Illustration of google home and logitech harmony
Not sure if it's bucking or flying now, but the Grand Canyon is amazing =)

When it takes more than half a year for something to get released, after being officially announced, we can assume that this something is probably a Google feature. When this something involves working with another manufacturer, since it’s an integration, we can assume it was a rough ride. And when this something is revealed then, prematurely, disabling main features on our Google Homes, like a simple “play some music” command, we picture exhausted developers and overworked testers, sleeping under their desks, with their heads resting on piles of pizza boxes.

So, here we are now, the biggest bugs are fixed (“play (some music)” works now since 2018-11-08), pizza boxes disposed, time to test ride this integration. Since the Google Home app has also received a makeover, you will find here updated screenshots together with an updated how-to connect your Google Home to your Logitech Harmony Hub and how to voice control it.

A BIG THANK YOU goes to all of you who take the time and share your Google Home & Logitech Harmony experiences and questions in our discussion section, like Andy, Brandon, David, Francis, Jason, Jeremy, drkfiber, DudeDad, Stuart, Viking, Mikell and Nik! Only together, we’ll figure it out ..

Jason, thank you for co-testing countless hours, when we were trying to make sense of the initial release. You’ve highlighted many concepts I am re-using here!

Andy, thanks a lot for all the important feedback! I am adding this in the warning below!

Before we begin …

In case you have not set up your Harmony devices, activities and favorites yet, please refer to our post here: Logitech Harmony: a Hub and its Elite, Ultimate, Companion. You need to complete the Harmony setup first, before you can configure the Google integration.

WARNING: Please be aware, that some of the brave people who worked through this guide in the end returned back to Harmony’s (retired) red Action. As Andy indicates below, when you are using a Google Home Hub you might end up with essential voice commands not working at all and even the effect, that the new Harmony Blue Service affects other smart home controls. This makes it currently unusable on such a device! We will extend the tests with screen devices begin next year and keep this post updated.

If the new updates are not available in your country yet, or you don’t like the blue Harmony service and prefer the red retired one, please refer to our older post here: Logitech Harmony and Google Assistant: Setup and Voice Commands. Maybe the old setup can help in your case. You will also find an overview of Google’s ready made routines, custom routines and scheduled routines in there.

What has changed?

Before we dive into the setup, a couple of remarks on why this is an important update. This is basically a summary of the observations we were discussing in the comment section of the old post(s) above:

  • The old (aka “retired” or “red”) integration, required to set up the Logitech Harmony “link” for every user when using voice match. With this update we expect Logitech Harmony now to be part of the home control devices (like our lights, thermostats, cameras, etc) which we can easily share with the Google Home apps new “household” feature.
  • For the old integration we had to create custom routines to avoid saying “Hey Google, ask Harmony to …” and again, since we cannot share our custom routines with our family, we had to recreate them, for everyone.
  • To summarize: for those who know Alexa’s “blue skill” for Harmony, with this update we expect to see similar features, for those who don’t care about Alexa: with this update we expect a solid, functional, snappy integration, where we do not need to create custom routines and which our families can also use, without additional work on our side.

Let’s set up Harmony for Google Home

Google’s Home App Update

screen shot of google home light settings
Google Home App Light Settings

Google’s Home app has received a makeover and displays now all of our smart home devices like lights, thermostats, cameras, etc. with a new, more graphical rather than textual user interface.

This goes in hand with the announcement of the new Google Home Hub, which offers us a touchscreen and with that a mixed voice / touch experience. When you, for instance tap the microphone button in the new Google Home app on your smartphone and just say “lights”, Google will turn on all your lights and the app will show you controls to dim the brightness for the whole group or individually.

Our Logitech Harmony is obviously not a light and no additional screen will be displayed to further control our Harmony activity or to select one of our favorites (yet?). Still, this mixed voice / touch experience is the gist of the new Google Home app update.

screen shot google home home screen quick actions
The Quick Actions on our Google Home, home screen

The main screen of the updated Google Home app offers us now “Quick Actions” on top, to:

  • Turn our lights on and off (all or by room)
  • Play music and set the volume on all our cast devices
  • Broadcast a message to all Google Home devices
  • Display a feed from our security cameras
  • Open our home settings, and finally …
  • The plus button “Add …”, which enables us to set up services, add home members, create speaker groups and homes. Here we can find the new, blue Harmony service. But before we install it, let’s get rid of the old “red” one first.

