Apple AirPlay gets a new competitor in Google Cast

Google takes on AirPlay with Cast. Photo: Google

Google takes on AirPlay with Cast. Photo: Google

Google today announced a new Apple AirPlay competitor called Google Cast, which lets you stream audio from a whole bunch of popular apps to Cast-compatible speakers. The search giant has teamed up with a number of popular services for its launch, including Pandora, Rdio, and NPR One.

Google’s hugely popular Chromecast is proof that the company knows how to make a wireless streaming platform work, so it’s not too surprising to see it expanding into audio with Cast. But this time around, you’ll need more than just an inexpensive dongle you plug into your TV.

Cast will be available in a range of speakers, sound bars, and receivers, the first of which will hit the market this spring in the U.S., The Verge reports. Once you have one of those things, streaming to them is as easy as it is with video — just hit the Cast button inside your favorite audio apps and select your speaker.

Sony, LG, and HEOS by Denon will launch the first Cast-compatible speakers, but Google says more companies will be be throwing their offerings into the mix throughout the year.

Cast is also compatible with Google’s own Play Music service — as you would expect — but one notable omission from its initial lineup is Spotify, the world’s most popular music streaming service, which does support AirPlay. It’s still early days, though; we’re likely to see Spotify signing up as Cast becomes more popular.

And don’t worry about having to buy new speakers for every platform you use; Sony and Denon have both confirmed that their Cast-compatible speakers will support AirPlay, too.