Google is Killing Chromecast Audio for Some Reason

Posted on January 11, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos with 57 Comments

Chromecast Audio

Google this week confirmed that it has stopped manufacturing Chromecast Audio, its inexpensive audio streaming dongle. And I have no idea why.

“Our product portfolio continues to evolve, and now we have a variety of products for users to enjoy audio,” a Google statement notes. “We have therefore stopped manufacturing our Chromecast Audio products. We will continue to offer assistance for Chromecast Audio devices, so users can continue to enjoy their music, podcasts and more.”

I use Chromecast Audio all the time, so I’m a bit confused by this: It’s how I was able to combine an inexpensive pair of studio monitor speakers ($99) with a Chromecast Audio ($35) and achieve better sound quality than Sonos at just one-third the cost: A pair of Sonos One speakers cost $380.

So why on earth would Google kill a product that just works, especially when it lets you integrate “dumb” speakers with Google Assistant-powered smart speakers and other devices to create a whole-house audio system?

That I cannot explain. And having products like Google Home Max certainly doesn’t solve the problem either. I just don’t get it.

If you’re interested in Chromecast Audio, buy now: They’re going to disappear, and Google is selling the dongle for just $15 right now.

Yes, I just bought another one too.

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Comments (57)

57 responses to “Google is Killing Chromecast Audio for Some Reason”

  1. Avatar

    dcdevito

    What in the actual F?? This is a fantastic product. Damnit Google. They have the attention span of an amoeba.

  2. Avatar

    dontbe evil

    Were is the snark and outrage about Google dumping another product Comments about never trusting Google hardware?

    (Google dumps more products than most other companies, and yet they don’t get the backlash that other companies receive.)

    ...ah right, that’s because is google not ms, google is good, ms is evil /s


    p.s.

    even the title is different just because is google and not ms

    • Avatar

      Stooks

      In reply to dontbe_evil:

      Yeah the GTard is strong in this one.


      I would never rely on any Google app being there for long outside of maps and Google search. I guess youtube but they did not invent that just smartly bought it at the right time.


      I use Chrome and CANT wait for the chromium version of Edge to finally ditch Google Chrome forever.

  3. Avatar

    Darekmeridian

    Is it possible they want to push manufactures to build the functionality into their devices?



  4. Avatar

    david.thunderbird

    Hummmm, gooGle today fooGle tomorrow.

  5. Avatar

    Patrick3D

    They obviously want you to use a Google Home device so they can siphon more data and profit off of your personal life. Adding cameras to everything will be next so they can record your face to push marketing to you in public.

  6. Avatar

    IanYates82

    Still $59 in Australia according to that website. Hard to rely on their prices though.. Whilst they say $79 for a home mini, I bought a 2-pack a few months ago for $99, then just before Xmas I bought one for $49, and last week aldi had a 2-pack on sale for $69. All the while, buying from Google directly, or from a major retailer here, was still $79.


    Unfortunately chromecast audio never got a lot of mindshare here so I've not seen it discounted, or even for sale at all, in many places. Will keep an eye out though for it.


    My guess is that they are getting the assistant embedded in more hardware, and they'd also rather you buy their own smart speaker.

    A smart TV is much too much to ask in terms of impulse buys so we will still see chromecast for the future at least.

  7. Avatar

    jgraebner

    I have several of these around the house and have found it to be a good solution, although I've also noticed that some aspects of the implementation are pretty half-hearted. It doesn't appear possible to cast to them from a laptop and they only work so-so with the Google Home. With the latter, I've found that asking to cast something to a Chromecast Audio pretty frequently gives a "that device doesn't support video" response even when it should be able to figure out you are asking for music.


    I wonder if they have a replacement product coming soon. Amazon sells a similar device that has a microphone and brings Alexa to any speaker. A similar product would be kind of a no-brainer as a Chromecast Audio replacement.

  8. Avatar

    jimchamplin

    At Bed Bath and Beyond where I work, we haven’t had them in stock for months, and haven’t been able to order them. They can be ordered for home delivery but store stock can’t be replenished.


    I was starting to wonder if this was coming.

  9. Avatar

    glenn8878

    You're buying yesterday's solution. Tomorrow, Google will come up with something better to make you forget why you bought it in the first place.


    I bought a wireless headphone to use with my television set when my kid was a baby so I won't wake them up. This wireless headphone never worked well. I wasted my money. So I just hooked up some wires with a stereo adapter to a wired headphone. It worked well; however, I grew tired of using it after a few months. Years later, I just bought a Roku Ultra for $50 (black friday) with an audio headphone port in the remote control. I got it for free since I never bought the Roku Ultra for this feature. You wait long enough and you'll get the audio feature for free.

