Google introduced dynamic audio grouping on the Nest Hub and other Assistant-enabled smart displays earlier this year. The feature allows devices to be added and removed from audio groups on the fly without needing to edit groups beforehand. This ability started rolling out in the Google Home app last week — and it enables a workaround that lets you cast videos to Chromecast devices while the audio plays on Nest speakers.
The new UI lets you easily create an audio group that combines Chromecast and Nest devices. Usually that's meant just for music. However, it looks like once a dynamic group has been created, it also shows up as a cast target in video-focused apps like YouTube and Disney+.
— Phil S 🇸🇭 (@Phil_S_UK) November 20, 2020
This allows for the ability to watch videos on Chromecast devices while the audio plays through Nest speakers paired in the group. The current success rate seems to vary — some say it works fine with videos cast from the YouTube app, but report wonky issues when casting from third-party services like Disney+.
While this isn't the home entertainment solution we've been waiting for from Google, this does seem like a solid step in that direction. Apple's new HomePod Mini speakers work together with Apple TV devices to create a full sound system, and I'm looking forward to the day when Google's products do the same thing. For now, this workaround offers a tantalizing taste of what is confirmed to be in store down the road.