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chromecast

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Beware when buying third-party Google Assistant speakers and Smart Displays, updates and features are not equal

Another year, another category of Google-compatible products has flooded the market. A few years ago, it was the Chromecast, then it was the Google Home and Home Mini, and now it's the Google Home Hub. With every first-party release comes a slew of third-party alternatives, boasting the same features, same integrations, same functions, but with different designs and prices. On paper, they should be equal to Google's, but time and time again, we've learned that they're not.

Never though have the lines blurred as much as with the Home Hub and its Lenovo and JBL brethren. They look almost the same, both on the outside and in their interface, and Google pushed them earlier than its Home Hub, advertising them and talking about them as if they were its own.

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[Update: Google confirms not for 1st-gen] Chromecasts can now be added to Google Home speaker groups

One of the main benefits to Cast-powered speakers is they can be added into groups, using the Google Home app. This way, you can have the same music playing across multiple rooms without any latency. The feature used to be limited to Google Homes, Chromecast Audio units, and other Cast-enabled speakers — but now regular Chromecasts can be added as well.

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Google Black Friday sales begin: $200 off Pixel 3 XL, $50 off Home Hub, and much more

We've already detailed some of the best Google deals as we found out about them in the lead up to Black Friday, but now they've all gone live on the Google Store and at other retailers, so it's time for a comprehensive list of everything that's on offer.

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A year later, Amazon still won't sell Google Chromecasts because huge companies are hugely petty

Just about a year ago, we reported that Amazon would finally be selling Google's Chromecast after a more than two-year hiatus from the e-commerce giant's store. Three months later, it still couldn't be purchased. Now, a year (OK, 11 months) later, Amazon's listings for the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra still show as unavailable. This is as silly as it is unbelievably, comically petty.

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Target's Black Friday sale will include $50 off Google Home and Home Hub

Believe it or not, it's just two weeks and change until Thanksgiving — and more to the point, Black Friday. Target's ad is out, and the retailer has got some solid deals on Google goods: $50 off the Home and Home Hub, plus money off the Google Home Mini and both Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra.

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The 2nd-generation Chromecast is on clearance for just $11 at some Target locations

Google announced a refreshed Chromecast at its hardware event in New York earlier this month. That device is now on sale for $35, the same price as the previous model. The new version has replaced the old on the Google Store, and retailers are clearing their stock of the older generation — and some Target locations have it on clearance for as low as $10.64.

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3rd gen Chromecast launches in Germany and India, multi-room audio said to be coming to older models

The third-generation Chromecast was announced along with the Pixel 3, though it was introduced without much fanfare: a simple blog post was enough and there was no mention of it during the press conference. That makes sense because it doesn't differ a lot from the second-gen Chromecast, beside offering multi-room audio. Twelve countries were said to be having it at first, but two more just joined in: Germany and India.

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YouTube Kids support comes to Google Home, Cast TVs, and Smart Displays

Let's face it: some corners of YouTube are just plain disturbing. To save our children from seeing the dankest of memes before they're ready, YouTube Kids exists — a platform where you can set limits on what sort of content your little one can see, how long they can watch videos, and even whether or not they can use the search bar. Google is now broadening YouTube Kids' reach by expanding support to Google Assistant-enabled Smart Displays, Google Home, and Cast TVs.

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Google skips Android Things OS for the Home Hub, uses Chromecast-based software instead

All previous 'smart displays' with Google Assistant are nearly identical under the hood. They all run Android Things OS (a specialized version of Android for IoT devices) on top of a standardized hardware platform (like those from MediaTek and Qualcomm). Most people assumed that Google's own smart display, the recently-announced Home Hub, would use the same software and hardware. However, the Home Hub is something entirely different.

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Google reveals minor third-generation Chromecast update with multi-room audio support

Like much of Google's 2018 hardware, the arrival of a refreshed Chromecast was an open secret ahead of October 9th. The full details were hazy, though, leaving Chromecast fans with a little room for excitement. Unfortunately, the full reveal was less intriguing than the already minimal update most were expecting. 

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