 

Unlinking the old, red, retired Harmony Action

screenshot of google home: how can I help you?
Activating the microphone in the Google Home App opens a popup with a compass button in the top right.

In case you have the old, now retired, red Harmony Action installed, let’s unlink it:

  1. (Force) quit the Google Assistant app
  2. Tap the microphone icon at the bottom of the Google Home app.
  3. The Google Assistant popup will ask you “Hi, how can I help?”, tap on the blue compass icon in the upper right corner of the popup. This takes us to the Google Assistant app and you should see a “Explore” text box on top of your screen. In case you end up someplace else in the Assistant app, tap the compass icon (now on the bottom left) of the Goggle Assistant app.
  4. In the Explore box on top of the screen, search for Harmony. A red Harmony Action will appear, tap on it.
  5. Scroll all the way down until you see an “unlink” button.
  6. Tap on it and we are done.

Linking the new, blue Harmony Service

Now we are ready to link the new Harmony integration:

  1. screenshot of google home harmony new service
    The new blue Harmony Service

    In the Google Home app home screen, tap the “+” button named “Add …”

  2. Tap “Set up device”
  3. The top entry “Set up new devices” is for new Google Homes, so we need to counterintuitively tap on “Have something already set up?” in the “Works with Google” section.
  4. Tap the search icon on the top right and search for “Harmony”
  5. A blue “Harmony” service will appear, tap on it
  6. In the upcoming “Logi” screen select your preferred way of linking to Harmony (Amazon, Facebook, Google or email). I prefer email. Note, the screen display is not optimized for smartphones with a notch, you’ll need to scroll down a bit, to not miss the buttons.
  7. Enter the e-mail address where your Harmony Hub is registered and tap sign in.
  8. Here we need to authorize Google to access our Harmony remote, tap “authorize”.
  9. If we were linked to Harmony before, a screen will inform us that our settings have been “restored”. Here we can switch between Harmony Hubs, in case we have multiple. Check out Jason’s trick below for avoiding Yonomi, Stringify, IFTTT or any other 3rd party cloud service and integrate multiple Harmony hubs directly with Google Home.

Selecting Activities & Favorites

screenshot of google home activities configuration
Google Home Harmony Activities and friendly names

A list of your Harmony activities pops up. Here you can check which activities should be controlled by Google. You can define new alternatives for your activities by tapping “Add friendly name” or delete suggested alternatives by tapping the little “x”.

Please note, different to our old approach with the red Harmony Activity, we don’t want to create routines later on, so picking the right friendly names is super important here. Some “friendly names” are reserved for Google (e.g. “music”), but this is still not checked here. In case you find that particular activities or favorites do not work for you later on, the screens above are the right place to rename them. Just repeat the steps 1-3 from the previous chapter and click on the Harmony icon to unlink the service from Google Home and repeat all steps, again. I agree, this is not easy to remember and not very intuitive.

On the next screen, you will find a list of the favorite channels that you have specified during your Harmony setup. Check, which favorites you would like to control with Google Home, and specify friendly names as alternatives for voice commands.

screenshot google home harmony link account
Google Home final screen: link your Harmony account!

On the final screen, you will see a list of sample commands like “Hey Google, turn on TV!” and a cute “Enjoy!”

How to use our new Harmony Integration?

When you’ve successfully linked your accounts, Logitech will send you an e-mail to your registered account at Harmony, with some voice command examples based on your configuration. Some will work, some not. You will also find the tip, that you are able to “sometimes” use short commands. Heh?

Before we dig into the voice commands to “Enjoy!”, there is a concept we should be aware of (to understand the “sometimes”):

  • Activity commands, like “Ok Google, turn on TV”, work always! Easy.
  • Additional commands, like favorites, playback and volume control, work
    • always in long form (when you add, “… on my TV” or “on the TV” or “on TV” or just “TV” at the end) and
    • yes, that’s cool: also in short form (without adding “… on my TV” at the end), but only if you have not switched the voice focus meanwhile to another device.

