The connected home has been quickly evolving over the past couple of years. Google is clearly committed to the effort and continue to offer more Assistant features and smart home products like the Nest Hub Max that is set to release September 9th. One of the early products in this evolution was the Chromecast Audio. It was a fantastic little dongle that transformed your traditional speakers into cast-enabled smart speakers, but it never really caught on and Google discontinued the product earlier in February 2019. If you were a big fan of the Chromecast Audio like all of us here at Chrome Unboxed and have been patiently waiting for a replacement, you might be in luck.
Nest Mini could be the Chromecast Audio replacement
The rumored Nest Mini, which we suspect will be released at Google’s hardware event next month, might have a 3.5 mm audio jack and this is a big deal. This feature was included on the Gooogle Home Max and we have long wanted it on the smaller Google Home products. The audio jack will theoretically allow you to connect the Nest Mini to a larger speaker or speaker system that you already own, allowing Assistant responses and any audio to play through that speaker. Voilà – you again have an affordable product with Chromecast Audio functionality.
It is important to keep in mind the Chromecast Audio protocol has not gone anywhere throughout all of this. Sure, the specific Chromecast Audio hardware is no longer being produced by Google, but the underlying protocol is still around. Manufacturers are still producing smart speakers and smart displays, even high-end ones like the B&O Beosound Stage for the true audiophiles out there. These speakers with Chromecast built-in allow you to easily cast audio, but there are still many people out there with extensive home audio setups or Bluetooth speakers around the home/office that want to cast music to these existing speakers. The Nest Mini will be the perfect product that provides additional Assistant features alongside the same functionality of the Chromecast Audio.
Great move for Google
Google has been very focused on the Assistant and the inclusion of an audio jack on the Nest Mini will hopefully give you the best of both worlds while broadening the appeal of the Nest Mini to more users. Other competing products from Amazon have included an audio jack on their products for years and Google seems to have taken note. Assuming the Nest Mini is priced similarly to the Home Mini, this will be a great affordable option for those who want an Assistant product with better external audio from the speakers they already have in their home or office.