Update: 2017-11-29: The original Google Home smart speaker now supports Bluetooth. So, as of the summer of 2017, you can now use the Google Home speaker as a Bluetooth speaker as well.
The Google Home smart speaker does not yet offer the ability to act as a Bluetooth speaker. In other words, you can’t connect your iPad to the Google speaker via Bluetooth and then play music on your iPad and have it come out of the Google speaker. Nor can you pair an external Bluetooth speaker to this device, as of yet. So far, we find no mention of Bluetooth capability or settings for it in the Google Home app.
Currently Google offers Chromecast on the Google speaker, that allows you to stream audio and video content from the various audio services to your Chromecast-enabled televisions, speakers, and other media player devices, much as you’d do if your were streaming your media to a plane-Jane Bluetooth speaker. Perhaps they figured that Chromecast would be a decent replacement for generic Bluetooth capability. However, you can’t cast content via Chromecast to a speaker that does not support Chromecast. So, you’ll be unable to play content from Google supported media services to these simpler Bluetooth speakers.
So, we’re hopeful that in addition to Chromecast, Google will provide the more generic Bluetooth function in future firmware and / or hardware releases of this speaker, as it does offer great, near high fidelity sound, with plenty of room-filling volume. We’ll keep watching for this functionality to be added, and will document here how to do it once Google releases the necessary updates to the Google Home app as well as the firmware and / or hardware in the smart speaker itself.
In the meantime though, we’ll imagine below how this function might be implemented in the future in Google Home, and grow these musings into fact-based procedures, if or when Google adds Bluetooth to their speaker.
We’d like to be able to connect (pair) the Google Home smart speaker to an iPad Air tablet, such that the speaker becomes a Bluetooth speaker, allowing us to play any audio that the iPad is playing, through the Google Home speaker. You might do this if you’re watching a Netflix movie or playing your Amazon music library on your iPhone, but wish to have louder, and over all better sound for it than what you get via the speakers built into your phone. You wish to enjoy the full sound of your Google speaker for all this content.
This futuristic procedure assumes that would be connecting the same iPad to the Google Home speaker as what you’re running the Google Home app on.
Pairing the Google Home Speaker with an iPad, Method One
1. Make sure that both your tablet and your Google Home speaker are online and connected to the Internet.
2. Turn Bluetooth ON, on the iPad, and assure that you see the “Now discoverable as” message, as shown next. The Google Home speaker would not be able to connect to the iPad unless the iPad is advertising itself on Bluetooth (is in discovery mode).
3. Next, on the tablet, run the Google Home app. On my iPad, this app appears on the third home page, as pictured next.
The Google Home app home screen then displays, as pictured next.
4. Then, tap the hamburger item up at the top left corner of the Google Home app home screen. This brings up the main menu window, as shown next.
5. Tap the Devices menu item. This brings up the list of Google Home devices that the app knows about, as shown next.
6. Tap the hamburger menu link; the item pointed at by the purple arrow in the previous picture. The hamburger menu opens, as shown in the next picture.
7. Tap the Settings item in the hamburger menu as displayed in the previous picture, with the purple arrow pointing to it. You then see the Device Settings screen for the specific Google Home speaker device displayed on the previous screen, whose specific setting options are shown on the screen shown next. In our case, that device is named Living Room Home.
Note that we’ve scrolled down to the Device Settings section on this screen. It is in this section that, if Google does implement a Bluetooth feature, they’d likely place a Bluetooth settings option. However, as it is currently, no such option exists.
8. But if it did exist, we’d tap it. This would take us to a known Bluetooth devices screen, where we could select a Bluetooth device from a list of devices that we’ve previously paired with, or there’d be an option to scan for new Bluetooth devices, much as you see on the Amazon Echo Dot Bluetooth configuration screens. Next we’ve included screenshots from the Amazon Alexa App, that illustrate how Google might choose to implement Bluetooth functions in their Google Home app.
If there was a Bluetooth option for the selected device on the two previous screens above, we’d tap that, and the known Bluetooth devices list screen, with similar content to the following screen from the Amazon Alexa App would then appear, as shown next.
9. Then, we’d tap the Pair a New Device button. This would put the Google Home Speaker into discovery mode, where it advertises its device name in the Bluetooth radio domain. The speaker would also scan for other broadcasting devices (others in discovery mode) while broadcasting its own name.
After a short pause, the Google Home app would display a list of in-range Bluetooth devices that the Google Home speaker found. Such information might appear in similar fashion to how it’s displayed, again, in the Amazon Alexa app, shown next.
10. Next, you would tap the device in this list that you wish to pair with your Google speaker. In our case here, that would be the Tom’s iPad device.
Then, if all goes well, pairing would happen successfully, and the Google Home App would add this new device to its known Bluetooth devices list.
The Google Home app would then display this updated known Bluetooth devices list similarly to as shown next. It would also show the device as connected by coloring a Bluetooth symbol to the left of the device name, blue.
When pairing occurs successfully, your Google smart speaker would announce this by saying, “Connected to Tom’s iPad. Now that you’re paired, next time, just say, ‘Connect my phone.’.”
Once you establish a Bluetooth connection between your Google Home speaker and a particular Bluetooth device for the first time, Google would remember the particulars about this connection and save that in your Google account profile, such that when you would go into the Google Home app, to the Bluetooth devices list as displayed above, you’d see your new device listed. Connecting to it subsequently would be much simpler then. All you’d need do is either tap the device, or command your Google Home speaker to do it by saying, “Hey Google, connect to Tom’s iPad.”
At this point, all your iPad’s generated sounds would play on your Google Home speaker, and so, pairing would be complete.
You would unpair your speaker from a source Bluetooth device by saying, “Okay Google, disconnect [unpair],” or “Hey Google, disconnect [unpair].” Ideally, Google would allow you to unpair your speaker by either issuing these voice commands to it, or by going into the Google Home app, and breaking the Bluetooth connection there.
But again, this scenario is our dream; not reality. Hopefully, Google will eventually implement something similar in future versions of the Google Home speaker hardware, firmware, and in the Google Home app.
We’ll keep dreaming and hoping.
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- 2017-01-02: Originally published.