What’s a voice focus? To be honest, we just made up this “voice focus” concept, to be able to better understand the behaviour of this integration. Any request to any device (Google Home / Chromecasts vs Harmony activities) switches the voice focus to the device, which will execute the request. From there we can use commands in their short form. Here are some examples:

  • “Turn on TV” and then (wait a bit for the activity to execute) “Volume Up” turns the TV on and then the volume up on the TV (via Harmony)
  • But “Play some music” and a subsequent “Volume Up” plays music and turns up the volume on the Google Home device.
  • “Turn on TV” and then “Pause” turns the TV on and pauses your eg cablebox (or whatever is mapped to the pause button in your Harmony activity)
  • “Play some music” and a subsequent “Pause” plays music and then pauses it on the Google Home device (or whichever default speaker you have set)
  • I hope by now this concept makes sense, because the next example is a bug and should not confuse you:
  • “Turn off TV” and then a “Volume Up” returns currently “Sorry, something went wrong …” and is obviously a bug, because we’d expect that our voice focus goes back to the Google Home device, as no Harmony activity is running. Who do you think we are talking to, Google & Harmony, if we just turned off the Harmony activity? No wonder, something went wrong.

This voice focus remains active, until we switch it explicitly by using a long form command, adding “… on my TV” or “… on my GH speaker name” at the end or, implicitly, when issuing a command which is executed on some other device (e.g. “play some music”). Please note, that only the Google Home device you have started the Harmony activity with, is taking part in this voice focus game. The voice focus does not time out (like after some minutes with Alexa).

If we don’t keep this voice focus concept in mind, we will very soon ask ourselves: why is Google always reacting differently to the same short command?

Activity Commands

These are easy. We can see the configured activities in our Google Home app and just say:

  • “Hey Google, turn on/off (the) <activity-friendly-name>”

Google will come back by confirming “Ok, turning <activity-friendly-name> on/off!”. Please note, Google will always name your activities like the first friendly name you have specified during linking.

To turn off any Harmony activity running (thanks to Mikell), we can say:

  • “Hey Google, turn off Harmony”

Google, will come back with: “Ok, turning off <number of activities> things”.

Additional Commands

Here we need to keep the voice focus in mind, which I believe by now comes naturally. We can use the short form and omit the device name, if we’ve already talked to the device, otherwise we need the long form and specify the device name.

Favorite / Channel Commands

These are not so easy, as we won’t find a list of our favorites and their friendly names in the Google Home app. We need to memorize them (or write them down).

Now it depends on whether our activity is running, e.g. is the TV on, does Harmony have the voice focus? If yes, great, we have following short forms to switch the channel:

  • “Hey Google, turn on / go to / switch to (channel) <favorite-friendly-name>”

If our activity is not running, we need to add “… on TV” at the end of our voice command

  • “Hey Google, turn on / go to / switch to (channel) <favorite-friendly-name> on (the/my) TV”

Please note, if you have a Chromecast in your setup, using the short form, when a Harmony activity is not running, will most likely start YouTube playback on your Chromecast device and not turn your TV on and switch to the channel.

As Stuart indicates, it makes a lot of sense to create custom routines for your favorites, to shorten the commands to your liking and workaround that YouTube is launched on Chromecast (e.g. “Hey Google, switch to channel <favorite-friendly-name> on the TV” could be shortened to “Hey Google, <favorite-friendly-name>”). Please refer to the chapter “No, not again Custom Routines” for more workaround ideas!

Alternatively, if we are into channel numbers, we can say:

  • “Hey Google, switch to (channel) <number> (on TV)”

Note, if Google comes back with “Sure, for that you can talk to Harmony. Does that sound good?”, the voice focus was not with Harmony and you forgot to append “… on my TV” at the end.

Additionally, if our favorites are close to each other, we can navigate by saying:

  • “Hey Google, channel up/down (on TV)”

Playback Commands

  • “Hey Google, pause (on TV)”

will pause/resume the playback. Note, as of 2018-11-15, the short form “play” is reserved for music (if you played music before on your Google Home device). As “pause” is implemented as a toggle and you can use it to pause/play on TV.

To navigate within a movie we can say

  • “Hey Google, (fast) rewind/forward on TV”

Note, that the short forms do not work reliably and please refer to the chapter “No, not again Custom Routines” for workaround ideas. 

Volume Commands

To mute/unmute our Harmony activity, we can say

  • “Hey Google, Mute/Unmute (the TV)”

To control the volume, we have following commands:

  • “Hey Google, volume up/down (on TV)”
  • “Hey Google, increase/decrease the volume (on the TV)”

Thanks to Mikell, I checked following command again, and it works =)

  • “Hey Google, increase/decrease the volume by <amount> on TV”

In my setup the increments are 0.5 dB. So if I say 10 it will change by 5 dB.

Voice Match

Screenshot of Google Home Voice Match
Google Home Voice Match makes sense if you …

Google supports up to 6 voice profiles per Google Home device. With the voice match feature, Google is able to distinguish between different voices in your household. This supposedly improves “Hey/OK, Google” recognition and enables us to get personalized results and personalized media services like music and video.

