You probably already know Chromecast that can push video from your phone to the TV. In a few months, Google will launch Google Cast for audio that can push audio wirelessly to speakers – just like Apple’s Airplay.
Google Cast for audio
Airplay was unveiled by Steve Jobs on June 7, 2004 – more than 10 years ago. Back then, it was called AirTunes. The system has been expanded considerably in the last decade with for example video capabilities.
10 years after Google is finally ready to take on Apple’s Airplay, which has not received any major updates in the last few years. Google Cast for audio was unveiled at CES and is coming to speakers, receivers and soundbars this spring.
Google is focusing on the obvious: letting you push your music wirelessly to your speakers from an Android or iOS device. Google says that when you push audio to a speaker it will establish its own connection to the streaming server.
But there are some hints that Google could take it even further in the near future. The new feature will launch in the spring, at the same time as Sony, Philips and Sharp launches new Android TVs.
It is not hard to imagine that Google Cast is a key part of Google’s plan to expand Android to the living room. So is home automation and so is Android TV. All these components will overlap sooner or later. Our gut feeling tell us that Google Cast for audio will enable new things on Android TV devices, for example the ability to connect wireless speakers to the Android TV, enabling users to upgrade the sound experience. So when you stream a movie on Netflix the video goes to the TV screen and the audio goes to the wireless speakers.
Apple appears to be working on a similar Airplay implementation for Apple TV, which can already send audio wirelessly to Airplay speakers, for example while watching a movie on Netflix or iTunes. However, at the moment it is limited to one speaker.
Google Cast for audio is an exciting step for Google. Better late than never. It will launch this spring on sound systems from Sony, LG and Denon. The good news is that Sony and Denon will support both Google Cast and Airplay.