  10. Avatar

    saturn

    This is what Google does all the time though and it’s one of a few reasons I use very few Google products. Google discontinues something because Google doesn’t see a need to keep it available or to keep working on it. They have an aggressive budget it seems for projects where the second it doesn’t make at least a certain amount of money or has a certain amount of users, they kill it. I don’t think I’d ever use Chromecast audio as I see no need for it but I understand some people get a benefit from it.

  11. Avatar

    Alain Sylvestre

    I use it for connecting my sound system with it. It work. Very easy to setup.Just do what it supposed to do nothing fancy. I am sad.

  12. Avatar

    robmille

    I can't make heads or tails of why Google starts or kills any of their hardware lines. they seem to start them for any particular reason or business purpose, and then cancel them w/o any real satisfactory explanation. Pixels are the best phone on the market, but I have no idea why they keep making them w/o any marketing or concern for selling them. The Home devices I at least get that they have a purpose of getting the Assistant into homes. There's definitely nothing keeping them in any of the hardware businesses, and keeps all hardware in a perpetual classic sword of damocles conundrum (try to untangle that mixed metaphor at your own risk).

  13. Avatar

    jholbrook385

    I work for a certain big box technology retailer, and based on my experience it probably comes down to the face that they simply aren't big sellers.

  14. Avatar

    Vladimir Carli

    The reason is probably that it doesn’t have a mic and doesn’t feed their data hunger. Hopefully they will replace it with something similar with an integrated assistant. Google is the devil and it’s products should be avoided at all costs... they let me down already too many times...

    v.

  15. Avatar

    Tony Barrett

    Quite surprised by this, but with the proliferation of Google Assistant and smart speakers, maybe they have a small point. For turning dumb speakers into smart ones though - just for music, the CC Audio is incredible. I have four of them, and use them all regularly. Multi-room audio, which used to be really expensive, is now just a couple of CC Audio's away. Might be worth picking up a couple more - just in case.

  16. Avatar

    marshalltm

    I think they felt like they they got lapped by the echo input, similar form factor but better capabilities (and similar price). https://www.pcmag.com/review/365447/amazon-echo-input


    i am guessing the product re-emerges as a Google version of the echo imput

  17. Avatar

    ivarh

    This is yet another example why i am moving off google services whenever i find good alternatives. I don’t trust they will keep them around. Lastly i replaced g.suite with fastmail.

  18. Avatar

    Davor Radman

    Well, regular chromecast contains audio as well, for a small upsell? Or does it not?

  19. Avatar

    zorb56

    Just a money grab to get you to buy their speakers instead.

  20. Avatar

    BBoileau

    Google just pulled a Microsoft move. Pissed.

  21. Avatar

    nicholas_kathrein

    I use it as well and it's great. I think it's lack of sales but lets be honest. No one really knows about it so it's not purchased. For a normal person it might be hard to understand it. I'd like to buy a few extra as backups but they are sold out.

  22. Avatar

    slerched

    Why. Because it didn't sell. The end.


    Paul uses it so everyone must? I'm kidding because I have 2 and got them when they were cheap. But it's the same problem. No one knows they exist. No one really understood what it did. Hell I tried to convince my brother to buy 2 because it would perfect for his use case. He just couldn't understand how it worked so instead they'll buy expensive smart speakers. His wife also needs to understand how it works which is even harder to overcome.


  23. Avatar

    mikeharris123

    It's a niche market, but for those with good speakers and stereo amp (with no HDMI input) they have taken a good option away.

    I have a couple that I don't use now, but keep them for when I have a use.


    Not everyone wants an always listening device that they speak to and those have lost a good option.

  24. Avatar

    mevco

    Perhaps with Googles push on getting their assistant on other products like Sonos, this is a an appeasement to those vendors.

  25. Avatar

    RonH

    This makes no sense

  26. Avatar

    coreyp

    "Popular Google product gets axed"

    Color me surprised

  27. Avatar

    j_c

    Simplest and most likely explanation is that it doesn't sell. That is why it is down to $15.


    Other than gMail, Maps and Search I have given up on Google consumer facing things. They have such a short attention span.

  28. Avatar

    Skolvikings

    I just use an inexpensive Bluetooth dongle to connect to shelf speakers.

  29. Avatar

    rmlounsbury

    Well, that $99 on those dumb speakers could have gone towards a smart Google Speaker if they didn't offer that inexpensive dongle darn it.


    I was planning on rolling out this very solution myself. So much for that strategy.

  30. Avatar

    StevenLayton

    Still £30 in the UK. Damn the complexities of international marketing!

