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Google cans the Chromecast Audio (techcrunch.com)
195 points by prostoalex 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 270 comments

Google is really developing a reputation for starting and canning projects. I’d recommend not getting too invested in their products when possible.

This is the HN bubble. They only have this reputation among nerds who are still angry about losing Google Reader. Go ask any normal person if Google has a reputation for discontinuing products, and they won't know what you're talking about.

Also, i don't know who out there is heavily invested in a $35 audio dongle. I love mine, but it still works just as well today as it did yesterday and not being able to order more isn't causing me any anxiety.

I never used Google Reader and never cared much for RSS, and yet as a developer I have been bit by tons of services Google has discontinued, from login mechanisms to web APIs. The shut down tons of things, including things that make them money (Google Checkout). I know end users sad about Picasa, as they had organized all of their photos into that app, and have seen end users concerned about the continual discontinuation of messaging apps.

Where is this storyline / narrative that this is always about Google Reader coming from? It is downright nonsensical at this point, and is clearly false.

Agreed, Inbox is the latest one (being shutdown in March) that has me hugely disappointed. I’m a paying customer too with multiple G Suite accounts for my company.

Everything in Picasa was migrated into Google Photos, including all the albums.

Picasa was a desktop app that didn’t require you to load all photos to google. So you could manage large libraries.

Photos is not the same although has many similar features.

And it is just a question of time until photos get discontinued as well...

Photos requires you allow them to use your data to run their image ML on, so it's not going anywhere it isnt quite what it appears. This was precisely the motivation for shuttering the desktop app.

Seemlessly too.

At the time you posted this comment, there was already at least one other hacker news reader complaining about Google Reader in this thread. Check any other thread about Google killing a thing, on this site or any other, and it's always there.

Well, there was and there will be for foreseeable future, because Google Reader was damn useful and is a poster child of Google's habit of hyping up useful products and then canning them.

The claim was that this reputation only exists with "nerds" who are "angry because of Google Reader". Just one counter example suffices to refute that. Personally, I think even that is a waste of time because the claim doesn't even pass the smell test. The only useful function it serves is to demonstrate double standards; if someone said "only nerds work for Google" their comment would be dead in 5 minutes.

Why havent anyone attempted to take over? Is it only possible for google?

There are a dozen services and a hundred run-your-own servers.

People lose detail in older memories; Google Reader did a pretty good job and had few awful problems, so it is remembered fondly. The death notice was a big shock to people who relied on it heavily, so it is remembered vividly.

I set up a Tiny RSS server and have been reasonably content.

I ran my own Tiny RSS server for a while but found it was just enough hassle when updates would occasionally break minor things. I switched to paying NewsBlur $2/mo to deal with the backend and am much happier.


Feedly is one of my favorite examples of "small company in the right place at the right time." They had an RSS reader website that was, in most respects, exactly like Google Reader. They also supported easily importing Google Reader subscriptions.

The day Google Reader announced it was going away, me and everyone else found Feedly and said "hey, this is basically the same thing and I can switch easily" and bam, they grew like crazy.

Literally a half million users showed up on Feedly in 2 days. http://blog.feedly.com/priorities-keeping-the-site-up-and-ad...

I might just be a "nerd" on hacker news but I'm also the guy who just made the decision on which cloud service, email provider, and document sharing service to use at my job.

Guess which company didn't get the contract.

This is exactly the risk that Google doesn’t seem to effectively mitigate.

Choosing GCP over Azure or AWS seems like such a dangerous move. Same with migrating 5k users to gmail. Outlook and others may have weaknesses, but they are predictable.

To be fair. Microsoft isn’t precisely known for providing a stable platform either. While they might not discontinue things out right it’s pretty standard for them to relegate some existing solution to second class status while promoting the next big thing as the replacement, promising way more then it delivers.

Microsoft was all about backward compatibility. They might have changed with windows 10, but before then they tried their best to make sure you could run an old app on windows.

The fear is that Google might turn Gmail down? Seems implausible, no?

There was at least one story of "our Google account was banned, our small business is inoperable and we can't contact anyone" on HN.

Gmail, Docs, Drive seem pretty safe bets. Would not put my money on anything else though.

I'm pretty sure the ads will keep working :P

Fine for individuals. But switching a huge org with tons of weird, internal processes and rules seems like a gamble that meeting those requirements will always be important for Gmail (ie, using ie11 for some dumb reason).

I agree with you on drive, but docs is missing lots of features compared to msoffice (macros, excel functions, offline storage and runs) and google hasn’t been building tons of stuff into docs for a while.

I think they are fine for small orgs, but big orgs pay for lots of support and customization.

> Seems implausible, no?

Not really. All it would take would be liability for privacy violations.

These products have Enterprise customers with long term contracts. Same as core GCP services.

They can't be turned down for any reason. End of story.

They are shutting down inbox though. I know the mail will stay, but I will miss inbox.

And none of those services are going anywhere. If you're given the responsibility to make those types of decisions, I have my doubts that you based it on whether an audio dongle or RSS feed reader were dumped.

I went through a similar process the other day with a startup. We did pick GSuite at the end but the questionable decisions made by Google in the last 1-2 years made me want to look into alternatives instead of just choosing the one which would've been a no-brainer choice in the past.

They were only questionable because people that used them were pissed off. But Google isn't going to trash a product that's really hitting home. Gmail is the most successful email app ever. Google Reader was a niche product in a niche market.

I can relate. This extends to any technology they offer. Like Go... interesting on paper, but I just won't invest my personal time in it.

For me, Go Go is a bit different as it’s open source with a strong community. I don’t see it going anywhere.

You just compared a 35$ audio dongle, which is pretty redundant when you can instead of the other 35$ dongle that does the same and more, to a billion dollar cloud business.

Yep, I’ve also completely avoided Google Cloud for this very reason.

Google really is not seeing the bigger picture here at all.

Not saying you are wrong, but I don't think you would be getting some of the largest companies in the world globally using the Google platform if there was a risk to its future.