To cut another potentially long story short:

If you’d like to receive personal results from your assistant (this includes Google Photos, Email, including flight reservations and bills, Google Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, Memory aids, Shopping lists, Purchases, Recipe recommendations and last but definitely not least media recommendations like music and video recommendations), you need to enable personal results.

Screenshot of Google Home Personal Results
… like to receive personal results.

Now that everybody, even guests, can access and influence your personal results with their voice, you need to enable voice match.

Household Members

Last but not least you can invite your family to your household (through “Add…”/”household member”), so that every household member:

  • sees all smart home devices in their apps,
  • can create their own individual routines which can combine many actions into one personalized voice command,
  • can link their personal music and video service to improve personal recommendations.

How to integrate Multiple Harmony Hubs

Screenshot of Google Home Add...
Google Home Add menu, the starting point of adding devices and inviting household members

There’s a trick with household members: Jason found that any invited family member can contribute with their smart home devices. We just retested and yes, how cool is that!? Suddenly it seems we have broken the barrier of just one Hub supported on Google Home, at least for Logitech Harmony (we’ll test other devices soon).

Here’s a step by step:

  1. Invite your household member from your own smartphone/account, the invitation will appear pending in the other accounts Google Home app settings
  2. On the household members device/account, accept the invitation and you can see the full household smart home setup shared, including the first Harmony Hub activities
  3. Add the Harmony Service on the household members smartphone/account (see “Linking the new, blue Harmony Service” above)
  4. When you get to the point where you can select the Harmony Hub, select the Harmony Hub, you’d like to add to your setup
  5. On the household members device/account, map the second Hubs activities to a room in the shared home
  6. After successful configuration, you should see the activities of all Hubs on all devices/accounts.

You are done! Everybody can now voice control all Harmony Hubs and activities.

No, not Custom Routines, again!

I know, we wanted to avoid them, but for the sake of short commands, let’s look into how we can override Google’s default behaviour.

This approach can help you to redefine commands you would otherwise not use with the Google Home device, e.g. for music playback. “Forward” and “Rewind” are good examples, as you would rather use “Previous” and “Next” for songs. You can also shorten commands for your favorites this way and workaround the problem that sometimes YouTube is launched on Chromecast.

To create a custom routine, navigate to Settings / More Settings / Assistant / Routines in the Google Home app and click on the “+” (plus) on the bottom right.

Our own Forward/Rewind

Screenshot of Our own Fast Forward
Our own Forward Custom Routine

Enter “Forward” in the “When I say …” and the text “Forward on TV” in the “The Google Assistant should …”. For voice feedback or testing purposes you could add a “Say something” from the popular actions and type a “Forward” in there. Don’t test the action with “Ok, Google …”, before saving everything, as it will activate the Google Assistant in your Google Home app and pull you out of the configuration, discarding our work.

Now, when you say “Ok Google, forward” you’ll hear a “Forward” indicating that our routine is running and it will always execute on your TV.

 

What did they say?

screenshot of what did they say
Missed something on TV and need to rewind a bit? Let’s try this custom routine

So you’re watching TV, your favorite actor mumbles or something or somebody distracts you and you go like “Ok Google, what did they say?”. Google rewinds a bit (on TV) and resumes playback. Sure, lets do that …

Note, that this routine depends a lot on your setup, in my case a single rewind on TV averages around skipping back 10 seconds, two rewinds average around 30 seconds, as it increases the rewind speed on my setup.

Other Languages

Google Home supports setting a second Google Assistant language. If you do not see the option (under Google Assistant / Settings / Assistant / Languages, you could try setting your smart phone region to English US and re-downloading the Google Home and the Google Assistant apps from the US stores. This has the advantage, that you can access all US features/services and actions, plus set a second language, like currently: Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai.

I have tested with German and can confirm, that as of 2018-11-30:

  • the activity commands are not working yet, coming back with power commands are not supported yet
  • the channel commands are not working yet, coming back with the activity does not support this yet (in the second language, but with English text =)
  • Playback and Volume commands do work already.

We can only hope to see the missing commands supported in the near future.

Conclusion

Apologies for the lengthy and late post. After testing the above, I feel like I slept on pizza boxes. Let’s summarize:

The Good

The main problems we had with the retired, red Harmony Action have been finally addressed. We can use now shorter, more natural commands and every family member can use our setup, even when using Voice Match.

