As promised at this year’s I/O conference, Google is silently rolling out a Bluetooth streaming feature for Home. Users are starting to see an option for “Paired Bluetooth devices” under Device Settings in the Google Home app. The new feature comes with the new system firmware update version 90387. Home was previously only able to support streaming audio from Chromecast using Wi-Fi, but with the new upgrade, users only need a Bluetooth connection.
Catching Up To Amazon One Feature at a Time
The omission of Bluetooth streaming wasn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but it was another differentiating feature that Amazon could offer consumers that Google could not. It also limited users to Home’s officially supported music apps, like Google Play Music, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn, all which Alexa also supports. This also gives Google a way to keep Apple Music and Sirius subscribers content with Apple’s HomePod speaker due out this December and the recent launch of the SiriusXM Alexa skill.
But Bluetooth was just one of many features promised by Google at its I/O conference this spring. It still has to release features like notification update and hands-free calling, both of which Alexa is capable of. Google’s strategy appears to be quality over quantity when it comes to features, and maybe that strategy will work. Amazon has rolled out features without fully considering the user experience (call blocking anyone?) while Google Home’s multi-user support feature worked beautifully the first time. It also gives Google the advantage of learning from Amazon’s mistakes. Slow and steady could win this race.