Want to turn your home into a smart home … cheaply? For the
next week you can buy a Google Home Mini for $45 instead of $79. That’s $34
cheaper. I doubt that there’s a cheaper way to smarten up any home. But when it
comes to music playback, well, quality is only so so. But you can do something
With several Google Home Mini units scattered around your
home you can have multiroom audio and, of course, Google’s massive computing
facilities waiting to answer your spoken questions. You can also increasingly
control other gadgets using voice alone.
There is competition, though, mainly from Amazon’s Alexa.
And the Alexa equivalent to the Google Home Mini has one marked advantage: it
has a 3.5mm output socket. So, it’s easy to upgrade its sound quality. The
Google Home Mini lacks that convenience. Don’t worry, there are two other ways
of getting sound out of the Google Home Mini.
Google Home Mini “Default music speaker”
The first method can be useful if you have a Chromecast-capable speaker. Chromecast is Google’s method for passing sound and video from your network to output devices. In addition to some standalone speakers, many network-connected soundbars from recent years work with Chromecast. You can have your Google Home Mini listen for your voice and deliver whatever information you want using its own speaker but send music to the soundbar or higher quality speaker.
Here’s how. I’m assuming that you have already installed a Google
Home Mini device and a Chromecast device according to their instructions.
Open the Google Home app on your phone. That
should show the name of your building (“Home” for example). Scroll down to the
room where your Google Home Mini is installed.
Tap on the Google Home Mini (you may have given
it a name).
Near the top right corner is a cog. Tap on that
to go to the “Device settings” page.
Scroll down to “Default music speaker” and tap
You’ll be presented with a list of all the
Chromecast-capable speakers in your network. Tap the one that you want and then
Confirm that the newly selected speaker is shown
as “Default music speaker”.
Now, say “Hey Google, what’s the time?” and your Google Home Mini will answer as normal. But if you say, “Hey Google, play me some music” it will come out of the speaker that you’ve selected. Most such speakers and soundbars will sound a lot better than the Google Home Mini.
But what if you don’t have a Chrome-cast capable speaker?
Well, you can use any Bluetooth-capable speaker instead. Doing that is easy.
Put your Bluetooth speaker in pair mode.
Follow steps 1 through 4 above.
Instead of choosing a Chromecast speaker from
the list, tap “Pair Bluetooth speaker” at the top of the list.
A list will be presented showing you any nearby Bluetooth
audio devices which are in pairing mode. Tap the one that you want, then tap “Done”.
Back out and confirm that the Bluetooth speaker
is shown as “Default music speaker”.
As with Chromecast speakers, the Google Home Mini will continue to use its own speaker to deliver information, but music will come via the Bluetooth speaker. So will podcasts.
You can read about the Google Home Mini here. Go to the Google Store here to get the deal. The special price ends at midnight on 15 May 2019.
(That’s a straight link to the Google store, by the way. We don’t get a cut.)