Google Home now lowers the volume of casting audio when using Google Assistant

If you’ve ever tried to ask your Google Home a question when it’s casting audio to a TV or speaker, you’re probably aware that it can have trouble understanding you when the audio is too loud. I’ve run into this countless times, so I’m happy to report that Google is now working to make this a much more seamless operation.

Now, when your Google Home is casting videos or music to a TV or speaker, the Assistant will automatically lower the volume so it can better understand what you’re saying. For instance, if you’re casting a YouTube video to your television from your Google Home and want to ask it a question (such as “turn the volume down”), your TV will lower when you say “Ok Google” and stay at that level until you’re done talking to the Assistant. This feature should now be enabled by default.

Related: How to sign up for the Google Home Preview Program

I’ve been able to make this work on my Google Home running on preview firmware version 97091, though it sounds like some users don’t have access to the feature yet. If you’d like to see if it’s live for you, navigate to the devices section in your Google Home app, and you should see an option called Lower volume when listening.

However, this feature won’t work in all cases. Here are the list of exceptions for when Google Home won’t lower the volume:

  • If you’re casting music on a group of Cast devices.
  • If you started casting content on a TV or speaker using a mobile phone and not your voice.
  • When casting content on an Android TV devices with fixed volume (e.g. Nexus Player)
  • When casting content on a Chromecast built-in speaker or TV, or Android TV running Chromecast firmware version older than 1.25. Here’s how to check your firmware version.
  • For TV shows and movies when playback is done at 5.1 surround sound.

This should make talking to your Assistant much easier. Are you seeing this feature yet? Let us know in the comments below.

Google Home will soon lower volume of videos and music you’re casting to devices when you’re using Assistant

Google Assistant is the main selling point behind the Google Home, but Assistant can’t really help you if there’s audio blasting in the background and it can’t hear you. To alleviate this, Google Home will now automatically lower the volume of any music or video playing on speakers or TVs that it’s casting to when a user is speaking to Assistant.

The idea is simple – to make it easier for Assistant to hear you when you speak to it and for you to more easily hear Assistant when it replies back, Home will now automatically lower volume from casted devices when Assistant is activated. However, it won’t work when the following conditions are true:

  • If you’re casting music on a group of Cast devices. 
  • If you started casting content on a TV or speaker using a mobile phone and not your voice.
  • When casting content on an Android TV devices with fixed volume (e.g. Nexus Player)
  • When casting content on a Chromecast built-in speaker or TV, or Android TV running Chromecast firmware version older than 1.25. Here’s how to check your firmware version.
  • For TV shows and movies when playback is done at 5.1 surround sound.

Google’s support page says that this feature is live now, but of Artem’s four – yes, four – Homes (one of which is on preview firmware), none of them have this capability yet. But if you do and would like to turn this functionality off for whatever reason, you can do so by following these steps:

  • Make sure your mobile device or tablet is connected to the same Wi-Fi as your Google Home device.
  • Open the Google Home app.
  • In the top right corner of the Home screen, tap Devices to see available Google Home devices.
  • Scroll to find the device card for the Google Home you’d like to adjust.
  • In the top right corner of the device card, tap the device card menu Settings.
  • Under “Lower volume when listening”, tap the checkbox or slide the slider off.

Let us know if you guys are seeing this feature in the comments below.

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Co-Operative Blast ‘Em Up Nine Parchments Is Casting Its Spell On Switch

Frozenbyte has confirmed that its upcoming “co-operative blast’em up” Nine Parchments will be coming to the Nintendo Switch.

The top-down action title features co-operative play with local and online options, and is set in a fantasy world not entirely dissimilar to that seen in Frozenbyte’s previous games, Trine and Has-Been Heroes.

Nine Parchments is also coming to the PS4, Xbox One and PC later this year.

Here’s the official PR:

Frozenbyte is excited to announce that the co-operative blast’em up game Nine Parchments is coming to Nintendo Switch™! 

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About Nine Parchments 

A group of drop-out wizard apprentices decide to skip their training for a quick path to the Nine Parchments.

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What do you make of this game so far? Will you be investing in it on Switch?

Google Home might soon get cloud device casting, reminder controls

Google’s I/O 2017 developer conference is set to kick start tomorrow and naturally we expect to hear some news about the Google Home.

While we wait for Google to provide us the scoop, the folks at the xda-developers performed an APK teardown on one of the most recent updates to the Google Home app (2.3) and so uncovered a few clues about future functionalities we can expect to see get added to Google Home.

According to some code streams in the app’s update, Google Home might soon boast an ability called “cloudcast” – a tool that could allow users to cast to a Home without being on the same network. At this point in time, users can cast via Google Chromecast when devices are placed in close vicinity and both connected to the same network.

On top of that, it appears that the Google Assistant might gain integration with third party companies quite possibly via the Google Home app. Soon products like the NVIDIA’s Spot speakers might support Google’s AI-driven assistant.

But perhaps one of the most useful feature revealed by the teardown is the ability to list reminders. The new function will reportedly work in a similar manner to the Home Control, Shopping and Music options that can be access via the app’s slide out menu.

Other improvements that might be headed for Google Home in the near future include Proxy Support, being able to clear the search history from the Google Home app, as well as a Bluetooth Management tool (although Google Home does not allow users to pair Bluetooth devices) and the ability to change notification sounds.

Keep in mind that APK teardowns can only predict features that might appear with future updates, but not confirm them. It remains to be seen whether the Google Home will gain any of the options outline above or not.