Google and Amazon are not direct competitors, but they do compete in certain niche markets. One being their virtual assistants. While Amazon burst onto the scene with Alexa built into their Echo speakers—and later built into seemingly everything else the company makes—while Google has built Assistant off the back of their search engine, making for one of the most powerful voice assistants you can use in 2019. Of course, with the two companies often competing with each other in various categories, you might not expect your Amazon Fire Stick to work with a Google Home speaker.
While the two devices don’t work together natively, you can use a workaround to get your Fire Stick and your Google Home to work together. Let’s take a look at what’s possible.
Pairing Fire Stick with Google Home
Unlike when you pair devices together under the same brand name, your Fire Stick and Home speaker aren’t going to recognize each other within their respective apps. There’s no way for you to ask Google to stream Stranger Things on your Fire TV; you’ll need a Chromecast to be able to make that to work. Still, if you’re looking for a neat party trick, it is possible to get the two devices to work together in some respect. Because both devices support Bluetooth, it’s totally possible to pair them together—with a major catch along the way.
The first thing you want to do is make sure that your Google Home is powered and in pairing mode. To make it discoverable, use the voice command “OK Google, Bluetooth pairing.” When it recognizes the command, it will be discoverable by nearby devices for the next few minutes. You can also do this from the Google Home app. Access the Settings on the app and scroll down to “Paired Bluetooth Devices.” In the Devices screen, tap on “Enable Pairing Mode” to prepare the Google Home for pairing.
Once the Google Home is ready, access your Fire TV and follow the steps outlined below.
- Press the “Home” button and go to the “Settings” menu.
- Scroll through the settings to find “Controllers and Bluetooth Devices.”
- In the Controllers menu, you should see a list of all discoverable devices that are nearby. Find the Google Home, which will be listed by the name you’ve set for it. Select it and allow it to pair with the Fire TV.
Here’s where the catch comes in. When you pair any device with your Google Home over Bluetooth, that device sees it as a Bluetooth speaker—not a smart speaker. In fact, your Fire Stick will tell you as much when you pair. Our Fire Stick is running on our 2.4GHz home network, and a warning appeared after pairing the devices together specifically calling our Google Home a Bluetooth headset. That means all sound from your Fire Stick will be rerouted to your Google Home instead of your televisions speakers or your home theater equipment.
Still, there are some benefits to this. We loaded a film up on Netflix, and while the sound did come out of our Google Home as any Bluetooth speaker would, we were able to issue simple voice commands like play and pause to control playback. You won’t be able to ask your Google Home to find content on Netflix, and you’ll still have to use your Fire Remote to navigate around the interface. So while this might not work super well with a standard Google Home or Home Mini, we can imagine a lot of ways you could use Bluetooth pairing for your benefit. For example, if you were to pick up a soundbar with Google Assistant built-in, you could pair over Bluetooth, use basic voice commands with your Fire Stick, and still have a great sounding experience.
Of course, if you’re going to spend that much cash, you’re better off picking one ecosystem over the other.
Other Ways to Control your Fire TV
As highlighted above, using the Google Home to control a Fire TV isn’t something that either Google or Amazon tests for. For both a better and a more reliable experience, you’re better off using Alexa instead.
If you have a single Fire TV device, Alexa should be able to recognize it and pair with it automatically. If this doesn’t happen, or you have more than one Fire TV, follow these steps:
- Access your Alexa app on a mobile device and go to the Settings.
- In the “TV & Video” section find “Fire TV.”
- Continue with the on-screen instructions and then select “Link Devices” to finish the process.
Your Fire TV should be linked with Alexa. You can use a variety of Alexa commands to control the Fire TV. You can find a list of commands on Amazon’s Alexa page but they’re mostly intuitive.
Other Options for the Google Home
Conversely, if you want to make the most out of your Google Home, you’re best off using Google’s media player — the Chromecast.
Chromecast is very similar to the Fire TV and is available in roughly the same price ranges. To pair up the Chromecast with your Google Home, use these instructions:
- Connect the Chromecast to your TV and set the TV to the correct input
- Download and open the Google Home app on your mobile device
- Find the Devices icon in the top-right corner of the home screen on the app
- In the Devices menu, tap on “Add New Device”
- Connect your phone to the Chromecast Wi-Fi, which will be named “Chromecast” followed by a 4-character string specific to your device.
- Return to the app and follow the on-screen instructions.
- For the final step, you’ll be asked to sign in to your Google account, once you’ve done that your devices should be paired.
When you finish the procedure, you can start controlling the Chromecast with voice commands through Google Home.
Amazon and Google, Best Frienemies
If you bought a Fire TV hoping to use it with your Google Home, or vice-versa, there’s good news and bad.
Yes, Google Home can provide some limited control over your Fire TV device. However, that control will be very limited and only basic commands will be recognized. If you want to improve your experience with either of those devices, you’re better off getting their branded counterpart.
For Fire TV that’s going to be Alexa (and the newer Fire TV models even have it built into the remote). For Google Home you want to look for a Chromecast device. If you’re happy with what Google Home can offer on the Fire TV then, by all means, enjoy.