Today, Amazon announced a new feature for its lineup of smart speakers called Alexa Cast. With the feature, you can cast music from your iOS or Android phone to your Alexa-enabled devices such as an Echo, third-party gadget, or Fire tablet. Right now, the feature’s pretty limited since it only works with Amazon Music, but the company says it plans to further develop the feature and expand support in the future.
If this feature sounds familiar to you, that’s because it is. Essentially what Amazon has done here is build its own version of Google Cast, Google’s way of sending content to devices like a Google Home or Chromecast. It follows the same principals in which you hit a button, select the device to cast to, and watch/listen to your content play itself back. Obviously, Google Cast can play a lot more content than just music, but it probably won’t be long before Alexa Cast catches up and starts casting Stranger Things to a Fire TV.
That being said, even though it’s clear Amazon is copying Google, it’s still a convenient feature to have. Instead of relying on voice commands or a Bluetooth connection to manually play music, having a cast button to instantly stream music to your speaker is a nice touch. Users of Amazon Music will see the button pop up later today in the “Now Playing” screen of the app as long as you’re on Android or iOS.