I share your feelings about not wanting to commit to Google products, but some (like Gmail) are here to stay. I'd work more about getting support for Gmail than Google closing it.

If you're making those decisions because you're bitter over Google Reader, I think Google's not the one that's hurting.....

So many successful products canned.


Also, the Google Search API (not the site search) which was useful was killed off as well.

And Google Search Appliance, Urchin Web Monitor, etc. it’s definitely not just a bunch of people burned by Reader.

And GCM [1] which kills microG as there's no FCM implementation.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Cloud_Messaging

Again, ask an average person, and they won't recognize even 5 products in that list. The only things in that list they might recognize is Google+ and Inbox, both of which aren't even dead yet.

I think most people know of Google Wave, Orkut, Google Answers, Google Video (was turned from a service into a search), Picasa and Google Reader.

Most people probably remember Google Labs, iGoogle homepage and Google Answers too.

Google Desktop was pretty popular as well.

A few years ago, Google's penchant for abandoning projects was an actual honest-to-god issue for both Go adoption and the use of GCP at a very large company I am deeply familiar with. It's not just nerds, it's also director-level types.

Can you name 5 serious products that were abandoned?

Google Talk Google Spaces Google Code Reader Google Wave

[ there is a theme here ]

We all have to remember HN commenters are irrelevant as far as marketing any product. If you see the embarrassing "Show HN" posts for Dropbox, interviewcake and other startups, you can see that being hated by HN has zero relation to the success of a product. Right now Quora is getting a lot of hate here, while they may be on the verge of a $1 billion IPO. We need to realize that our views really don't matter and in some cases are counter productive.

You can say that about any website; doesn't make the argument valid or invalid. It simply doesn't describe anything about the impact of the argument _either_ way.

"Normal" people don't know because they don't use niche software products like an rss reader or Google's latest messaging app.

If something is not an instant mainstream hit, Google might can it. That's a risk if you plan on trying out something new from Google before your uncle is asking you how to set it up.

At one point Hangouts was the default messaging app on a lot of Android phones.

Just the other day I was using the adb trick I learned on hn to uninstall the normally unremovable Plus app from my phone..

And yet after years of speculation about its imminent shutdown, Hangouts still works to this day.

In response to the most recent reports of its demise Google explicitly denied the rumored shutdown date and committed to supporting classic Hangouts until all users transition to Hangouts Chat: https://www.androidpolice.com/2018/12/03/hangouts-executive-...

Also, i don't know who out there is heavily invested in a $35 audio dongle. I love mine, but it still works just as well today as it did yesterday and not being able to order more isn't causing me any anxiety.

It does give me some anxiety. Because there are no and, unless google ships a replacement, probably will never be anything equivalent.

The chromecasts as devices are quite weird. Their usability for most things are just horrible. But they are simple devices. Once you get over the hurdle of how to use it becomes functional. Everything supports it. It took weeks frustration to get my parents to learn the chromecast, and it requires dedication. Now they love it, but apparently now I have to find something entirely different for audio. And I expect there to be a ton of compromises to even get to the clunkyness of the chromecast.

The value of the chromecast is the software support. Something only few could do not because it is hard but because you need the market penetration. And google does have a tight lid on the software integration.

That way they can sell the chromecast with ridiculous margins. Not sure how they reason canning chromecast audio, it's basically free money.

I mean it doesn’t really matter what their reputation is when they are the type of company that abandons products with little concern for users.

Do normal people know that Google even has any products besides Google search and Gmail?

As someone who likes nice speakers, being restricted to bluetooth is a big let down.

> Go ask any normal person if Google has a reputation for discontinuing products, and they won't know what you're talking about.

These are on the other hand the same people who ask (or are being told by) the nerds which browser to use, which email provider to choose etc, so the collective HN/techie opinion still has far-reaching implications.

> Go ask any normal person if Google has a reputation for discontinuing products

The multiple Google chat applications.

I use Hangouts currently and I literally have no idea what Hangouts Chat is. I have Allo and Duo installed on my phone for calling iOS devices for psuedo-Facetime. I really have no idea what the future is going to be on these products and it's not very clear at all.

I'm angry about Inbox too. Inbox is a superior product to Gmail and they are killing it off.

Serious question... is there a list of Google created products vs products they purchased?

The only two successful Google consumer products are gmail and maps... almost everything else they acquired.


This one always comes up a lot for some reason (I really don't understand what point is being made), but I'll point out that maps was actually acquired. But, it's been so long since that it's been a) thoroughly ship of theseus-ed such that I'd be surprised if there's more than minor fragments of the original codebase remaining and b) sprouted large new features that are under the 'maps' umbrella but could easily be standalone apps in their own right (example: public transit support in google maps; there's a whole marketplace of apps that just do that).

Similarly for docs, android, etc - maybe they were started with an acquisition but given the amount of change and work done on top of that: so what?

Forgot Google search/Adwords. Its what "googling" means. :)

Half credit for Adwords; Adsense (the other side of Adwords) was an acquisition.

> The only two successful Google consumer products are gmail and maps.

I dunno, Search seems pretty successful.

> almost everything else they acquired.

Android was neither successful nor much like what became successful when they acquired it.

Didn't Maps start out as Keyhole?

On the other hand, it was nerds that popularized Google. Maybe they don't need nerd love anymore, though.

What? I started using Google in high school (‘99) because the teachers said it was good... and they were right.

Teachers using the Internet in 1999 were nerds.

I agree with the sentiment, but I take exception at the name calling. No need for that.

Yes and its justified!11 Google Reader was great :-)

Talking about the bubble to the bubble is a tough road to hoe, so good luck.

No projects were canned here.

The 3-something year old hardware dongle is no longer being made, that's it. That's the entirety of the news. The Cast project as a whole is not being canned. Cast-enabled speakers, receivers, etc... are all still widely available from a wide number of manufacturers, that's not changing.

The only sensible way to cast to your amplifier is canned. That's alarming enough and I have no idea how I will replace that functionality.

Not that the chromecasts are a wonder of ingenuity or anything, it's just that they are stupid enough and big enough to get software support. Nothing else is comparable.

For 20 bucks you can get an hdmi audio extractor[1]. So for a little bit extra money you can simply connect the regular chromecast to your amplifier.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/slp/hdmi-audio-extractor/xc32yz93wutk...

Probably the only solution but it isn't pretty. Can't find anything like that locally so it will be easily the cost of the chromecast just for that.

And I can't find anything about whether it will resample the audio (dealbreaker), or how it will negotiate that.

I'm sure there will be a couple of unforseen issues as well. My chromecast occasionally disconnects itself, which means that you would have to rewire the hdmi cable to the TV just to have a clue of what is going on (can my parents or house gets figure that out when I'm not around?).

And yet another device and power brick.

Wonder why I have to use a cast-enabled speaker when I have $2k speakers that I enjoy.

If you have $2k of speakers, I assume you have a receiver that you use to connect it to your TV and other audio producing sources. You simply plug a normal Chromecast in said receiver, and not only you can route music, you can also route videos from Youtube, Netflix, Plex and thousands of other sources to it.

Get a cast-enabled amplifier then? Sony's receivers cast built-in, for example.

But you realize how extremely niche your problem is, right? That there clearly aren't enough of people in your particularly situation who also want a dongle that haven't already bought one?

I have a top of the line amp, why do I have to get a "cast enabled" one? I am not sure what the last sentence meant. I already have the dongles, I'm just sad they are no longer going to make them.

Google already canned Miracast support and will do the same with whatever Chromecast protocol it's using now, meaning these abandoned devices are as good as dead soon. Google breaks device casting capability over and over so for years now Android casting has never reliably worked when AirPlay works perfectly.

How's that for anti-consumer behavior and shooting yourself in the foot?

> Google already canned Miracast support

5 years ago and the entire industry followed suit if they ever even supported it in the first place.

> will do the same with whatever Chromecast protocol it's using now, meaning these abandoned devices are as good as dead soon.

Seeing as Google still sells a handful of products, and just released a brand new product, that uses the Chromecast protocol I'm gonna call bullshit on this claim.

> Google breaks device casting capability over and over so for years now Android casting has never reliably worked when AirPlay works perfectly.

Chromecast has been rock solid for half a decade. It works so well that Vizio uses it nearly exclusively for their TV lineup and has for a few years now. Chromecast has been a massive success. Your claim is wildly out of touch at best, if not just outright FUD.

Apple discontinued ipod nano, what's the difference here? Consumer electronics come and go, just following the market trend.

The iPod Nano lasted 12 years. The Chromecast Audio lasted 3 and a bit.

iPod is a successful one. Chromecast audio is not. How long do you want to keep a not successful product around if you own the company?

My girlfriend poured so much love in her iPhone SE and it seems like... discontinued.

Judging by the comments here, if anyone uses a service they expect a company to provide support for it indefinitely. And apparently that also applies to hardware.

They're still supporting this device for now, so no complaints yet.

But when I buy a piece of hardware I absolutely expect it to work for at least ten years. When did that become unreasonable?

The base scenario is that it works standalone and it'll keep working for many years. If you choose to involve a server, then you have a responsibility to keep the server up for an extended period. If it's a legacy product then the number of users will continually drop and the cost to keep a couple servers up will be minuscule.

> But when I buy a piece of hardware I absolutely expect it to work for at least ten years.

Still rocking that iPhone 3G?

It probably became unreasonable to expect decade-long support on something that costs $15-$20.

I have literally hundreds of things that cost $15 to $20, and many of those are over ten years old and still work fine.

Obviously they have a lifespan and the quality of cheap products can be quite poor, so there are items that broke and got thrown away.

But there's nothing that stopped working because the manf told me I couldn't use it any more.

It's reasonable to expect it to function until normal wear-and-tear breaks it. After that, it's reasonable to expect it could be repaired at some cost.

However, it depends on a Google service — it won't work without a working Internet connection. This idea is fairly new for consumers.

Apple discontinues products and replaces them with something else. Google's more in the habit of announcing a new service, saying it's great and revolutionary, then dumping it a few years down the line with a brief notice beforehand.

The iPod line just ended up superseded by phones. Google Wave, Google Plus, Google Code, Inbox (this one I'd get alerts for after every Gmail login saying it's the next step for gmail and I should switch... it just never happened), Google Video, Google Reader, and more just vanished.

Dont forget the multiple google chat applications.

You could claim Video was superseded by YouTube

One relies on server support and multiple clients supporting it. The other does not.

I have an old iPod nano sitting in a box that still works as good as the day it was bought. It’s possible that a few years from now the Chromecast Audio will be nothing more than a paperweight, and it’s a bit light for that.

They're still supporting the Chromecast Audio though. They're just discontinuing an old hardware product, which really isn't out of the ordinary.

Heh. These are all paperweights. The nano was one when it was new. You needed itunes to use it. No way to transfer music to it (at least on linux at that time; maybe people hacked it later). I remember I won one in some contest, and was excited until I plugged it in. End of excitement.

Probably the difference between hardware and software. If apple canned airplay I'd be pretty pissed. They discontinued their routers but I still use their airport extreme to good effect.

> Probably the difference between hardware and software

Uh, but it's hardware in both cases; Chromecast Audio is a particular model of hardware Cast receiver.

> If apple canned airplay I'd be pretty pissed.

Yes, that would be like Google killing Google Cast. Which they are decidedly not doing.

It’s a natural byproduct of always looking for the next big thing, no? You need to take chances and try new things, and not all of them work out.

Do they really do this more than other companies? Does the average successful company make a habit of keeping unsuccessful products around?

In this case, I don't think it's necessarily a big issue and it certainly isn't the abandonment of a platform. There is now an enormous range of third-party products with built-in Chromecast support. It's entirely plausible that Google looked at the current market for Chromecast devices and concluded that the Chromecast Audio was no longer necessary. It was already a somewhat niche device, but it has only become more niche as third-party support has grown.


I've steered clear of a few now, both in tech and as a consumer. I've been burned too many times by the same company here.

