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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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The new Chromecast is already up for sale at a UK retailer

Google is expected to announce a refreshed Chromecast at its hardware event in New York today, but it seems a UK retailer got its timing a little off. Very, online purveyor of clothes, furniture, and electronics, is already selling the new model.

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What to expect from Google's launch event tomorrow

Google's yearly hardware event is nearly upon us. In this day and age, there are always bits of information leaked ahead of official announcements, but this event is completely different. Google has been as leaky as the Titanic over the past few months, so there's a good chance there aren't any surprises left.

If you've been living under a rock this whole time, or you haven't been able to keep track of all the leaks, we've summarized everything we know about the products Google will (probably) announce tomorrow.

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[Update: 'Coming soon' on Google Store] Best Buy is already stocking the unannounced third-generation Chromecast

Best Buy has a tendency of stocking products well before they are released, and it seems that has happened again. Last month, an updated Chromecast with Bluetooth and (possibly) improved Wi-Fi reception was certified by the FCC. Now someone was actually able to buy one from their local Best Buy.

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Google 'Smart TV Kit' with Home Mini and next-gen Chromecast gets leaked

Over the past year, Google has been adding more Assistant functionality to the Chromecast. You can ask your Google Home to play a movie on your TV or see who's at the door, and the result appears on your TV. Google has already been selling the Chromecast and Home Mini in a bundle, but now the package is being renamed to the 'Smart TV Kit.'

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Google Podcasts finally starts rolling out Cast support

Google Podcasts received a fair amount of criticism at launch for a variety of valid reasons, but the biggest issues stemmed from a lack of support across Google's ecosystem. The app, somewhat absurdly, launched without proper Android Auto or Cast support — and offered little else to recommend it, including no option for creating podcast playlists. Now, after addressing the Android Auto issue, the app is beginning to roll out support for Cast.

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More Assistant-triggered visualizations are coming to Chromecast, plus per-device casting defaults for Google Home

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.

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Upcoming Chromecast refresh will have Bluetooth and improved Wi-Fi reception

The second-generation Chromecast, which is still the current model, was released in 2015. There hasn't been much of a need for hardware refreshes, especially since the original model still works just fine. It was already known that Google was working on a refreshed model, but now additional details from FCC documents are available.

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Google's Chromecast is five years old today [Update: Chromecast history from Google]


Can you believe it's already been five years since Google finally got living room streaming right? The company spent years toiling on doomed products like Google TV and Nexus Q, and it was this little $35 dongle that did the trick. Today, there are newer, faster Chromecasts and a myriad of other devices with cast functionality included. It all started with that first unassuming dongle.

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