What’s in a name change? A lot! The Google Cast app has been renamed to Google Home. This reframes everything that Google has been doing with Cast. You thought this was just about streaming audio and video from Android / Chrome to a screen? WRONG!
What Google is signalling is that the little Google Home device that looks like the Renuzit is about to exist under the same banner as every screen — mobile, laptop/desktop, or TV. Two of the three of these have embedded microphones. Soon, with Embedded Google Assistant SDK, tens of millions of devices with Google Cast enabled chipsets will be feeding data or will be the IO devices like Google Home. Connecting all of these will now be the Google Assistant.
This isn’t about home entertainment, this is about surrounding our home in devices that feed into Google Assistant. What music we’re playing, where we’re playing it, what times we’re at home, what we do when we’re home, how we interact with devices — Google hopes that the interaction will be so smooth that it’ll be a no brainer to embed the SDKs into hardware.
Being that Google has been working hard to solve the connectivity and content streaming issues for hardware makers, there’s an attractive argument for the maker to add Google Cast (and now Home) to their devices. Ultimately, for this integration to be viable for Google and sustainable in the long run, the information being collected needs to make its way to feeding us more useful and information ads. I’m curious to see how this change will affect the Embedded Google Assistant SDK, which is likely a direct competitor with Alexa Voice Service.
Perhaps Google’s long term strategy with this change is to make us a more captive audience to Google’s ad stream.