"OK Google" voice control of Roon playback to Google Home


(Louis Richardson) #1

I’m digging the new support for Google Chromecast devices. I’ve already dug up a Google Chromecast Audio that I had sitting around and used it to replace an AppleTV I had hooked up to a AV receiver.

I have a Google Home device. My wife loves to listen to music through it, because you can control it with your voice. Even better, if you have Chromecast devices set up in your house, you can use the Google Home to play music to a given zone. For example, “OK Google, play Peter Gabriel in the living room”.

I messed around briefly this morning, and I see that, if I use one of my Roon remotes to initiate playback to a Google Chromecast device, I can then tell my Google Home to do things like increase volume, skip track, go back one track. For example, “OK Google, raise volume by 20 percent”. It works great. What would be even better is if I could use the Google Home to initiate playback through Roon.

Is this possible presently, or maybe in the future? This would really help me to integrate music playback in my home. I would like Roon to serve as the only music playback application, but voice control is a priority for other members of the household.

With that request made, I just want to say that I am really loving this application. I have only been a subscriber for a month or so, and I am enjoying it even more than I thought I would. I am discovering new music every day. It’s fantastic!


(Stephen Finnegan) #2

I’m very interested in this as well. Honestly it’s probably one of the main reasons I haven’t bought the subscription yet. I really liked the music discovery side of things and the tidal integration is awesome, but i would really like the “Ok Google, play Peter Gabriel in the living room” feature too.


(Reader of the Internets) #3

Roon apparently already did this for Alexa, and didn’t like the way it turned out. It’s actually a very hard thing to get right. You have to handle accents, disambiguate requests (did you mean the album or the artist and by the way which “Greatest Hits” was that anyway?), probably will need a conversational mode, etc.


(Drew Wilson) #4

The only reason I have not bought an Apple Home Pod is that it will not control iTunes located on a home server.

Adding hey google to Roon would be awesome.


#5

Difficult to implement perhaps, but probably also the future.


(Reader of the Internets) #6

Google Play Music tried to do this, and you’d think they’d have an “in”. But it turned out to be an epic failure, for reasons that aren’t clear. But ambiguity was a big part of it; it had no conversational aspect, so it couldn’t handle them. You’d ask it to play “The Music Man”, having the soundtrack in your GPM cloud library, and it would think you were referring to the movie, and complain because it couldn’t contact your Chromecast. It could never play tracks like “Krazy Kat”, presumably because it heard you say, “crazy cat”, and even if it did, which track should it play, the one by Artie Shaw or the one by Frankie Trumbauer?

I’ve seen a number of articles lately (probably a single source) pointing out that Google Assistant voice recognition doesn’t work very well for people who don’t speak a reasonable version of West Coast American Standard dialect. Imagine the support issues Roon would have for that alone.

Maybe in 10 years…


(Louis Richardson) #7

Hmm. I started this thread. And, as I mentioned, this is more my wife’s concern than mine. I don’t generally use the Google Home device much. But from my limited experience with it, I have seen that it can indeed play music from GPM. If you have GPM selected as your preferred music service, and say, “OK Google, play Dire Straits”, then it plays Dire Straits. Of course, it is far less than perfect. You get a decent amount of errors. Sometimes, it’ll play the wrong thing, or will tell you it can’t execute the command. However, it works well enough in many cases. I just think it would be great if Roon could be the source that the music comes from, especially since Tidal isn’t available as a preferred music service through Google Home. That way, any requests made to the device would result in CD quality music playback.


(Reader of the Internets) #8

For certain classes of user accents, and certain kinds of music collections, I’m sure it works great. But see https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/googlehome/E-Blpmr2UjI/3NRSoLKnAQAJ.


(Reader of the Internets) #9

Google’s announced some fixes to GPM, notably the ability to play an album all the way through. Still can’t play “Krazy Kat”.


(Anders Vinberg) #10

I haven’t tried any of these, probably should.

But a “convenience” feature that is unreliable would infuriate me.

Officer K in Blade Runner 2049 could speak to his machines. Maybe we have to wait till then. I’ll be pretty old…


(Reader of the Internets) #11

The Google Assistant speakers are fun to play with, aside from music. If you want to be infuriated, ask it to tell you a joke – they’re all puns. But I have to admit the Roon integration is particularly nice, as you can control the volume and pause/play with the voice commands to the speakers. The JBL Link series seem to be good value, btw. Portable, waterproof, Chromecast built in. Somewhat behind on the latest Google Assistant firmware, though.


(Rob Rodier) #12

I think the other thing to note here is that Tidal doesn’t offer this functionality either, and it is particularly difficult functionality to lose once a family gets used to it.

For this reason I am forced to use Tidal with Roon, and Spotify on the google homes. It would be great to not have to not pay for Spotify on top of Roon on top of Tidal.


(Alastair Roberts) #13

My wife also wants this. She loves telling our Google Home Mini to play music. I have had to explain to her currently it will not play music from our Roon/Tidal setup.


(Daniel Bretherton) #14

Easily done with Spotify and it’s only $11 per month, Roon is…well…yes.


(Jonathan) #15

I have 8 Google Home devices including the Hub which is in our kitchen. I recently set the Hub to be the display for Roon controlled music playing over Airplay in our Family Room which is a nice feature. On the control side, I haven’t seen it yet however using the Logitech Harmony Hub, I can command Google to activate Sonos favorites which would be a similar approach for integrating Roon in a way … I can say Ok, Google, Turn on “favorite name” and it plays. Following up with OK, Google Volume Up/Down work as well as Ok, Google Turn of Sonos. I did organize all my Harmony Sonos favorites into a Room on Google Home so turning the room “off” is what triggers that last bit.

Having named playlists or favorites would be a great way to integrate playback. On the Home devices you can set a preferred output player so casting or even bluetooth output is pretty easy by default as well.


(Paul Mindemann) #16

Just re-opening this conversation to say that the brand-new Google Home Hub was just $99 over the holidays, and a bunch of us are probably adding them to our homes (I know our family did, and even my in-laws did). I played around with it tonight and got Roon to play as the OP discovered… by starting on another device and using the Hub as a crude display (sans artwork or full control). It would be great to have the Home Hub as a device that Roon recognizes natively (from which we could cast to a Chromecast Audio device). I’m currently doing this with an iPad. I would image the Home Hub would be similar, minus the voice functionality.

Honestly, this kind of functionality would keep me with Roon. Without it… well, the high cost combined with the lack of ease-of-use/integration with tech like this would likely have me just going with natively supported apps like Deezer, etc. that the Hub supports fully.


(Paul Whittaker) #17

I would be interested in my Google Home being able to control playback as it does other services such as Spotify. I just commenting to follow the discussion :slight_smile: