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Use "Emby for Google Home" to Play Music on Google Home Devices


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Sam865

I'm looking for a way to select songs from my Emby Server using voice commands on a Google Home device such as the Google Home Mini or the Google Nest. I want to play the music directly on the Google Home device that issues the voice command, rather than routing it to my phone or a DLNA-compatible "player."  However, there doesn't seem to be an option to simply play the selected music directly on the Google Home device's speaker. Am I overlooking something?

 

I have successfully installed and configured the Emby for Android app and linked it to my Emby Server using Emby Connect. I can start a session by saying "Hey Google, talk to Emby Home." I can then say "Play <a song title> by <artist name>. Google finds the song on my Emby Server and asks which player I want to use. (Right now there are only two choices—my android phone or a DLNA device that I never use.) To test the feature, I selected my phone and it does play the song as expected, but not on the speaker I would like to use.

 

(If the Emby team wants to pursue improving Emby for Google Home, you might take a look at a product called MyMedia, which is an Amazon Echo "skill." Their approach is  elegant and it works flawlessly. The software "watches" and indexes local music folders on a PC to create a lightweight music server that is compatible with Alexa. I wish something similar existed for use with Google Home products.)

 

 

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Luke

Hi there, yes we are working on improving our google home features. thanks for the feedback.

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  • 2 weeks later...
jxb1234

I tried this tonight and was disappointed that emby can't play music on a google speaker.

As Google are discontinuing Google play music this year which allowed you to upload and play your own music for free, I need to find a solution.

The alternative is to dump google and go to Alexa, or buy a cd player.

Please please make emby work correctly with google speakers for music.

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Sam865

Since you are on an Emby forum, I assume that you have a decent desktop computer on which you run your Emby server. As a stop-gap measure (until the folks at Emby perfect Emby Connect), you can use that same computer to run a program called MyMedia. (Just Google "MyMedia for Alexa" for details.) Per their website, MyMedia "installs a tiny media server on your computer that integrates with the ease and power of Amazon Alexa to give you voice control over your media collection. My Media lets you stream your music collection to your Amazon Echo or Amazon Dot without having to upload all your music collection to the Cloud. This keeps your music under your control." It has a seven day free trial, and if you like it, you can purchase a subscription that costs only $5 per YEAR. I have no affiliation with this company, and I sincerely hope that Emby Connect can work the same magic with Google Home/Google Nest products. In the meantime, you can keep using Google Play Music and at the same time experiment with MyMedia for Alexa.

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jxb1234

I'm running Emby in a docker on a server :D

I've installed mymediaforalexa as a test to see how well it works. I now need to buy an Alexa device to test it with. Google home doesn't seem to be the best supported home assistant for many different things; home automation, music, intercom between devices etc, which is a shame as the voice synthesis and search results are both significantly better than the alexa devices i've heard at friends houses.

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Sam865

You can actually test MyMedia using the Alexa App on your mobile phone while you are at home. (I have an Android phone). It accepts voice commands. For example, "Alexa, ask MyMedia to play Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight by James Taylor." The sound quality won't be very good, but you can see how it works. (I already have Amazon Echo devices in my home, so this might be a prerequisite for getting Alexa to work on your mobile phone. Also, I've never tried using this test method when I'm away from home. It would be interesting to see whether it would work that way or not.)  

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  • 2 months later...

Hi I'd like to add my +1 for this feature request. I love Emby but not being able to play music on a Google Home device is the big missing piece especially now that Google is removing Google Play Music.

If I can help in any way testing/development I'm willing to help out.

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Sam865

I suggested this as an added feature for Emby Connect back in June, and I hope there are enough interested people to warrant the effort required required by Emby to make it work. I'm extremely disappointed in Google's decision to eliminate the ability to use Google Home voice commands to play songs from my personally curated, legally purchased, music library. As I understand it, this feature, which worked well with Google Play Music, isn't even supported by the paid version of YouTube Music.

As an elderly and cantankerous former engineer and semi-professional musician, I have an extensive library of music of multiple genres spanning at least nine decades. I know the types of music I like (and if I like it I'm inclined to buy it). I resent being inundated with Google Assistant's inane and totally unhelpful suggestions of streaming music that "I might like" because in their opinion it is similar to a song I requested. I have also created numerous backing tracks that I use to practice jazz standards and other songs on my digital keyboard. Voice commands would be extremely useful for selecting and playing these tracks.

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ebr
15 hours ago, Sam865 said:

I'm extremely disappointed in Google's decision to eliminate the ability to use Google Home voice commands to play songs from my personally curated, legally purchased, music library.

Yes, that is a sad state of the situation that appears to be making its way into the TV side with the new Chromecast as well.  I assume that, while you are disappointed in the decision, you understand why it was made.  It is all about economics as the $35 or $50 or whatever one-time payment for the device simply will not fund the ongoing engineering and development of the systems necessary to make these things work.

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Sam865

You are correct. It's really sad! The overwhelming trend across the entire digital industry is to move away from one-time purchases and replace them with ongoing, streaming subscription plans. (The consumer gets to listen/watch, but never really owns any physical media. Physical media is disappearing.) In the music industry aspiring artists will find it virtually impossible to get a recording contract because there will be no customer base to purchase their work. Buying a CD or downloading a digital "album" for a one-time charge will become a thing of the past. (The same is true for Blu-Ray and DVD sales.) The real problem here is that consumer "choice" will be determined by the streaming service providers, and they will always choose market-proven performers over emerging talent. This situation does not bode well for the long-term future of Emby. (Sorry to start a rant here, but it's important for people to know what's going on.)

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dansblackcat

Would be great if emby could play music to speaker groups.  I have 8 Hubs, homes and minis in a group called " all speakers"

I used to ask Google Home to "play random music on all speakers" and it would do just that.

It's ridiculous and unbelievable that Google expects me to pay to play my own music.

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ebr
11 hours ago, dansblackcat said:

It's ridiculous and unbelievable that Google expects me to pay to play my own music

That isn't an accurate representation.  There are many ways you can play your own  music for free.  However, if you want to use the technology and intelligence provided by Google to do that, then you may have to pay something to allow that.

Your position is like saying it is ridiculous that a cab (or Uber) driver expects you to pay to transport your own kids...

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dansblackcat
18 hours ago, ebr said:

That isn't an accurate representation.  There are many ways you can play your own  music for free.  However, if you want to use the technology and intelligence provided by Google to do that, then you may have to pay something to allow that.

Your position is like saying it is ridiculous that a cab (or Uber) driver expects you to pay to transport your own kids...

I have music that I've bought on Google play music over the last few years that I can no longer play via google assistant.  I have a routine that plays music on all of my speakers in the morning, as kind of an alarm clock, this no longer works.  If for example I ask google to play Metallica this no longer works, even though I have every album on youtube music.  If I ask it to play random music, this no longer works.  If can even be bothered to open an app and play my own uploads on my speakers there's a billion ads.  They've taken away free features that were part of the selling point for me and now charge a premium.  From what I've read some of the features no longer work even with a subscription.

I use emby to cast to my speaker groups which pretty much works flawlessly but it'd be nice to be able to ask one of my smart speakers to do it, rather than having to go grab my phone.

I think it's more like saying it is ridiculous that a cab (or Uber) driver expects you to pay to transport your own kids in your own car with a voucher for a free ride... :D

**UPDATE:  Google have just added the ability to play uploaded music via assistant voice commands on Android Auto.  Maybe they'll add it to Home too?

 

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ebr
7 hours ago, dansblackcat said:

I think it's more like saying it is ridiculous that a cab (or Uber) driver expects you to pay to transport your own kids in your own car with a voucher for a free ride...

I don't know what your free ride voucher is in this analogy but, even in your example, you are using the services of the driver.

My point is just because it is "your music" (it actually isn't but we won't go there...) doesn't give you the privilege of using location and transport mechanisms provided as a service for free.

I'm sensitive to this thinking because we see it all the time from users out here.  "Why should I have to pay to play my own movies on my own server".  Well, you don't but, if you want to use all the features we provide in the Emby system, then you just might need to because they didn't come out of thin air for free :) 

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Sam865

OK, I started this whole mess back in June, so maybe I can "put it to bed." Google has relented and, as of October 6 (according to an article at AndroidCentral), you should now be able to "cast" uploaded music and playlists to your smart speakers using voice commands without a paid subscription. This would appear to solve the problem, but I am reserving judgment until someone else has tested the feature. I was persuaded by Google to move all my uploaded music from Google Play Music to YouTube Music (twice) only to find that voice commands were not (yet) supported on YTM. I had to reload everything onto Google Play Music. (I eventually gave up waiting and switched to Amazon Music and Alexa.)

Google still allows you to upload and store a reasonable number of songs/albums that you have already purchased. They just took away the ability to send the music to one of their smart speakers using voice commands. Although Google's YouTube Music service DID/DOES support voice commands for playing streaming music, for some reason it DID NOT support voice commands for playing personally curated music until very recently. Whether you were using a paid YouTube Music subscription or or using the "free" version, you had to access your personally curated music through the YouTube Music app via a phone, tablet, or computer.

I suspect that the underlying issue here was royalty fees. The normal subscription fee includes a small royalty "play fee" each time a song is played by a customer. The royalty fee helps to compensate the songwriter/performer for the privilege of listing to their music. That's OK—they deserve it! However, when a consumer purchases a CD or MP3, a much larger one-time royalty fee is included in the purchase price. Theoretically, this allows the consumer to legally listen to the music in perpetuity (since backup copies are permitted in case the original media is damaged.) It is probably a real headache for Google to keep track of royalties when the customer libraries include both streaming and already-purchased music.

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