Google’s Chromecast Audio devices have long supported multi-room audio, but the firm has finally added this capability to its video-based Chromecast, Google Home, and Smart Display devices too.
I’ve seen multiple reports about this addition in recent days, and I was initially a bit confused as I’ve been using Chromecast’s multi-room audio functionality for years. In fact, this just came up last week in the latest edition of Ask Paul.
“Right now, we have three main sets of speakers that I would consider ‘whole house audio’ (though they are all on the ground floor),” I wrote in that article. “The idea here is we’re having people over and we want music everywhere. Those speakers are in our sunroom, my home office, and in the living room. Each is different, but each is connected to a Chromecast Audio.”
But it turns out that many of the headlines were simply misleading. This is indeed new functionality. And today, I can add many more device types to my multi-room audio group, which is configured in the Google Home app (and is called “Thurrott All” for obvious reasons).
To test this, I added the Chromecast Ultra in the living room, which is connected to our TV, and the Google Home and Lenovo Smart Display in our kitchen. So when I cast Google Play Music to the Thurrott All group, it played via six different speakers (and/or speaker sets). Nice.
I’ve never quite understood why some Google/Chromecast-compatible devices were unable to connect to these groups. But there are still some odd limitations to this system that I’d like to see addressed. You cannot create Google Home speaker pairs, for example (unless you have Google Home Max). And as I noted in my Lenovo Smart Display Review, you can’t cast an Android display to that type of device. For some reason.
Still, a nice addition.