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Smart Home

9 Google Home tips for music lovers

If you love your Google Home speaker about as much as you love music, here are nine tips you should know.

Chris Monroe/CNET

One of the strong suits of any smart speaker is its ability to stream a wide range of music from multiple services. Google Home speakers are no exception. In fact, they're especially great at playing your favorite tunes even when you can't remember a song by name.

Here are nine tips for listening to music with your Google Home speaker.

Listen to YouTube Music

If Google Play Music or Spotify don't have the specific version of a song you like, or you just like the live version better, you can listen to the song on YouTube Music. To do this, just say something along the lines of, "OK Google, play 'Selkies: The Endless Obsession' on YouTube Music."

Change the default services

One of the first things you should do with your Google Home speaker is set the default music service. To change this, open the Google Home app on your iPhone or Android device, tap the three-line hamburger button in the top left to expand the side menu and select Music from the list. Next, link your accounts if needed and tap the radio button beside the primary service you want to use.

After setting a default service, you can still use the other services by clarifying which one you want to use at the end of your commands. Just say, "OK Google, play Fleet Foxes on Spotify," for example, or, "OK Google, play Brand New on Google Play Music."

Set up multiroom audio

If you have more than one Google Home speaker in your home, you can play music on multiple speakers simultaneously. To do this, you must create an audio group.

First, make sure all devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Then open the Google Home app and go to Devices (the icon in the top right of the app in the shape of a TV with a speaker in front of it). In the top-right corner of one of the cards for a speaker, tap the menu button (three vertical dots) and select Create Group. Give the group a name and select all the audio devices you want in the group by tapping the boxes next to their names. Click Save.

With a group created, to play music through all audio devices in that group, say, "OK Google, play Taking Back Sunday on [group name]."

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Throw music to the TV

If you happen to have a Chromecast alongside your Google Home speaker, you can use Google Home to control the Chromecast. It can turn on the TV and play YouTube videos or YouTube Music on the TV. But you can also throw music from Spotify or Google Play Music to the Chromecast. Just say, "OK Google, play The Tallest Man on Earth on [Chromecast name]."

Find a song based on context

Hear an awesome new song and can't remember the name? No worries. As long as you can remember something about the song, you may be able to find it with Google Home.

If you remember part of the lyrics, you can say, "OK Google, play the song that goes, 'Is this the real life?'" You can also say things like, "OK Google, play that song by David Bowie in 'Guardians of the Galaxy.'" It doesn't always work -- it couldn't find "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell when I spoke a similar command -- but with trial and error, you might be able to find that song that's been stuck in your head for days.

Identify songs

On the flip side, if you're watching TV or streaming music from something other than a Google Home speaker, you can ask what's currently playing. Just say, "OK Google, what song is this?" It will tell you the name of the song and who sings it.

Third-party music apps

Beyond listening to music, Google Home has plenty of third-party music software to keep you entertained. There are games to play, such as Music Quiz or Guess the Lyrics. Song of the Day is a podcast from 89.3 The Current that has an Assistant app that will play a new song from independent artists for you each weekday.

And there's plenty more to comb through. Just go to assistant.google.com/explore and search "music" to find more.

Music alarm

Want to wake up to your favorite song? Now you can. Just say, "OK Google, wake me up at 8 a.m. to the Brain Food playlist." You can also wake up to a specific song or music from a particular artist.

Sleep timer

If you like to listen to music as you fall asleep but don't want to let the music continue playing through the night, use a sleep timer. All you have to do is say, "OK Google, stop playing in 45 minutes."