Smart Home

Google Home, Nest Mini, Nest Wifi: Set up whole-home audio on the cheap

Google introduced a new color — sky blue — with the updated Google Nest Mini (formerly Google Home Mini).


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Most Google Home
households start with just one smart speaker or display, but it certainly doesn’t have to end there. Google Home (

$79 at Walmart

) and Google Nest smart devices can do way more when you put them together than they can alone, with probably the most popular project being the creation of a whole-house audio system.

Building a house-wide audio system used to be an expensive, complicated process requiring professional installation and pricey equipment. With Google Home, however, piping music through your entire house is only as costly or difficult as adding a few more speakers to the mix.

Here are some things to consider if you’re looking at getting your hands on one of the new devices, as well as how to set up speaker groups to enjoy house-wide audio once you’ve added more smart speakers.

Should you get a Nest Wifi or Nest Mini?

Google’s new Nest Wifi mesh network router and access points are practically a no-brainer if you’re already thinking about upgrading your current wireless setup. The router itself can be controlled with voice commands from any of your Google Home devices, and the access points that extend your wireless signal throughout your house pull double duty as smart speakers.

If you’re looking to add voice control or audio playback to more rooms of your home, at $49 (£49, AU$79) the updated Google Nest Mini is the least expensive way to do it. What’s more, Google made considerable internal improvements to this refresh, which result in a stronger bass response and generally better sound over the previous model, making it a pretty decent speaker — even for music.

google-nest-wifi-router

The Goole Nest Wifi system includes access points that double as smart speakers and are available in three colors to compliment your home decor.


Juan Garzon/CNET

How to set up whole-home audio with Google Home

You don’t have to wait until you’ve equipped every part of your house with a Google Home smart speaker to create a multispeaker system. All you need are at least two devices capable of receiving audio from Google Home. Those can be Google Home smart speakers or displays, or a stereo or TV equipped with Chromecast (

$19 at eBay

), either internally or with a plug-in dongle.

To set up a speaker group, follow these steps:

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.

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You can create as many groups as you’d like or need. Say, for example, you want a group that includes every speaker in your whole house, but you might also want to create separate groups for upstairs and downstairs speakers.

Once you have your speaker groups set up, playing music through all the speakers in a particular group is as easy as saying what you want to play and what speaker group you want to play it through. For example, “OK, Google, play reggae radio on whole house speaker group.” Alternatively, “OK Google, play some Katy Perry on the upstairs speakers.”

Once you’ve got your whole-house audio system up and running, consider proactively addressing the privacy issues that come with smart home technology by changing these Google Assistant settings to safeguard your personal data. If you’re having any trouble setting up your new devices, here’s how to handle the three most common issues people have with Google Home. Finally, Google Home may play second fiddle to Amazon’s Echo smart speakers and Alexa, but you can still show off to your friends and family with these three things that only Google Home can do.

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This article was originally published last year.

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