The journey of Chromecast Audio was like a chart-topping hit that ended on a high note. This device was a favorite for those looking to bring smart functionality to their classic speaker setups. Despite its sudden departure from Google‘s lineup in 2019, its legacy continues to this day.
To power one of Google’s Chromecast Audio devices, you only needed a USB port or an electric outlet to use the USB block that came in the box. And as long as you had speakers that could accept a 3.5mm aux input, voilà! It gave life to old speakers across the spectrum —From pre-90’s tower speakers to computer desktop USB-speakers. If they had an aux-in port, you now could use them to cast your audio from your phone, laptop, tablet, desktop computer, and whatever other devices that allowed you to cast.
Personal Soundscape: Crafting My Home’s Audio Symphony
When they were on sale, I purchased an earlier version of these Amazon Basics speakers. And instead of plugging them into a traditional audio source, I plugged them into a Chromecast Audio device. I set them above the kitchen cabinets. In my Google Home app, I grouped them with the kitchen’s Google Home (you know the Google Assistant speaker), and also with my TV soundbar (which had Google Chromecast integrated in it). That was all one group.
I had another group for my master bedroom along with the Google Home device I have in the master bathroom (yes, I like to talk to it when I’m getting ready … weather, time, timers, podcasts, traffic, interacting with my calendar, etc.). Whenever we want, we now can cast to the kitchen group, or the “downstairs” which groups both groups I mentioned. Of course, it should come as no surprise that I have an “upstairs” group as well. And together, I have a group called “the entire house;” which is great when I’m all alone and need the music blasting in every corner.
This may seem like a unique set up. It’s really not. Pick any speaker that has an aux input and go from there. Today, those speakers are plenty. You can set up a Chromecast Audio with soundbars too … as long as … you got it … they have an aux input port.
It is amazing how in sync all the speakers are. In case they’re not, there is a setting for each Chromecast Audio from your Google Home device to adjust that. It’s a poor man’s Sonos. It’s not about being frugal, but I could not afford an elaborate Sonos system throughout the house (or one room, really).
OK OK … one last thing: We had an outside pool-friendly speaker box. We often stored it by the back door, keeping it handy for anyone to take it out. While it’s inside the house and charging, at that same outlet was another Chromecast Audio device plugged into it at the same time. This allowed us to utilize the bass from an amazing outside speaker box inside and as part of a group of other speakers. Too bad my speaker died. I need to get another one.
The Discontinuation of Chromecast Audio
Launched with enthusiasm in 2015, Chromecast Audio served as a bridge between the era of bulky stereo systems and the age of streaming. Its simple yet powerful capability to transform any speaker into a smart one made it a beloved household item.
In a move that saddened many, Google announced the discontinuation of Chromecast Audio in 2019. This decision marked the end of a beloved product that had made streaming audio to speakers more accessible and convenient for users worldwide. The device, known for its ease of adding smart functionality to standard speakers, was available for about three years before it was officially discontinued. For more details on its discontinuation, see the coverage on Ars Technica.
Google’s Strategy and Chromecast Audio’s Place in It
Google‘s phase-out of Chromecast Audio reflected a shift in focus towards integrated smart home systems. The discontinuation was strategic, as Google concentrated efforts on enhancing the Google Home series. But for those who had integrated Chromecast Audio into their daily lives, its absence left a noticeable silence. Put bluntly, we hated its discontinuation.
The Rumors: Is Chromecast Audio Making a Comeback?
Despite its removal from the market, there’s been speculation about a possible return of the Chromecast Audio or a similar successor. Leaks in recent versions of the Google Home app have hinted at a new device with the code-name “YND,” which was previously associated with Chromecast Audio. While not much is known about the potential features or release timeline, the discovery has led to discussions among tech enthusiasts about the future of audio streaming devices. For a closer look at these rumors, visit the articles on Android Central and 9to5Google.
Competing Rhythms: The Alternatives on the Market
As we await the possible return of Chromecast Audio, it’s worth exploring the current alternatives that fill the gap. Devices like Roku, Miracast, Fire TV stick, and have stick have stepped up, offering similar functions and varying price points for those in search of a replacement. In my opinion, the cannot come close to the Chromecast Audio’s lightweight, ease of use, basic functionality, or price point.
Setting Up Your Home’s Audio Future
If you’re interested in understanding more about how Chromecast Audio works or its capabilities, this informative video (not affiliated in any way) will walk you through its features and setup.
For an in-depth review from a music lover’s perspective, check out this video below. It shares why Chromecast Audio was a must-have for their audio setup:
And finally, if you’re curious about what’s taken Chromecast Audio’s place? Here’s a video on the best alternatives (no affiliation) currently available. From this dad’s perspective, nothing could be an alternative. I watch the ones I have like a hawk, have spare still in the box, and would love to acquire a few more. You can find them, but be sure they are new.
The tale of Chromecast Audio isn’t over; it’s merely at an intermission … I hope. As we look to the future and reminisce about the past, we find that the true essence of technology is not in the devices we use but in the experiences they create. So whether you’re tuning in to your favorite podcast or filling your home with the latest hits, remember: the beat indeed goes on. ▪️
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