Google likes to self-sabotage, what can I say? Chromecast Audio is one of the few products in recent years that added real value to the Android platform and finally made easy, cheap high-quality audio casting possible (vs. shitty Bluetooth casting on Echo). The Home app is shit and needs a simpler interface but the fundamentals are good.

The only problem was it was priced wrong at $30. At $15 it was a no-brainer. Maybe that's a loss for Google but it's one of the best candidates to get the masses into the Google ecosystem, and eventually upgrade to the full Chromecast and other devices. They really blew it here.

The same thing repeats over and over at Google. Great fundamentally well engineered products, only to blow it all at the last moment when it is about to catch on with the consumer. It's like Googlers have an aversion with human contact and prefer to retreat when they get too close.

Chromecast audio is a casting device. You can still cast to Google Home speakers, or to a Chromecast TV. They're canning a product which is limited and has replacements in the rest of their product line.

They think there is no cost to this, but there is. The company is losing long-term platform support.

I love my Chromecast Audio Setup. It was amazing to create a very cheap multi room setup for our Office Opening Party, literally orchestrating all the speakers I could find into one large group was like magic. So cheap compared to alternative solutions, i'll try to pick a few up if I can, as I expect them to work for atleast a few more years.

We have a few around the house, connected to various speakers. Never had any trouble with them. I'll be buying a few more now before the price bumps, don't wanna be stuck in the Logitech Squeezebox misery again.

My only complaint is that they can't be grouped with a regular Chromecast, but AFAICT that's a hardware issue (regular Chromecast doesn't have the bits necessary for synchronising with low enough latency).

Regular Chromecast (Gen 2 and above) can now be added to groups too!


This just makes no sense. A feature the community has been shouting about for years and years (literally hundreds of posts on Google product forums), and then they actually launch it less than two months before discontinuing the product line??

The feature that Chromecast Audio had was added to Chromecast just before Chromecast Audio (but not Chromecast) was discontinued.

Be funny if they soon release a new Chromecast that has HDMI and AUX outs; the thing that always confused me about Chromecast Audio was why it needed to be a separate thing, especially after they went to the hockey-puck with a tail rather than stick format for the regular Chromecast.

Well if regular Chromecast would have a 3.5mm port then fine, but I wouldn't be holding my breath.

Exactly. Although I do see that you can buy a female HDMI to VGA converter with 3.5mm audio out for $4; hopefully that would work. I'm assuming the VGA end isn't detecting whether something is connected or not.

Edit: meh, no, these things are Energy Star compliant so they shut down if no VGA is connected. And they don't support HDCP.

In the olden days before the CC Audio I just crammed a wire between two pins in the vga port if the adapter and put some glue on it.

There's guides for this, works flawlessly.

More like, now that regular Chromecasts can do it, why even have Chromecast Audio as a separate product any more? It's all just Chromecast now.

Regular Chromecast outputs to HDMI, Chromecast Audio outputs to 3.5mm analog stereo audio. This (the 3.5mm analog stereo audio) is very much superior for hooking up to speakers around the house.

The Chromecast Audio also supports Optical Out via TOSLINK, allowing you to bypass the built-in DAC and use your own, if you so desire.

Well, regular Chromecast only has HDMI, so there still is a gap without CC Audio.

Chromecast Audio is discontinued, not regular Chromecast

Ironically this actually affects some Squeezebox users too (there's a great plugin to use Chromecasts as SB players: https://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?104614-Announc...)

Still, testament to the Squeezebox community how it can outlive both the original hardware's shelf life, and a replacement's...

You're going to buy more just so that the next version of Chromecast/Cast/Home/whatever drops support for them?

At that price point just getting 1-2 years more use out of them would be worth it to me.

1-2 years is an eternity. I'm thinking 6 months till a breaking update. Google is not Microsoft.

See this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16509834

The linked comment doesn't seem to have any bearing on how long Chromecast Audio is likely to be supported?

Regardless of whether kuschku's accusations are true (there doesn't seem to be much evidence, and even if it were so I'm not sure why Google should be expected to assist Amazon in reverse engineering Chromecast), unlike an Amazon clone the Chromecast Audio is a first-party product. Google may have stopped producing the standalone dongle, but the tech is still used by Google Home and other speakers with integrated Google Cast support, so it's not disappearing anytime soon.

I'm really disappointed that Google has decided to do this. I've been using these all over my house for a couple of years now and, at least for Google Play Music and Tune-In Radio, they work really well. When the price dropped recently, and there was speculation they would be discontinued, I bought another four of them for my own use and for gifts.

They're not really comparable to Bluetooth receivers. The killer feature is synchronized multi-room audio without paying exorbitant prices for proprietary speakers (Sonos I'm looking at you...). I have them hooked up to powered speakers (PC 2.1 style) in the bedroom and bathroom, a mini-stereo on the deck, a ghetto blaster in my workshop and my media room AV amplifier. For parties it's fantastic to have seamless audio around the whole house.

I have to wonder why Google did this. It seems like a strategic move to push people towards their "smart" speakers. Personally I really don't want something with a microphone in it, just good quality sound at a good price. Very sad.

By the way, it's easy to cast audio only from YouTube or any other app - just go to the Google Home app and cast your phone's audio to the device or group.

The other incomparable feature is wifi casting vs bluetooth streaming. You can pick a playlist/album from your phone, hit cast, and ship your phone off to Alpha Centauri without the music disconnecting. Much less battery drain than Bluetooth, and higher quality audio regardless of if you're taking advantage of the optical output to a high-end DAC.

My only gripe is that sometimes you can keep your phone in your pocket and use the volume buttons to adjust the casted volume, and sometimes it doesn't work. Might be an iOS thing though.

Or people just opted for speakers with Chromecast Audio built in than messing with the dongle. There's a ton of cast-enabled speakers on the market and the volume control experience is much better with them, too. There's also an awful lot of cast-enabled receivers on the market as well if you want to drive your own speakers.

As strategic as it seems, they probably just didn’t sell well enough to justify continued effort.

