Google announced a new service that will let people stream audio from the web to speakers in their home. Called Cast for Audio, it’s based on the same technology that powers the Chromecast. Instead of requiring a dongle, though, Google is letting speaker manufacturers build the functionality into their devices so that users can buy a Cast Ready speaker, set it up, and then start playing.
Sony, LG and Denon will be the first companies to release Google Cast Ready speakers this year, though the company says that there will be more models from other brands coming later in 2015.
Google Cast already supports a number of different audio sources, including Rdio, Deezer, NPR One and Google Play Music. Like the Chromecast, a Cast Ready device will stream directly from the internet, rather than directly stream from a user’s device. That’s good news and bad news – it doesn’t require that someone maintain a Bluetooth connection like a lot of portable speakers, but it also means that apps have to be specifically built to work with Google Cast in order to play through a Cast Audio device.
It’s a strike against Apple’s AirPlay feature, which allows people to send media from devices made by the company to speakers and other AirPlay enabled devices. Google has a chance to pick up fairly significant market share in the connected speaker space, since the Google Cast speakers will work with both Android and iOS, not just Apple’s platform.