Google is bringing several new features to Bluetooth enabled audio devices
Bluetooth-enabled hearables and other home audio devices have gathered great momentum in the past few years thanks to OEMs skimping out on the headphone jack on smartphones and the general increase in audio-only content like podcasts. There’s massive potential in this space, both for growth and for the technology to mature, and the growing interest from consumers and manufacturers is testimony to that. Google is now playing its part in the maturity of these product categories, as it has announced a range of new features for Bluetooth-enabled hearables and home audio devices that improves their utility within Google’s ecosystem.
Bluetooth Multipoint, but made by Google
Google is building a tech similar to Bluetooth’s multipoint, but for Chromebooks and Android devices. Google’s press release is sparse on details, but considering that Bluetooth Multipoint already exists and that the supported devices are going to be Chromebooks and Android devices, we suspect this is something that will leverage Google Play Services or some other proprietary solution.
“We’re building a technology for Bluetooth-enabled headphones that will enable them to automatically switch the audio to whatever device you’re listening to.”
Google says that this audio switching will work in situations where you are watching a movie on a different device, and receive a phone call on a second device, the movie will pause and the headphone audio will automatically switch to your Android phone and then switch back to the movie when you’re done. This sounds very similar to what can already be achieved with Bluetooth Multipoint, so we are indeed curious to see what new tech Google is building to achieve this. This feature will be made available on supported headphones in the next few months.
Google is also bringing Spatial Audio features to supported headphones when used with Android and ChromeOS devices. Spatial Audio adapts sound based on your head movements, positioning the audio in the space all around you.
Spatial Audio was a highlight feature for the Apple AirPods Max at its launch, and many attest to it being a more noticeable feature than lossless audio. This feature will be made available on supported headphones in the next few months, so we hopefully get to experience what the hype is all about.
Expanding Chromecast built-in to more speakers and soundbars
Chromecast is a nifty way to move playable content across devices. The most common use-cases for Chromecast have been sharing videos playing on Android phones to TVs with built-in Chromecast. But Chromecast is also useful for audio-only content as well, leveraging the speaker and soundbar ecosystem to more conveniently playback songs and audiobooks.
With this announcement, Google is bringing Chromecast built-in to more home audio brands, starting with all Bose smart speakers and soundbars in the next few months. We’re expecting more brands to be added to this budding list.