Google Home’s ‘stream transfer’ untangles Monday morning traffic jams

Multiroom audio is great for rocking the entire house when you're throwing a party, but Google is also making it easier when everyone in your home wants to listen to their own music.

The Monday morning rush in a busy household can also be peak hour for streaming music. In my home you've got two teenagers and two parents getting ready for the day, meaning you'll often hear some odd mashups as Billie Eilish plays in one room and Bon Jovi in the next.

The new Nest Mini has better sound, improved microphones and can be wall mounted.

A family streaming music subscription helps keep the peace, but you can still run into crosstown traffic jams as you fling Jon Bon and the boys from the bedroom to the bathroom.

Unfortunately there's no simple way for Bon Jovi to follow you around the house. You either ask for the band again in the bathroom, cutting them off mid-song in the bedroom, or else mess around with your smartphone to shift the music.

This is where Spotify shines. Open up Spotify on any device and you can see where your music is playing right now. You can shift Bon Jovi from the bedroom speaker back to the smartphone in your hand, and then fling them to a different speaker; all without interrupting Richie Sambora's guitar solo.

It's not that simple using Google Play Music or Amazon Music. With Google, you can only use the Google Play Music app to move Bon Jovi between Google speakers if you used the app in the first place to start the music playing in the bedroom.

All models of Google Home support stream transfer.

The same with the Amazon Music app and Amazon Echo speakers. You're stuck if you initially asked these smart speakers for a hit of '80s rock, you can't then use the app to move to another speaker mid-song.

Restarting your music in another room can really break your groove, but Google Assistant has finally come to the party with a "stream transfer" feature, to coincide with the launch of the new Nest Mini smart speaker.

The Nest Mini is an impressive improvement on the original Google Home Mini. It packs a lot more bass, while the improved microphone does a much better job of hearing you in a noisy environment, such as shouting over the sound of the shower.

Shifting music mid-song works with any Google speaker, not just the new Nest Mini. Simply say "Okay Google, move the music to the bathroom speaker" and Google's roadies take care of the rest.

Unfortunately this trick only works with Google's own smart speakers, not third-party Google Assistant speakers from the likes of Sonos, JBL and Sony.

If you've already staked your claim on the bathroom, you don't need to go back to the bedroom to get your music. Just say "Okay Google, move the music from the bedroom speaker to the bathroom speaker". If someone forgot to take Billie Eilish with them, you can even banish her from the bathroom to another room before Bon Jovi takes centre stage.

Despite Google Assistant's best efforts, asking her for music can still sometimes kill someone else's music in another room. Setting a phantom family member as the default user helps with this, but thankfully Google Assistant is extra careful when moving music between speakers.

If anyone else is listening to music in another room, Google Assistant asks you to specify where you're shifting your music from, to ensure you don't accidentally steal someone else's morning jams.

Google Assistant still can't break up fights over who has first dibs on the bathroom in the morning but, thanks to stream transfer, at least she can ensure that your favourite music runs hot.

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