Jason’s trick, which helps with multiple Harmony Hubs, is a smart, natural way to extend Logitech Harmony multiple Hub setups with the help of household member accounts.

The Bad

The integration update came both, too late in terms of announcement, and too early in terms of quality, and had initially serious bugs. Now, we still find following defects:

  • As Andy indicated: the new integration is not usable on a Google Home Hub!
  • Some short commands (like “Volume up/down”) are still sent to Harmony after turning an activity off (resulting in a “Sorry …” response).
  • “Resume” appears only to work with music.
  • Some commands reset the voice focus (like sometimes a short “Rewind” which cannot be executed, switches us back to Google Home).
  • To workaround some of the inconsistencies (especially in a Chromecast setup) we need to create custom routines for our favorites and forward/rewind.
  • There’s no way to see our Logitech Harmony Favorites in the Google Home app. They could have been displayed as scenes, like in Alexa’s integration, but no. We have to learn them by heart or look them up through the lengthy unlink/re-link process.
  • And sorry, but the Google Home app GUI reshuffle, might look cute on the frontend, but behind the scenes the usability of the configuration settings has not improved. There are many counterintuitive taps needed to achieve certain tasks, as indicated above.

Let’s hope these get fixed soon!

Also, we have no indication now, if a smart home service gets updated for Google Home. With the retired Action we saw at least a version number. Now every update happens silently on the cloud and though we might be pleasantly surprised, when a feature which never worked suddenly works, the opposite will be more obvious and disappointing. I wish Google and/or Logitech could take the time to send out some newsletter or release notes when there are bigger improvements.

The Ugly

Ok, I could have spared us this headline, but I’d like to say that I found nothing ugly in this integration as of now, since music playback got fixed. It’s definitely a good integration and solid work from Google and Logitech. The flaky “works sometimes” implementation behind, what we call “voice focus“, will definitely leave some of us, who prefer short commands puzzled: Some commands will only work sometimes, but why?

I am sure we will see many improvements in the future, which will make the Google Home and Harmony user experience more intuitive, natural and solid.

Until then, I hope you have enjoyed this post and it helps you to navigate the current integration!

Enjoy! =)

Please share your experience in the comment section below! I’ll keep on maintaining this post with all our findings!

37 COMMENTS

  1. Hi,

    I just bought the Harmony Hub hoping I can use it to completely control my TV by basically mapping out all of the TV remote buttons with a list of unique voice commands like “Move up”, “Move down”, “Move left”, “Move right”, “Press OK”. However, I realized that this is impossible with the current development of the support apps.

    Preset activities are kinda cool but sometimes you really want to be able to control your TV doing something else like open some apps, select the movie or song you want to play at that moment. Currently you can say something like “Play”, “Pause”, Stop”, “Resume”, “Rewind”, “Fast forward”,…Is it too hard to add a few more doing most common buttons on the remote like “Up” “Down”, “Left”, “Right”, “OK”, “Return”, “Long-press OK” (for content menu).

    If anyone knows a way to achieve what I wish, please let me know. Much appreciated.

  2. The blue app is working fine with my recently purchased Home Hub, and I also have both of my Harmony Hubs working. Thanks for the great writeup, and easy-to-follow procedures.

  3. Great article!
    I’ve reconfigured my Google setup because of multiple issues. I’m currently using Norwegian as language, so I’ve renamed everything to Norwegian words, and added to Google Home control.
    Harmony is a head scratcher though.
    Nanoleaf or similar devices lets me update with the command “sync devices” to Google Assistant, but does not work with Harmony.

    I had problems with some scenes for Nanoleaf having the same name as Harmony activities etc, so I’ve made sure everything is different now. But for some reason I can not get harmony to work as expected.
    I have activities called “PlayStation 4” and “PlayStation 3” which works fine, but the ones called “Kodi, TV, ChromeCast, Wii” does not work. It tells me to try re-adding them (which does not help).
    I tested with iOS assistant app, and it recognizes what I’m saying, but can’t issue the command. It seems like it has problems making harmony do it, but only for some activities…?

