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.
Android TVs can finally be added to speaker groups — or, at least, they will be once the feature finishes rolling out more widely. First spotted over the weekend by the folks at Android TV Guide, the change allows at least some Android TV devices to be added to speaker groups in the Google Home app. And that's not the only change, you can also disable ongoing cast notifications for Android TV devices.
If you noticed a superfluous casting notification last night while watching content via Android TV, it turns out, that's a thing right now. Some folks are getting cast/Chromecast media control notifications on their phones when watching content in apps on their Android TV devices (including the Nvidia Shield), even when they aren't actually casting anything. Just turning on a show via Plex or Netflix via the Android TV app is triggering casting controls for some. But Google is already working on a fix.
The infamous Casting notification became a very controversial feature for many. It looked like a good idea when it first appeared, but quickly earned much hate as the notifications proved to be spammy in regular use. Google eventually rolled out an option to turn off notifications. If you haven't shunned these notifications, or you're willing to turn them back on, you can look forward to a new twist that makes it possible to tap on the notification to immediately open up an app as a remote control.
If there's one Google complaint we've received regularly recently, it's in regard to the new casting control notification which started appearing on devices as part of a Play Services update in early November. Namely, the problem is that the notification goes to every Android device on your network. It's a well-intentioned feature, but one which results in a horrible user experience for a number of reasons. Specifically:
People are naturally inclined to dismiss notifications they don't recognize or want (something I'm sure Google agrees with!)
People tend to accidentally hit buttons
People are jerks
Number one: Listen, just because you gave Uncle Steve the Wi-Fi password so he doesn't use up all of his gee-bees during his holiday visit this year doesn't mean you were also interested in giving him authority over your casting controls that he does not understand.