One of the conveniences of using a Chromecast or a Cast-enabled speaker or TV is the ability to control playback from any device in the house (if you want). Starting a song from your phone and stopping it from your tablet, or asking your partner or roommate to do so while you're wrist-deep into a new banana bread recipe, are possible because of the casting notification that surfaces on all devices connected to the same network. That notification is getting a small but awesome quality-of-life improvement now thanks to new track controls.
Previously, the casting notification offered four buttons: play/pause, mute/unmute, stop, and settings (which let you disable the notification on other devices). If you wanted to rewind that awesome tune you just heard or skip to the next video on your TV, you couldn't do it straight away. You had to tap on the notification to open media controls in the Home app or open the originating app for the cast stream.
With the new notification, you get rewind and skip buttons on either side of the play/pause one. These buttons also persist in the notification's collapsed state. I can finally skip the tracks I don't feel like hearing on my Google Home's music alarm playlist without having to dig through menus with a half-open eye. The only loss is the settings button, but you can still disable the notification from the speaker or TV's settings inside the Home app.
And in case you're wondering, the notification is there for both music and videos. No more opening the YouTube, Netflix, or Plex apps if all you need are quick controls.
We've noticed the change on several Pixel devices running Android 11 across multiple countries. None of our Android 10 devices have it, but oddly, not all of our Pixels on Android 11 have it either. So we're not sure if it's limited to Android 11 or if the rollout is randomly server-side and we just happened to luck out on an inaccurate pattern. The notification is controlled by Google Play services, and I'm currently running v20.36.15 of that (APK Mirror) if that matters. To raise your odds of getting the new look, you might want to install that and see if it triggers it.