Google has announced its own streaming-audio solution that the company says embeds the same technology behind Chromecast into audio-only devices. Dubbed Google Cast for audio, the feature will allow you to stream music or audio from your smartphone, tablet, or computer to "Google Cast Ready" speakers, sound bars, and A/V receivers.
Although the concept sounds similar to Apple's Airplay, it's worth noting that instead of playing the audio from your local device, the Cast Ready device pulls it down from the cloud. The advantage is that you can potentially get better audio quality and meanwhile keep using your phone or other mobile device without straining the battery.
The way it works is simple, and similar to the way Chromecast (which is now available in 27 countries, with more to come this year) works: just tap the cast button in your favorite music or radio app on Android, iOS, or the web, and select a Google Cast Ready speaker to start streaming. Already, there are lots of apps that support the technology, including Deezer, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, NPR One, Pandora, Rdio, TuneIn, and more, though it's a bit surprising that Spotify is not on the list.
As for the hardware, Google says the first Cast Ready speakers will be available in the US this spring from companies like Sony, LG, and HEOS by Denon (pictured above), with more brands coming later in the year.
Google has also partnered with chip makers Broadcom, Marvell, MediaTek and system integrator Libre Wireless for bringing Google Cast for audio to more devices.