    • Thanks Glenn!
      1) I just tested, and in my case a new activity from Harmony gets automatically synced and appears latest after refresh (pull down on home) in the Google Home app. If the syncing commands do not help, you could try to unlink/re-link. Another bug (observed with Hue) is that rooms/scenes are sometimes not displayed in the Home screen. You could check in Home / Settings / More Settings / Assistant / Home control / Rooms – this works for me reliably.
      2. You are more lucky than me! When putting German as first language / no other second language. I get “the device is not available, please setup again.” (In German) It recognizes the device names, though (transcribes them exactly as named in Google Assistant). I get this for everything PlayStation, Chromecast, TV, etc. I tried to change the name in the Harmony Setup and on the Link Page, it doesn’t work in my case. I don’t have Kodi, but remember that Harmony has a special page on it for this integration. If you are lucky with PlayStation, I’d maybe try using other activity names. Maybe Google / Harmony have some reserved names (like “music”) and thats your issue? Good to hear, that it (at least partially) works in other languages! This is great feedback, thanks!

  4. Guys I have a really strange issue!For months I had harmony activities with names such as “TV” “XBOX”, “PLEX”. After resetting everything because of the addition of a xiaomi roborock “vacuum” (i had problems to get it identified) these activity names do not work anymore..!!

    I have to rename all of them (eg Sony TV, Xbox one, Plex Tv) within google home in order to work! Otherwise i get a message ” sorry i don’t know which tv/xbox/plex you want me to turn on”. My sanity is at stake!!

    • Hi Nik, I’ve fortunately never experienced this, but found this reported on reddit. Supposedly it was fixed with a Google Home app or cloud update 2018-11-13 (or just took time for Google to refresh). Seems old activities were not removed and remained invisible, causing duplicates and confusing Google. A temporary workaround was to map the visible activities to another room (eg Office), so only your “invisible” activities + new “vacuum” remain in the e.g. “living room”.
      https://www.reddit.com/r/googlehome/comments/9s5n53/invisible_harmony_devicesservices/

  5. Tried to find your reply to my original comment so I could reply back to that but I can’t see it (just have the email)

    Anyway, thanks for the quick, thorough response!

    The volume controls seem to be working now, I can ask Google to increase or decrease the volume by a given about, and as long as I ask it to do it on whatever activity I’m currently running (and not on The Photon Cannon, which is what I named my TV) it works. No confirmation response, just does it.

    I think my last real problem is, I used to be able to run an activity through IFTTT called “Power Off AV” that would end whatever activity I happened to be running. Oddly enough, that (ask Harmony) command still works, but then you get the crappy, distorted Harmony voice.

    If I just ask Google to turn the Photon Cannon off, it will do so but doesn’t end the activity (still shows as powered on in my Harmony app). So if I’m switching between activities, I always have to make sure I ask Google to turn off the most recent one I activated, instead of being able to set up a single routine that used one command to end whatever activity I happen to be running.

    How do you usually turn your entertainment center off? Any suggestions to make sure whatever activity is running ends, using a single command? Thanks!

    • Every single device controlled by harmony hub has its own power settings. Make sure that in the harmony app/Devices/(choose a device: Photon Cannon)/power settings choose TURN OFF WHEN NOT IN USE

    • Hi Mikell,
      1) The problem with this site is (currently) that I have enabled client side caching (since my provider is slow), so you’d need to hit refresh in your browser to see the latest comments.
      2) You are completely right: “Hey Google, increase/decrease the volume by amount on TV” works! I got confused by 0,5 increments (So 10 = 5, 20 = 10, in my setup).
      3) Just found “Hey Google, turn off Harmony” as general command to turn everything off. It comes back with: Ok, turning off number_of_activities things.
      4) As Nik indicated, the devices need to bet setup with “turn off when not in use”, to support the Harmony concept of a single activity running.
      Thanks a lot! Happy to add the 2 commands to the post! =)

  6. This “integration” is seriously a complete mess. No matter what type of volume command I give (“volume up on TV, increase volume by 10 on the TV, etc) it will always only increase or decrease the volume by one.

    If I say “turn off the TV”, it will turn the TV off, but when I go into my Harmony app the activity is still running.

    It also seems to recognize some of my custom voice phrases that I set up through routines, and not others.

    Combine all this with a fact that Sony doesn’t allow us to power on our PS4s through Harmony, in the hubs general unreliability (unless it’s like right next to your WiFi router) and there’s practically no point in using the voice commands at all.

