One of the biggest announcements from the first day of CES is Google's new streaming audio service, Google Cast. So what exactly is it? It's essentially a tech for streaming audio, much in the way that ChromeCast streams video, to a device that supports the protocol. Right now the aim is speakers, and of course, your ears. Google Cast pits Google head to head against Apple's AirPlay, and if the licensing cost is lower than Apple AirPlay, Google might win this fight.
The most apparent application is streaming from a smartphone to speakers, pretty much any speakers that would support Google Cast. Right now it's just "speakers," but it's just a matter of implementing the GoogleCast protocol into any device that supports audio, including that device in your dashboard. Google is also promising future streaming functionality in game consoles and set-top boxes with Android TV. Joining the party early with apps supporting GoogleCast are Pandora, Rdio, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, NPR One, Deezer, and Google Play Music
Fast Company is reporting that, according to a Google spokesperson, "Currently no additional software development is required. Developers will just need to opt-in through the developer console in order to cast to Google Cast for audio devices. Google will also provide an updated SDK allowing content partners to further optimize their experience for Google Cast for audio devices."
In a nutshell, Google is saying that the development on Google Cast is done; all that's necessary for audio application developers to take advantage of Google Cast is to sign up and opt in. However, Google will be offering a software development kit that will allow developers to further customize the streaming protocol.
Look for the first hardware to arrive supporting Google Cast in the spring.
Here's a promotional video from Google showing Google Cast in action:
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