Back at I/O 2017, Google showed off what it called "contextual visual responses." Put simply, they were visual feedback for Assistant-based queries on your Chromecast. Earlier this year, we spotted the first of these in the wild for weather, and next up was YouTube. Now Google is revealing that even more of these visual results from the Assistant will be coming to Chromecasts. In related news, Google is now formalizing the announcement of a feature which landed last year, allowing you to set default media playback devices.
Google's Chromecast is a magical little device. For just around $30, you can stream content from hundreds (probably thousands) of apps, and of more mainstream services. From music to movies and TV shows, we can all gather around the old tubeless tube to see what's on. In my opinion, it's hands-down the best hardware product to come from Google, and it's permanently changed the way cord cutters consume content.
According to Google, the new visual responses will include things like sports scores and stocks, in addition to the existing weather trigger. Personalized answers via Voice Match with accompanying visual content are also incoming. And as before, it works without blocking (much) of your screen, so there's no need to interrupt that Star Trek binge.
On that last note, Google is also rehashing its preferred media playback/defaults feature that showed up last year. Previously it gave you the ability to set a default device to receive casted requests on a per-device basis (i.e., from a specific Google Home), but for some reason Google seems to want us to think it's new. As before, you can just say "Hey Google, Play Deep Space Nine (objectively and irrefutably the best Star Trek series)" and if you've set things up correctly, the kitchen speaker will know to pipe the request to the kitchen TV, rather than, say, the living room.
This is just one of the surprising volume of announcements to come from Google at this year's IFA, but given how much the inexpensive Chromecast has proliferated, it could be one of the most far-reaching.
The per-device media defaults seem to be an old feature, so far as we can tell, though this is the first time Google has formally announced them. It even had me fooled, for some reason I thought only blanket defaults could previously be set, but apparently, it's been around since last October.
Our coverage has been updated.