Also purchasing a gift when it’s price is slashed due to it probably being discontinued is.. risky to say the least.

How is that risky? They're discontinuing the hardware, casting isn't going anywhere. Unless you're one of those people that would be offended by someone getting your gift on sale.

I agree. It's probably because sales were trending down.

That said, nothing stops another company from stepping in and taking a license for a smart speaker without neither the microphone nor the speaker, in a tiny form factor...

> That said, nothing stops another company from stepping in and taking a license for a smart speaker without neither the microphone nor the speaker, in a tiny form factor

There's already a bunch of audio-only Cast-enabled products without a microphone. There's no need to license google assistant just to get cast. Speakers & receivers with cast built-in has been a thing for a few years now. The dongle was just an upgrade path while the broader ecosystem built up.

Sorry, I was being silly and I really meant Cast speaker, which is what a stripped down smart speaker is. AFAIK you still need a license or at least some help from Google to get that working, since the protocols are proprietary.

I can easily see them discontinuing them in favor of releasing an updated version of the Google Home mini with stereo out.

I have one connected to my amplifier and speakers — it's the only thing connected, I don't need any other audio source.

I run miniDLNA[1] which shares all my music, and BubbleUPnP[2] on my phone to browse the music and cast it to the Chromecast Audio.

It's also possible with a Python library[3]; I used this for a while as an alarm clock.

About every 2-3 months I have to reboot the Chromecast, but it's otherwise fine. It doesn't do gapless playback, but I think that's partly because miniDLNA is running on an ultra-low-power ARM board, i.e. is slow.

[1] https://sourceforge.net/projects/minidlna/

[2] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bubblesoft...

[3] https://github.com/balloob/pychromecast

Same miniDLNA (running off of a gen1 Raspberry Pi + NAS) and BubbleUPnP. Works great - BubbleUPnP is the only app I've actually bought for my phone.

Recently had an xmas do with the music around the house casting simultaneously via various Cast devices and it worked great.

Google really does have a habit of killing good products to make way for worse ones. Reader killed for Plus. Inbox (to be) killed for Gmail (still dreading this, I'm hanging on to Inbox till the end), and now Chromecast audio killed for Home.

Yeah, the latter products serve Google better, but they serve me worse. I think 2019 will be the year I start really trying to untangle my life from Google to the extent I can delete my account.

I'm also dreading the switch back to gmail.

Inbox is so clean, and gmail is so cluttered. When I first saw Inbox, I thought "finally, Google gives gmail the UI refresh it needs". Now it's gone, and we'll be back to the anxiety-inducing interface again.

It was great with Serif-Google, and the implicit approach of "let's make cool stuff and worry if it makes money never" (since making money is not exactly a problem). Now with Sans-serif-Google cool stuff that doesn't make money must be culled to make way for stuff that does, or at least furthers strategic goals.

Unfortunately that's just the way the game is played at that level, and the CEOs at the top are all playing by the same rules.

I miss Serif-Google.

I went wild and bought four of these, to have a high-quality multi-room audio setup on the cheap.

The trouble is, it almost never worked - I'd have two rooms working, or it would fall over after one song, or after three songs, or not work at all.

I don't know whether the product was fatally flawed, or Google just didn't put the investment into making it work, but it would have been great if it wasn't so broken.

Same experience. I tried to get a refund for my Chromecast Audios (that I bought for $45 a pop) to no avail. Documented about 6 different bugs. I sat with support for 5 hours doing the same "reboot your phone, now re-set the device" shenanigans and they still wouldn't admit they were broken.

I've used a variety of Cast items for as long as they've been available, and set them up in many homes with success. My experience is your router and/or APs (if separate) are usually the culprit. Wish I knew exactly why though; many TP-Link devices I've used struggled, particularly an Archer C1200.

Yes, I have a TP-Link router and a separate access point (so two different SSIDs in my oddly-shaped home) - no doubt this doesn't help.

I still use mine. Do you use the iPhone or an Android client? I find that Google Home sometimes needs to be started for devices to be seen. I may need to buy a few more before they are gone completely.

I had the same experience. Also, I used them with standard portable bluetooth speakers, but even plugged in they'd turn off after a bit, which removed the whole plan of "spontaneously broadcast music through the house just whenever".

A month ago, my regular Google Home (which basically includes all of the Chromecast Audio functionality) would very frequently randomly stop playing music when a song ended. Maybe it would be able to play about 3 songs on average before stopping. It was the main thing I'd do with my Google Homes so I was pretty mad. But the issue suddenly went away about a month ago, sooo that's cool I guess.

Same. I did some troubleshooting and it had to do with the Google Home thinking another device (my phone) was using my google play music. Luckily they fixed it.

Weird, mine works great. What service is your source of audio?

n7player on Android, with Toaster Cast - it used to work better. Could be third party issues contributing to the problem...

Well, there are tons of third-party Chromecast target devices, including several speakers. I suppose it's possible one of those companies may step in and develop a similar product to fill the gap.

That's my hope too. Love my Chromecast Audio.

Totally gutted, these are amazing devices and great value. After ‘enjoying’ years of hackery with Squeezebox, I eventually plumped for Chromecast Audio as the hassle-free way to get Spotify plus BBC iPlayer radio controlled via native iOS apps. I can also verify they are capable of bit-perfect optical audio out from appropriate flac source files etc, so perfect for the big speakers. RIP.

Chromecast Audio frustrates me so much. I bought one and hooked it up to my whole-house system combined with a few other fancy things so that people in the house could theoretically cast music or whatever else to whatever room in the house.

Basically, I can only use it with Google Music. I rarely can use it for other things because it will only cast a subset of things that support casting. For example, I can't cast YouTube to it, because it doesn't support video. But what if want everyone in the room to hear what I'm playing and the video is irrelevant?

I'm considering buying an HDMI->DVI/Audio adapter and just using a standard Chrome Cast.

I feel like Google had the right idea here. But just missed the mark.