  31. Avatar

    truerock2

    So, in my not normal world... which I know is different from many other peoples' worlds...

    Everyone is on to their second pair of wireless AirPods because people can't think of anything else that a person might want for their birthday or Christmas or whatever. I see a few homes getting their second Apple HomePod because - they kind of run out of ideas of what to buy next. I think the idea was to put the second HomePod in a different room - but, some people are turning their entertainment systems into stereo using 2 HomePods (why? - because they can?).


    This is all a little weird - because almost everyone I know has picked up a few different Bluetooth soundbars at Costco, Target, BestBuy or where-ever - for a few hundred bucks. Now there is so much audio conectivity in some homes its starting to get a little weird. Every time I go to make a phone call about 8 Bluetooth audio devices show up for me to use.


    Throw in the Internet-of-Things connectivity situations and it is all getting overwhelming.


    My wife and son each have their own Bluetooth vinyl-record turntables (because they can't share?). They want me to connect them to our HomePod (we don't own 2 HomePods - yet). And, the only reason I bought the 1st HomePod was because it was on sale for $100 off. At the present the turntables connect to various Samsung soundbars and a Jawbone and some other things I can't think of.


  32. Avatar

    Nic

    And they are out of stock

    B and H audio still have them - you can get them for $15 each (up to 2, after that they are $35) https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1198065-REG/google_ga3a00147_a14_z01_chromecast_audio_black.html

  33. Avatar

    Mulderjoe

    I bought four during cyber monday. Glad i did.

  34. Avatar

    timothyhuber

    I agree this is crazy. Perhaps this is another best kept secret that doesn't sell enough to justify ongoing manufacturing.


    We have several sets of decent speakers set up with good stereo separation using Chromecast Audio. Without this dongle there is no reasonably priced alternative that isn't a single unit. Google Home Max is crazy expensive, too large to be unobstrusive, and to do a stereo pair is twice the price. I picked up the Insignia speakers with Google Assistant for our bedroom and it support stereo pairing but they are not what I would call high quality.


    Anyway, I waited a couple hours to order from when I first read about this and the Google store ran out of stock while I was checking out. Same thing with B&H. I did find them for $15 at Staples, however. I ordered a couple to be delivered to my local store, so no shipping charges.


    https://www.staples.com/Google-Chromecast-Audio/product_1924438?akamai-feo=off


  35. Avatar

    panjjj

    Perhaps, Paul, they want to sell more of their own speakers and want to encourage vendors using Google supported speakers to sell new product and not have an inexpensive (relatively) option that keeps consumers with their old speakers/audio equipment?

  36. Avatar

    jrickel96

    I doubt this is a moneymaker for Google and they likely don't sell a ton. BT speakers are all over, audio systems can link through BT (my soundbar does). They may have seen an initial strong interest, but those most likely to buy probably already have. If there's no volume appear in the market then you end the product.


    Google has been trimming a lot of products and refocusing a bit. That's wise on their part. Their per ad revenue has been falling and they've had a lot of unsuccessful products that they've kept afloat due to massive profits from one avenue. They can stick it out for awhile to see if something really catches fire, but if not I expect them to bail.


    I don't think the audio side has ever seen the success of the bigger Chromecast.

  37. Avatar

    mattbg

    Disappointed. It's a very useful product.


    I'm tempted to buy more but won't because I would not be surprised if they simply stopped working one day, or if the apps that I use begin to disregard it or cease testing compatibility with it.


    I do wonder if it's related to poor sales. I have mentioned the product to a couple of people looking for exactly what it provides and they seem confused by it.


    Or maybe they just want anything that provides audio going forward to be full duplex so that it can send data back to the mothership and/or support the "connected home". It'd be nice if they could at least put an audio output on a Google Home Mini if that's the game.

  38. Avatar

    MCimino

    This is crazy. Had to search to find one as they are selling out quick all over. Found one at Office Depot. I have had the Edifier R1280T speakers sitting in my Amazon cart for a few days waiting to buy. At $15 its worth buying anyway even if I don't get the speakers. Either way I can just gift it to my kids.

  39. Avatar

    jeffcoffee

    Google's store showed sold out, i was able to pick up 2 of them at Target for $15 each

  40. Avatar

    Daekar

    Another Google product bites the dust.


    Anyone who invests heavily in the products from Google is crazy. They're like the opposite of steady and dependable.

  41. Avatar

    Polycrastinator

    Out of stock at Google already, which is a shame: I was about to buy a couple at that price. I'm right with you, I have a couple of these around the house and they're great, but it seems like as a product it never really took off.

  42. Avatar

    Rycott

    They'd rather you throw them coin for their speakers than less coin for a dongle would be my guess.

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