Google is reportedly making a Chromecast for music

19 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google is reportedly making a Chromecast for music.

Google may have more than one Chromecast to show when it announces new products later this month. Google’s Chromecast streaming media stick was introduced more than two years ago, but the device is still wildly popular: the Chromecast has served up more than 1.5 billion stream requests from 17 million users, Google announced at this year’s I/O Developer Conference in San Francisco.The new streaming box — which is about the size of a USB thumb drive — will come in new colours, have much faster connectivity, be able to play much more speedily and could show feeds like those from Twitter, according to leaks. Its latest report says that Google is working on an update to the Chromecast companion app, which will make the app into a hub for finding things to watch and new places to stream from.

At least, that’s the latest report emerging from 9to5Google, which got its hands on leaked documents which describe an updated second-generation Chromecast with a variety of new features like “Fast Play,” better Wi-Fi, backdrop feeds and support for Spotify. Right now, the companion Chromecast app on iOS and Android is basically just a tool for setting up and managing the streaming stick, so this would be a big — and useful — change. According to the site, the updated device may come in a new form factor (which sort of looks like a balloon…and raises concerns about the veracity of this report, but still…) and will include support for the 802.11ac band. The key use of this device will certainly be playing music, which makes it a big deal that Spotify is said to among Google’s partners — a key addition to Chromecast’s existing support from Google Play Music, Pandora, and Rdio.

The (blurry) leaked photos show a new Chromecast shaped more like a hockey puck, with a stem – presumably for a video connector – protruding from it. The first is supposed to be called “What’s On.” It’ll look at which Chromecast-supported apps are on your device and find out — as you’ve probably guessed — what’s on them and available to watch; essentially, its the place you’ll go to when you’re looking for something to do. In order to keep improving Spotify, we are always testing new things on our different platforms.” It added, “While we don’t have any plans to launch this in the immediate future, we are looking into it, and will let you know as soon as we have any more information to share.” It also supports Google Cast for Audio, a similar technology to its video tool that allows people to stream music from their computer or phone to speakers. While 9to5Google’s original story mentioned the audio-only product, it was unclear at the time if it was a mode for the video Chromecast or a separate device — its new report clarifies that it’ll be the latter.

The new device is also believed to start offering the ability to show more content on its idle screen when nothing’s playing, and this app update may play into that idea of making the device closer to a content hub. Google’s September 29 event is expected to see the launch of two new Nexus devices — a smaller Nexus 5 made by LG, and a phablet-sized Nexus 6 from Huawei — as well as the new Chromecast. But as more and more people have set up Wi-Fi networks in their homes, the 2.4 GHz band has gotten increasingly crowded. (If you live in an apartment building, you can probably see a long list of all your neighbors’ Wi-Fi networks when you go to connect to your own.) The 5 GHz channel doesn’t have as much interference, and it also offers more spectrum for sending data. It seems like Google still isn’t giving the Chromecast a proper browsing interface — something that would certainly be useful — but an improved Chromecast app could help to relieve the need for one.

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