> For example, I can't cast YouTube to it, because it doesn't support video. But what if want everyone in the room to hear what I'm playing and the video is irrelevant?

I'd imagine that's for the same reason why you can't "listen" to a video on mobile with the app in the background: it would qualify as a music stream, and YT doesn't have the rights to stream music in an ad-based model.

You actually can do that if you pay for YouTube Premium.

Exactly, they probably don't have a license for ad-based audio streaming, only subscription-based.

Could be, or they're just using it to differentiate the offerings.

You can cast YouTube to it via vlc or what I usually do is YouTube-dL and plex. But yeah. Not directly.

You can use mkchromecast for that: https://mkchromecast.com/#installation Also you can go further with it and cast from airplay devices: https://github.com/philippe44/AirConnect

I have airconnect on a raspberrypi so I don't have to keep my laptop on and I can play songs from my iphone that way, just stream to chromecast audio. It's also worth mentioning it works a bit better than mkchromecast but it depends on your wifi.

Someone else posted this tip earlier in this thread - might help you:

"By the way, it's easy to cast audio only from YouTube or any other app - just go to the Google Home app and cast your phone's audio to the device or group."

Not that it should matter too much most of the tine, but that does increase (naively triple) local wifi network traffic since you're streaming from source to your phone, from your phone to your router, and from your router back to the CC Audio instead of straigt source to CC Audio.

Makes sense. Others in the thread had said that Chromecast Audio was way better than standard bluetooth or wireless audio solutions because it had wifi capabilities and instead of requiring battery usage from your phone, it simply pulls the data stream itself from the internet.

Small things but they matter depending on use..

It works well with Spotify, for the record.

I haven't used mine in over a year due to audio stuttering issues, but you can get a browser extension to cast anything on a desktop.

I believe Firefox on Android may also support casting (along with ad blocking and an extension to play Youtube in the background by removing the page visibility api)

> I'm considering buying an HDMI->DVI/Audio adapter and just using a standard Chrome Cast.

I did exactly this about 6 years ago, worked fine. Shame to cast all those video bits through your wifi contention just to throw them away at the adapter, though.

In the cases where the video is static, there are relatively few video bits. An MP4 on YouTube that just displays the album art is about the same size as an M4A.

Not really

My problem is the Chromecast (plugged into AV amp) turns on the TV (via CEC), and if you turn off the TV, the Chromecast stops

I have a Chromecast Audio and I just choose "cast screen to device" from the Android system tray (the pull-down menu from the top of the screen) and it seems to work fine to stream any audio to the Chromecast

One advantage Amazon's Echo Dot has over Google's Home Mini is that the Echo Dot has a 3.mm connector in addition to bluetooth, so you can easily connect it to your existing speakers or receiver.

Right now the 3rd-gen Echo Dot is $30 and the 2nd-gen is $25.

Chromecast Audio has jack which doubles as optical (same as Macbook's audio jack). And mine is connected to good quality amplifier via optical cable. For a price it would be difficult to replace.

> same as Macbook's audio jack

Older MacBooks. Apple dropped optical out/in several years ago, none of their current systems (unless you count the 2013 Mac Pro as current) include it.

Mine is 2015 Retina Pro and still has the optical out. It is the last in the line though and yet one more reason that my paths parted with Apple since.

[1] https://appleinsider.com/articles/16/11/02/new-macbook-pro-d...

There's also an Echo exclusively for use with the 3.5 mm jack


You can mod Google Home Mini to have Line in/out using a kit from here: https://www.snektek.com/shop/index.php?route=product/product.... They also have a fully modded home mini: https://www.snektek.com/shop/index.php?route=product/product...

Holy smokes, that's a pricey modification.

The Echo's 3.5mm jack is analog. Chromecast Audio's optical output is digital. The optical output is infinitely more preferable for connecting to my home theater receiver.

Can you stream to an Echo Dot from any/many music apps on your phone like the Chromecast? Or do you have to control everything by voice?

I have it set up so that it connects to my phone via bluetooth, and I output audio from whatever service I want on my phone.

Also, you can get it to connect to your phone via a voice command ("Alexa connect <device name>"), when you want to use it.

I use Spotify, all of my Echo devices show up as different outputs in the Spotify app, along with the groups I've set up ("Everywhere").

I just discovered that if you say “Alexa, Spotify connect” then anyone can connect their phone as long as they’re on the same WiFi network as the device.

You can.

In the spotify app on my phone or computer I can choose an echo dot (or group of multiple alexa devices) as the output device.

Alternately, you can pair with an echo dot and use it as a bluetooth speaker.

You can use the Echo as a bluetooth speaker.

Google Home also has BT now. So you can play anything over BT. I use it for my Audible.

Don't really know why it's canned though. I thought it was a great iterative product. Before this, didn't think they could do something like the Chromecast again (hardware whise).

But the Chromecast Audio is just so simple and effective. I'm really curious about the sales numbers, to understand why they canned it. Otherwhise, it doesn't make business sense.

I have like 5 chromecast's laying around and dealing them to family/friends for gifts. To some, even just because i think they will love it. Even after a year, suddenly someone starts to use it (this was the normal Chromecast) and they start to love it.

It's one of the reasons i can say a lot: "told you :p"

PS. If anyone of Google would read this, would love to have a license on the Chromecast audio. I'm a small webshow owner that actually recommends quite a lot of Google products as a Software Developer.

PS2. You can't get a yes, if you don't ask it :p

I've got 3 of these in my house already, and I was thinking of picking up a couple more as back-ups, but they're already sold out on the Google store. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any other small, "cast-able" device that has a digital output. Hopefully mine last for a while.

I would not buy anything from Google at this point. Definitely will not use anything else except Gmail.

> I would not buy anything from Google at this point.

The only consequence here seems to be if you wanted to buy one but now you can't, but I don't see how not buying something gives a lesson about buying things?

It's not like Chromecast is going away.

>The only consequence here seems to be if you wanted to buy one but now you can't, but I don't see how not buying something gives a lesson about buying things?

Many people not buying stuff from company who discontinues things gives a lesson about not discontinuing stuff.