    • Hey Mikell, agree! =)
      1) setting the volume increments never worked for me, in any integration.
      2) yes, thats an open issue!
      3) custom routines should override Google’s default behaviour, but in some cases the commands are reserved for Google and this is unfortunately not checked anywhere, leaving us to experiment.
      4) Yes, I am missing the PS3 dongle. However, we usually use the PS4 for gaming, so always need to grab a PS4 remote. We use the PS4 command for switching to the right input channels.
      5) I thankfully have not observed a general unreliability, but have read about this in many forums. Our main use case is to switch activities via voice (on our way to/from the couch). In between we usually use the Elite remote, though we are trying to extend the voice use cases where it makes sense for us.
      6) The coolest feature is to control basically any IR device via voice. “Hey Google, turn on cleaning!” activates our (older) IR Roomba underneath the couch. Or “Hey Google, turn on bedroom TV!” activates a motorized ceiling mount and turns the TV on. We love that! (there should be a post about teaching any Harmony any IR commands, I’ll update the “related posts” today, so they should show up in the related section).
      Thanks for sharing your experience!

  7. Hi just wanted to say big thanks for such a useful guide , really helps , thanks , sadly I still find the red app gets better responses , the new blue app some things work for me and something’s don’t and following all the tips help a little but still not fully an example is some favourite channels which always play on the Chromecast no matter how I phrase the command , yes I can change the name of the favourite channel but that’s not really helpful is it .
    Just to make matters worst I’ve gone and got a google home hub and that controls the harmony stuff ever worst , example is that it can’t turn anything on and says that power commands arnt supported yet , at the same time the same commands issued to a mini works fine , I guess sadly it’s much easier to pick up the remote and use that .thanks again for a very good guide and hope others get on better than I have

    • Thanks a lot Andy for sharing your experience. We‘ll extend the testing with screen devices begin next year, crazy that they behave different! I‘ll update the post with your insight! Thanks!

    • Just reliying to my own post for a small update , I’ve only had a Google home hub a little while so wasn’t sure of how it should work , I’ve found that it did work the way I hoped , not just with harmony but other home controls , strange I thought , I unlinked the blue app and now Google hub is working just fine to control things in my house , relink blue app and Google hub stops working correctly , annoying. Im now using the red app and apart from having to say ask harmony , all my harmony stuff and Google home hub stuff is working ok , very strange , let’s hope the blue app is sorted out soon , thanks Andy

      • Andy, thanks a lot for this info! I have added a “Warning” in the beginning and the bug in the Conclusion. From Stuart I have added the recommendation to create custom routines for favorites to stabilize favorite behaviour with Chromecast. Thanks!

  8. Help! I’m able to get some commands to work. Mainly turning on/off and switching channels. However, pausing and volume commands give me an error “sorry I can’t find that device”. This happens even when I end the command with “on tv”.

  9. Help! My google home does not respond to “hey google, pause on tv”. Nor do the volume commands work. I get “sorry I can find that device, make sure it’s turned on and connected to the internet”.

  10. I’ve just switched my lounge hub to the new blue service. I found for the TV channel favourites it was better to always add “on my TV” to the end of the command as for quite a lot of channels it would start playing on YouTube on the ChromeCast instead.

    Also some channels you couldn’t switch to at all via voice command unless you added “on my TV”.

    In the end I decided to recreate all my shortcuts / routines for my channel favourites, so now again I can just say “OK Google {name of channel}” and it switches to that channel and works everytime with no issues. Yes a real pain to create all the shortcuts again but it works so much better.

  11. Thank you everyone for your suggestions! Kresimir, indeed ip control was the problem for the plaback control issues. But.. as soon as I finally felt relief every device/ service within google home including harmony hub stopped being recognized. I have tried three times from scratch to create a new “home” but harmony hub is not working at all and my philips hue lights do not appear at the google home panel. I got answers from google home mini that i have never come across with: “sorry i don’t know which tv/ xbox / light you want to turn on” plus that during the first attempt google home mini was asking me to activate the harmony retired service although i had activated harmony blue.

    Seriously i don’t know if it is just me but the whole android ecosystem looks really unstable

  12. Folks, 3 updates today in the post above!
    1. Added a chapter “No, not Custom Routines, again!” with 2 examples, overriding “Forward” and a “What did they say?”
    2. Google changed the short form “play” behaviour, almost always defaulting to music on the GH device (if you played music before on the device), so I’d recommend using “pause” for play/pause on TV, as this sticks with voice focus
    3. Forward and Rewind also have changed, mostly requiring the long form (if you played music before on the device). I have therefore added pt.1 as workaround.
    Not sure where these changes are heading …

  13. Thank you for the effort. Better job than google or logitech (which I contacted and responded that their “engineering team has no list of commands they support” – just rediculous)..

