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Google’s Chromecast Audio makes dumb speakers smart

Google Chromecast AudioGoogle Chromecast Audio
Google will soon launch Chromecast Audio, a 3.5mm device that broadcasts audio from any speaker.Courtesy of Google

It’s time to dust off those old speakers sitting in your closet. Google’s new Chromecast Audio adapter has the ability to transform any speaker into a connected device, ready to stream music straight from your smartphone all with the press of a button.

The $35 device was unveiled by Google officials, alongside a second-generation Chromecast and a redesigned Chromecast app, in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Chromecast Audio will allow users to stream high-quality music from their speakers over Wi-Fi by plugging the dongle into any standard audio port. The device will give consumers the ability to broadcast music from multiple speakers at the same time, which means less money spent on complicated stereo systems.

Meanwhile, Google Chromecast, which sold over 20 million units earlier this year, received its very own update. The device—which is about the size of a USB thumb drive and streams content from providers such as Netflix or Hulu Plus—now includes faster Wi-Fi capabilities and a new design.

 

Better Wi-Fi capabilities, combined with a new feature Google called “Fast Play,” will see content stream faster. Long loading times were a popular complaint with the first-generation Chromecast, which is no longer a problem with the revamped device.

Unlike similar products offered from Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN), Chromecast lacks its own interface, and instead relies on a user’s smartphone to search and browse content. Essentially, your smartphone or tablet is both the interface and remote for Chromecast.

The redesigned application offers universal search, which lets users know which content providers feature a particular show or movie. If a show isn’t available on a particular platform the user currently pays for Chromecast will now provide a link to where it can be found and downloaded. A dedicated section within the app will make it easier for users to explore and find other compatible apps, while a “What’s On” section will list popular shows and movies, complete with direct links to said content.

Google also announced it was adding new content providers to its Chromecast platform. Most notably, Spotify and NFL Sunday Ticket from DirecTV will be available starting Sept. 29. Sling TV, along with streaming services from the NBA and NHL among others, will also be available “soon.”

The second-generation Chromecast retains its $35 price tag, and is available to order in black, lemonade, and coral starting today.

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