All products have a limited lifespan for how long they are manufactured. Products come and go, this shouldn't be surprising or weird.

If you bought it it still works. It still does what you paid for, and that isn't changing. People who paid money for this are no worse off today than they were yesterday.

The only logical conclusion from such a position is to literally never buy anything ever from anyone period. Because it will eventually stop being sold, no matter what it is, or who makes it.

If the cast software was being discontinued yes that'd be worth getting upset over, as it's killing something you have & use. But that's not this. Nothing stops working as a result of this. It's a single product in an ecosystem of hundreds that's being discontinued, that's it.

>All products have a limited lifespan for how long they are manufactured. Products come and go, this shouldn't be surprising or weird.

DUH! People already know this.

It becomes surprising and weird when it happens at more than the normal rate -- whether it's software or hardware--, which is what we consider Google to do.

If the Chromecast Audio product was the first time Google had pulled this shit, then nobody would be discussing it...

Well, more like a lesson in not starting to sell stuff

That's still a lesson. Don't make product promises you cannot keep.

Did they make any promises?

The implicit promise that this is a market we want to be in, and buy this stuff, and we'll continue to support it and invest in this ecosystem.

Seems like not enough people bought it then

I, too, prefer a company whose hardware is their core product, not an offshoot developed to supplement other revenue. Learned my lesson the hard way with Apple Airport line.

Even though I probably overpaid, I have a set of Eero routers vs Google WiFi or Netgear competitor, a Roku Stick vs Chromecast or Amazon FireStick, and a Ring security setup vs Dashcam/Nestcam (although my last example is kinda diluted after Ring got acquired).

Curious to know what lessons you learned. I've had an Airport Express since they became available, and they've been about the only Apple product that I can basically forget about since it always works.

My AE/ATV combo is connected to a 2.1 setup which allows streaming of anything with or without the TV turned on. I'm bummed Apple dropped support for their Airport line, but the one I currently have will be fine for a very long time — Thanks in no small part for supporting a 3.5mm jack.

This is, of course, highly anecdotal, but my extended network setup with 1 Airport Extreme (wired) and 3 Airport Express (wireless) consistently broke every few weeks or so with one Airport Express refusing to see the rest of the network it was supposed to extend. And it was always a different Express, so couldn't be pinned to a hardware issue or location in the house. Apple support on this issue is relegated to an article on the Web site or some forum threads https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5763681, as debugging it in an Apple Store makes little sense, considering the network setup would run smoothly for days.

One thing that was unclear to me is how long the Airport Utility app was going to remain in the App Store and stay maintained to support the latest revisions of iOS, Android, and respective app store policies. The upgrade path for firmware in case of a security vulnerability is also unknown - something that I'd be okay on some other devices, but not the main home router.

> Eero routers vs Google WiFi or Netgear competitor

Wait, how is Netgear not a company for whom "hardware is their core product"?

FTA “Google says it’ll continue to support Chromecast Audio users for the time being, so if you have already invested in this ecosystem, you should be set for a few more years.”

What are good gmail alternatives? I have fastmail, but to be honest - it's not as good as gmail used to be (although it's better than the "new gmail) is.

In my honest opinion there isn't one. Nothing does everything as good as Gmail does. Some things they might do better but they fall down in other areas so the overall experience isn't as good. And the one thing it does better doesn't make up for the 3 or 4 things it does worse.

It really comes down to how much inconvenience are you willing to put up with to not use Gmail.

Again just my opinion :)

Would love to know how you find their other products unacceptable, but giving them unfettered access to your private communication is okay...

It's about the stupid trend they kill things which have not enough interest. That's why we can't have nice things...

Killing off products that don't have enough interest doesn't seem to be stupid at all. That's how they shift dev effort onto developing new services and extending services that do have sufficient interest.

It sounds like his main concern is the product disappearing, and Gmail is one of the least likely to disappear.

> It sounds like his main concern is the product disappearing

but it's a physical product and a service that isn't going anywhere...

It remains a technological product, though, and one doesn't like to buy into tech ecosystems without a full assurance of ongoing support. Chromecast Audio being discontinued today is one thing, and Google does promise continued support for the product … but Google's track record may not bear that out.

In the case of some sort of critical security update or a theoretical future update to pick up a hitherto undetected, show-stopping bug, there's little assurance Google would look after its customers — they've too much of a tendency to introduce something then rescind the product not long later, something that doesn't inspire much confidence in whether or not there will be ongoing, high-quality software updates to support the products.

It seems just as unlikely that Cast is going to disappear

Bummer. I own one and use it every day for listening to high quality audio on an old stereo setup. The sound quality is so great!

I routinely buy these for friends/family who want better digital audio setups and they tend to work great. I’ve never had any issues.

The best feature is “Ok, Google, play X.” When combined with Spotify’s amazing music index (really good for rare recordings/composers/etc), this is a super powerful mechanism to play any music at high quality. Best of all I can do it without needing to look at my phone and fend off the distractions there.

Just to clarify, that "Ok, Google" feature requires a Google Assistant device like a Home Mini (or your phone) as the Chromecast Audio has no microphone.

I was excited to set a bunch of these up around the house a couple of years back. I set them up in every room in the house. Then I realized you could not cast just the audio from youtube videos (without YouTube Red or whatever). I could cast from youtube audio from my desktop computer to all of them through an open source app. It never worked like how I had envisioned in my mind with everything being seamless.

We also ran into the bug where having too many chromecast devices attached to the same network would spam the router, preventing some devices from connecting. It would happen randomly and it took a while to figure out that this was the problem.

There were other reliability issues and other minor annoyances that just made me give up on the idea.

Now I begrudgingly use an amazon firestick on the tv.

The idea was awesome, it's just that Google did not provide a reliable product and pointlessly limited its own hardware's capabilities to sell their monthly service.

Reposting again - earlier in the thread someone posted a solution:

"By the way, it's easy to cast audio only from YouTube or any other app - just go to the Google Home app and cast your phone's audio to the device or group."