    In my case the problem is that playback controls work but google assistant responds always “something went wrong”. Forward or rewind does not work at all .. My setup includes a Sony android tv. The remote controls my smart TV activity.

    Any ideas? I have really exhausted troubleshooting. Thanks

    • Thanks, Nik!
      So you’re controlling a Sony smartTV, you get the response “something went wrong” from GH for playback controls, though they work, and ffw/frw does not work at all. We have Samsungs here and I had not tested smart TV features (as we use AppleTV/Chromecast/FireTV through AVR rather than Samsungs features) but I am happy to test this with our setup, guess it behaves similar to Sony.
      Could you please describe your Harmony activities (which features do you use from your SmartTV) a bit so I can try to reproduce your problems? Like a step by step (what’s in the activity and what do you say), so I can try to reproduce? I assume your activities and controls work from the Harmony remote/app, otherwise the problem would not be with Google Home.

      • First of all, for my Sony TV (X9305E) it can be controlled either by IR or via network. I think this is already a first GLITCH since I set up IP control successfully but then I notice that if I turn off IP control on my TV the harmony HUB does not complain and remains functional which I think indicates that the TV is controlled via IR.

        I create an activity (tried both Watch TV and Smart TV – same result) including TV and amplifier devices. As a keyword for google home I enter the word “TV”.
        START SEQUENCE: Power on TV, Power on Amp, Input for TV: Android TV (similar to home button). END SEQUENCE: Power off devices.

        For google home: turn on/ off TV works fine, volume via soundbar control works fine.
        For Hub remote: Pressing start/pause/Fast forward or rewind buttons works as expected.
        But when I ask google home to control playback of the TV (when using various apps Plex, Netflix, Youtube,..) results in correct function but the response is always that something went wrong and as I mentioned forward/ rewind commands are not recognised by google home/ harmony service.

        Let me know if you need more details

          • With or without “on TV” the command is executed. The question is with 3rd party services (like harmony) what triggers the “sorry something went wrong”? Hypothetically speaking, assistant activates Harmony, then Harmony executes the command and in theory there is feedback from Harmony to Assistant when the command is executed. In my case assistant is faster in replying “something went wrong” than the command execution. And since forward/ rewind does not work at all it means that the service is partially functional. I don’t know. I wish there was a way to trigger no reply from the assistant for certain commands

            • Yup. Just tested a custom routine (“volume up on TV” after Harmony activity turned off) and it does NOT help to get rid of the “sorry, something went wrong …” from the Harmony integration. =(

        • Hey Nik! Jason’s question is spot on. I have updated the post according to my comment from today, and added custom routine workarounds (Thanks, Jason!)
          Unfortunately, retesting with a “Smart TV” activity worked in my case no different from the regular “TV” (smart TV forward/rewind is then simply sent to the TV, rather than the DVR in my case). If using the long form (“rewind on TV”) does not work at all and some functions which work return “something went wrong”, I’d assume the problem is deeper and might relate to IP control, which I cannot reproduce as our Samsungs don’t support that, as Sonys do. I remember the setup made me believe IP control works, as Harmony found the TVs via WiFi scan, but in the end they are IR controlled (you can test by hiding/covering the Hub and remote to block IR). I found many issues on the web with Harmony/Sonys IP Control (pairing, stability over WiFi, dynamic IPs). So if you’re on IP, I’d suggest to try with IR. (Different protocols might indeed deliver different results in the integration). Hope this helps!

  14. I wish Logitech Hub integrated with GH was also available in other languages such as French. Difficult to understand why it isn’t as the Hub is a perfect partner to drive televisions. By the time it will be available, I have the feeling we will have alternatives…

    • Hey Francis! Took some time (like every good idea =), but you could try following: Setup everything in English US and add French as second language to Google Assistant. This way Harmony understands some German commands, so it’s quite probable it will work for: Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Thai.
      EDIT: Unfortunately this works inconsistently. I will test this thoroughly and update the post with my findings.

    • Hi Francis! Unfortunately only Playback and Volume commands are working as of today in the second language (in my case German). Activities and Channels do not work (yet). I have added a chapter “Other Languages”.

  15. Brilliant job we finally have a clear guide to how things work. It’s a shame google can’t provide us users with the pros and cons of there software updates. Top work

    • Thank you, Jason! This was only possible with your help and your many hours of testing! Also, your trick with multiple hub support, YAY! I’ll keep this post updated with upcoming feedback, to hopefully have a helpful reference for all of us!

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