Google just made it easier for media to follow you around the smart home

Chris Davies - Oct 8, 2019, 11:29 am CDT
Google just made it easier for media to follow you around the smart home

Google is adding voice control to move music and video between Google Home, Nest Hub, and Chromecast devices, with stream transfer being pushed out as an update from today. If you’ve ever started watching a video on YouTube on a Google Assistant-powered smart display but then wished you could transfer it to your TV, stream transfer should do the trick.

Already it’s been possible to remotely control playback on a Chromecast-equipped TV through issuing a voice command to a Google-powered smart speaker. What stream transfer does, however, is build on that to support music, videos, podcasts, and other streaming content.

For instance, if you’re listening to music on a Google Home speaker in one room, it’s now possible to transfer that playback – without interruption – to a second speaker in another room. You could say “Hey Google, move the music to the bedroom,” for instance, and the track would stop playback in the first room and immediately resume in the second.

The same system works for video. If you’re watching a YouTube video on a Chromecast-enabled TV, for example, you could say “Hey Google, play it on the kitchen Nest Hub Max” and the video would automatically stop playback on the TV and pick up instantly on the smart display in the kitchen. Alternatively, you could go in the opposite direction – say if you’ve finished distracting yourself while preparing dinner, and want to relax with the same video in the TV room – or transfer video playback between different smart displays in different rooms.

The current streaming setup can be viewed in the Google Home app, and that allows for manual control from a smartphone or tablet over stream transfer too. Hitting the cast button shows every compatible device – whether a smart speaker, smart display, or Chromecast-enabled TV – and allows you to shift playback between them.

If you’ve set up groups, meanwhile – such as several smart speakers in one room, or a group for the whole house – it’s possible to transfer music to and from that collection of speakers.

Initially, Google says, stream transfer will be compatible with popular audio apps like YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora, and others. For video, meanwhile, it looks like YouTube will be the only supported service at launch. The update to enable stream transfer is being pushed out from today.

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