Edit: Would whoever is downvoting me for providing assistance, please explain your reasoning?

So I had one of these. I couldn't give it away when I was getting rid of stuff.

The problem with chromecast audio is that pretty much nothing supported chromecast audio. Anything you would potentially use with audio you'd be better off running through a regular chromecast (including spotify which only worked on audio with a premium account, free accounts work on regular chromecast normally and you could always push the web player from chrome).

I don't understand who this was supposed to be marketed to. Chromecast users probably already have a good sound setup on their TV. Audiophiles aren't going to buy it since it only had a 3.5mm jack on it. Anyone else is just going to use bluetooth whatever.

I get why they made it. I also get why it failed.

I have one which I use to play my own music — an open source media server plus an Android app which I think I paid for. (See my other comment.)

However, friends have no problem using it with Spotify, the local public broadcast system app, or a local music streaming app.

I think there just aren't enough audiophiles who were aware this existed. Some friends bought them after seeing my setup, but it wasn't advertised, and most products at a similar price sound awful.

(Also, in my experience people aren't really aware just how bad their Bluetooth speaker sounds, as they haven't compared it to even a cheap hifi system. I used to give away 3.5mm to RCA cables so people could connect their TV to external speakers, no-one failed to appreciate the improvement.)

> Audiophiles aren't going to buy it since it only had a 3.5mm jack on it

Apparently the Chromecast Audio supports optical digital output, but Google never seemed very good at publicizing that feature. They had some instructions hidden under "Compatible cables and plugs" here:


(That said, I just double-checked my studio monitors & they only have analog XLR & 1/4" inputs anyway.)

I do vaguely remember seeing that in some documentation but yeah, if no one knows it exists and all you see is a generic 3.5mm it essentially doesn't exist.

The Chromecast audio does one thing and does it (pretty) well. You can connect it to any dumb thing you have lying around.

I am not going to buy an eavesdropping microphone setup for my house, so if that's all Google will sell, I guess I'll find another path for music.

Hopefully this means an updated Google Home Mini with a line-out jack is around the corner.

As an alternative: Google Home Mini can pair with bluetooth aux receivers ( https://www.amazon.com/s?k=bluetooth+receiver+aux ) which can be connected to dumb speakers. End result is similar to chromecast audio (but not audiophile grade).

Maybe a future version of Google Home Mini will add an audio out.

Probably doomed to die anyway since there already was a better and much more open competitor:


That page says Chromecast doesn't do multiroom synchronized streaming but it absolutely does.

It didn't do multiroom at the time of writing.

What makes that more open?

Nothing, sorry. I was lurking around and got the wrong impression by reading other articles. The Audiocast does indeed offer more than Chromecast Audio, but doesn't seem open at all.

may be now is the time we stop discussing about google canning different projects

google has already developed a reputation for abruptly stopping services

google reader google plus allo google talk hangouts

here is a list of projects google abandoned https://gcemetery.co/

it's a shame they do build products half-heartedly

This is a real shame. And shameless... I want to keep using Google smart things but I don't want to give up my high quality analog gear.

Being able to Chromecast to a channel on my band's mixing board is super handy for practice. I hope the handful I have don't die.

Unfortunately, I didn't really know I wanted one for myself and also for family until right now, especially at the $15 price point.

It seems like these are selling out in a lot of stores, but I wonder if it's smart to buy one when they'll probably no longer receive updates.

It's not that it won't receive updates. It's that when Google turns off some support servers somewhere, they will all stop working.

Chromecast Audio is the same as Chromecast built-in. There are tons of devices, this ecosystem is not gonna die anytime soon. Doesn't matter if Google ships their own hardware or not.

I would love an AirPlay 2 receiver equivalent of the Chromecast Audio. I know the ancient Airport Express can do it, but it's wireless capabilities are lacking (802.11n or g might be the best it can do.) Anyone know of one?

I use the Express in wired only mode and it’s the best solution that I have found so far for an easy $25 (aggressive negotiation on Craigslist :)

Maybe it means that they are coming up with something else new? It's their right to stop producing something or kill ("sunset") whatever product, but it doesn't make it any less crappy.

I hope Google enables the possibility of third party firmware before eventually bricking them.

Streaming (even locally) is impossible without Google blessing the connection initialisation.

I’ve just adopted Google Wifi (love it) but I’m afraid that they will get bored and discontinue it.

sad: I had a really good thing going with these to a miniDigi/miniDSP/miniAmp stack for power-efficient portable speakers.

was gonna build more using beocreate; not quite sure now which way to jump... anyone know of a similar device that includes TOSlink out?

I had planned on building out a home audio system using Chromecast Audios w/ small amplifiers distributed around the house. I even did a test run with my patio speakers and it worked out great. Now I'm going to have to rethink things.

Dammit, just bought one of these with their holiday 75% off sale.

Did the one you bought suddenly stop working?

Haven't tried it, was going to give it as a gift. Now I'm wondering if it's going to be maintained, since it's a pretty cloud-dependent device.

Support did ...

from the article: " Google says it’ll continue to support Chromecast Audio users"...

Support for Google's current products like Android is already abysmal, so I can't even imagine what support for a discontinued product looks like ...

if two adjacent rooms playing chromecast or dlna client, is there any synchronization of played sound, so you don't hear delay of music between of the two rooms

Yes, I have 3 Chromecast audios and 2 Google Homes and they all play in sync throughout the house.

Same sort of set up here. You can even adjust a delay (e.g. +/- 10ms etc) if the timing is slightly out as well as individual volumes for each speaker individually from the home app.

The multiroom audio really is superb. Shame it is going away - hopefully it will be replaced by something else decent.

A lot of amplifiers are integrating Chromecast these days.

Bummer -- sold out already...

Good, that was the dumbest thing Google ever produced, and I'm writing this comment from a Pixel 3.

Google is getting worse and worse with each new news headline.

They have completely lost my trust of using their non-primary services.

However, the monopoly is so high that's it's difficult for other companies to compete.

This is one product in a large line, not an entire service.

There are also tons of competitors in this space.

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