Logitech Harmony and Google Home: Updated App Integration – Why not to update (yet)!

Google Assistant at smartenlight.com

UPDATE 2018-11-12: Please note that this post is outdated. We have already added a post for the new blue Harmony Service in Google Home: Logitech Harmony and Google Home: New Setup and Voice Commands additionally to the old retired red Harmony Service in Google Home: Logitech Harmony and Google Assistant: (Retired) Setup and Voice Commands

UPDATE 2018-11-08: The integration looks much better now. I’ll publish an updated setup & voice command post until tomorrow (Friday) evening, so you can enjoy the new features over the weekend!

We have waited for so long and there was already a half finished, lengthy post here, on how to update to the new blue Logitech Harmony Service on Google Home. During 2 days of testing some stranger things happened and I decided to scratch all and write this instead:

  • My old Google Home routines for the old (red) Harmony Action were removed, without asking … Ok, let’s assume we don’t need them anymore. Oh, now I can’t even switch back?
  • In a Google Home test setup with a Chromecast (something you might have in your living room), I ended up with randomly controlling the TV via Harmony (rarely) or more often YouTube on Chromecast with variations of the favourite channel commands.
  • Today I reduced the test setup to only 1 Google Home and Harmony and here’s why I still cannot recommend it:
    • Play some music (ok, playing music on Google Home)
    • Stop (ok, stopping playback on Google Home)
    • Turn on TV (ok, turns on TV Harmony activity)
    • Turn off TV (nice, turns off TV Harmony activity)
    • Play some music
      • “Sorry, I can’t do that yet”
    • (After 1 hour) Play some music
      • “Sorry, I can’t do that yet”
    • You’d need to unlink the blue Harmony service (or factory reset your Google Home device) to be able to play some music on this Google Home device again. Same applies for Volume Up/Down commands which you’d like to execute on the Google Home.

One might say: Well, let’s just add the name of the Google Home device to the command and voila, it works. Yes, but you don’t want to do that with the Google Home device you are obviously talking to. With all the complexity in the background, I believe this bug should be fixed first and not obfuscated with more explicit commands.

Another problem area occurs with Chromecasts. Google loves to understand Youtube commands, so if you have a Chromecast around, it will most likely switch to playback from Youtube on there, rather than switching to your favourite channel via Harmony. With that, Harmony loses voice focus and commands which worked before on Harmony are executed on Chromecast (or not at all).

Last but not least, I would not like to recommend workarounds with routines for this integration, as they obviously could get removed without asking us.

Stay tuned for an update and hopefully better news!

And please share your experience!


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11 thoughts on “Logitech Harmony and Google Home: Updated App Integration – Why not to update (yet)!”

  1. Guys I am having a real problem with Google home & harmony. I linked the google home to my harmony with the new harmony app, I ask harmony to turn on dream( my activity ) it says turning on dream and then there was n error. It’s still switches on, I say hey Google go to channel 112, it replies you we need to speak to speak to harmony, yes , harmony says now switching to channel 112 but nothing happens?

    • Hey Daniel! Check out the top linked post. The first problem might be Harmony related, the second might be solved with a “on dream” at the end of your voice commands. Let us
      Know … =)

  2. UPDATE 2018-11-08: The integration looks much better now. I’ll publish an updated setup & voice command post until tomorrow (Friday) evening, so you can enjoy the new features over the weekend!

  3. Thanks for this info only site I can find that talks about the harmony blue app problems , really is bad as I have the same troubles and now can’t play music or listen to news etc hope they fix it soon ,I’ve managed to go back to the red app and that for me works fine , thanks Andy

  4. OMG! 😮
    Assuming we don’t use the Harmony, isn’t there any other way to have the Assistant control the Apple-TV in a simple manner??
    I mean, the Apple-TV is perhaps the only other home device that comes close to a Chromecast in popularity, so one would assume that the Assistant Dev Team should be aware of its existence (?)

  5. I managed to get it working but agree with all that’s been said and I’m not a fan of saying or telling it what device the command is meant for, so I took drastic action to prevent the new harmony skill for interfering with other native commands.
    I already owned a broadlink RF hub so decided to teach that all my favourite channels and volume commands. Then purchased a broadlink black bean for the kitchen to join my second harmony hub and did the same for that. Harmony is still being used for play/pause commands but will monitor that also in case that cause any issues

    • Hey Jason! Welcome! Happy to have you here! Thanks for all the help and tips and tricks, especially the “… on my TV” workaround! Will thank you “officially” in the final update and can link to your knowledgeable FB group if you like! =)

  6. Hi, my setup is a Harmony Link preprogrammed to control my Samsung TV, an Apple-TV, a Chromecast and a Logitech Surround Amplifier.
    Linking Google Assistant to the Blue Harmony account works ok, and I can successfully say “Hi Google, turn on my TV” or “Hi Google, turn on my Apple-TV” etc, and it does what I tell it to do. Also, “Hi Google, turn off everything” works fine. But getting it to send the Play command, or change to another TV channel, fails big time. Perhaps because I have no idea what to say (?). In fact, getting it to transmit any remote control keypress, does not work. All I can get it to do, is to turn a predefined Harmony activity on or off.
    If I say “Hi Google, turn on my TV and ask Harmony to press Play”, it responds by saying something like “It appears that you want to use your Harmony?” and if I answer “Yes”, it goes on by telling me that my Harmony is already linked, and that I have to unlink, and re-link it again. I have tried that over and over again, but to no avail.
    So I’m stuck.

    • Hi! “Ask Harmony …“ will invoke the old (retired) red Harmony action. So if you’re sticking to the blue skill, there is this workaround that you append “… on my TV”, something like “go to channel CNN on my TV”. You need to define the channel friendly names (eg CNN) during the link process. “Pause/resume TV” works also. There is still this problem that after linking the blue service and using it, you also have to say “volume up/down” or “play some music” always with ”… on name of Google home speaker” even if no Harmony activity is running. That’s why I’d recommend to stick to the red (retired) action until this problem is fixed. Here are the red Harmony Action setup and voice commands and workarounds: https://www.smartenlight.com/logitech-harmony-google-assistant/

      • Hi, and many thanks for your advice and guidelines. I now actually made channel commands, volume and mute work too 🙂
        But I’m still unable to control my Apple-TV (except turning it on and off) and my Media Server (which requires pressing the play/pause/next/previous buttons on the Logitech remote control unit that belongs to the Harmony Hub.

        • You are very welcome! The play/pause/forward/rewind are properly voice mapped for Apple TV. The problem is that the direction buttons (up/down/left/right/select) are currently not mapped for voice. The closest I come to a “automated” voice experience on Apple TV for instance for Netflix, is to create an (ugly) “Netflix” activity (along with my regular Apple TV activity) on Harmony which looks like (add steps/delays to start sequence: Home, 1s, Menu, 1s, DirectionLeft (get out of the screensaver in some cases), 2s – then navigate to where your Netflix app is – in my case 2 times DirectionDown with 1s delays and finally Select). “Turn on Netflix” should take you then to the last state of the Netflix app, in case you were watching something it’s on pause and you can “resume on AppleTV” plus the pause, forward, rewind, volume commands. “Turn off Netflix” pauses what’s being played. Your Media Server could maybe be automated in a similar fashion. Have fun!


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