, we’ll show you how to do them.


Google Home can listen for up to three back-to-back commands. Alexa and Siri can only handle one at a time.

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Google Home pays attention to up to 3 commands in a row

Talking to other assistants can sometimes feel like communicating with a small child who will only understand and remember one command at a time. “Assistant, turn off the lights. Assistant, set volume to 5. Assistant, play my bedtime playlist.” Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could get that all out in one breath?

Google recently expanded its command capability to a total of three in a row. With Google Home, you can say, “OK, Google, turn off the lights, set the volume to five and play my bedtime playlist.” This will accomplish the same series of tasks with Google Home in fewer, more natural-sounding words.

Google Home gives you more voice options for your assistant

Alexa will be getting some celebrity voice options later this year, but for now the only way to change the way Alexa sounds involves a workaround that might leave it misunderstanding your commands. Siri lets you pick between male- or female-sounding voices, as well as choose from a list of accents, but there’s still only one option for, for example, a female voice speaking English with an American accident.


Google Home offers a far wider range of voices you can assign your digital assistant, lending more personality to your devices.

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Google Home offers over 10 different voice options, including a few non-American accents, but also a variety of male and female voices speaking American English. Since voice is the primary way your Google Home responds to you, these options let you craft more of a distinct personality for your assistant.

Here’s how you can change your Google Home’s default voice.

1. Open your Google Home app.

2. Tap your personal icon in the lower-right corner.

3. Under the Google Assistant heading, tap More settings.

4. Select Assistant from the menu bar at the top.

5. Tap Assistant voice.

6. Choose from the list of voices until you find one that suits you.


Music and other audio quality is much better when streamed to a Google Home smart speaker over Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth.

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Google Home can play music from other devices via Wi-Fi

Most smart speakers, including Google Home, can connect with phones and computers over Bluetooth to play audio. But Google Home smart speakers can also connect to your devices through Wi-Fi, whether you’re using a Mac, PC or Android device.

Why does that matter? For one, most Bluetooth signals can only hold a connection for up to about 30 feet — Wi-Fi can hang on for five times that distance, or about 150 feet on average. So you won’t have to worry as much about being disconnected over Wi-Fi. Also, Bluetooth connections just don’t quite sound as good as Chromecast ($55 at eBay) signals.

Here’s how to broadcast audio via Wi-Fi to your Google Home speaker.


To stream audio from your browser to Google Home over Wi-Fi, click the three vertically stacked dots on the right side of the address bar in Chrome, then click Cast…, then choose the speaker you want to use.

Screenshot by Dale Smith/CNET

From a computer

Here’s how to stream audio from a computer to your Google Home smart speaker.

1. Make sure you’re on the same Wi-Fi network as your Google Home device.

2. Open the Google Chrome browser.

3. Navigate to or any other site with audio (the stream can include video or not).

4. Click the vertical stack of three dots to the right of the address bar.

5. Click Cast…

6. Choose which Google Home speaker you’d like to send audio to.

7. If you’d like to send to multiple speakers, you can create a speaker group in the Google Home app.

From an Android phone

1. Make sure you’re on the same Wi-Fi network as your Google Home device.

2. Open the Google Home app.

3. At the top of the screen, tap Play and then tap the triangular Play icon.

4. Choose which Google Home speaker or speaker group you’d like to send audio to.


To create a speaker group, open the Google Home app and tap Add > CreateSpeakerGroup, select which devices you’d like to include, tap Next, then give your group a name. 

Screenshots by Dale Smith/CNET

How to set up a speaker group

1. Make sure all your devices are connected to the same network.

2. Open your Google Home app.

3. Make sure you’re on the Home menu (tap the little house icon in the lower left corner).

4. Tap Add

5. Tap Create speaker group.

6. Tap each device you want to add to the group. A check mark will appear next to the ones you select.

7. Tap Next, enter a name for the group you just created, then tap Save.

There you have it — the three biggest advantages of choosing Google Home over the competition and how to use them. Looking for more ways to have fun with your Google Home? Check out these 5 tips and tricks to get Google Home to behave. If you’re having trouble with your Google Home smart speaker, we put together a troubleshooting guide for three of the most common issues. Finally, don’t forget to de-gunk your Google Home devices from time to time — they’ll look and sound better for it.


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