Google recently released Chromecast Audio, a variant of its Chromecast for audio. The device turns your \u2018dumb\u2019 speakers into \u2018smart\u2019 speakers by taking them online.\n\nDo you need one?\n\nI love music and if I could, I would install speakers everywhere -- office, living room, bedroom, kitchen, and back patio. The bigger challenge is bringing music to these speakers. Sometimes you want to install them in way that keeps them out of sight. But hiding speakers creates the connectivity problem: How are you going to plug your iPhone or Android devices to those speakers? And even if you do connect them, the wire restricts usage of the mobile device.\n\n\nI resorted to buying Bluetooth enabled speakers, but one of the biggest problems with BT speakers is pairing and unpairing. In most cases you can pair only with one device and then it\u2019s quite unintuitive to switch between devices.\n\n\nA neater option is to get inexpensive receivers that support wireless technologies like AirPlay. And that\u2019s what Chromecast Audio does.\n\n \n\nChromecast Audio sitting on my desk.\n\n\n\nSetting up the device is extremely easy; just plug in the power cable and connect it with speakers through the 3.5mm port. Once connected you can easily stream music from services that support Chromecast Audio.\n\n\nUnlike Bluetooth speakers you can enable guest mode and then anyone within the wireless network can play music through Chromecast Audio without hassle.\n\nThe drawback\n\nThe biggest problem with Chromecast Audio is that it's exclusively cloud based. Google\u2019s own apps like Music won\u2019t play songs that are stored on your device\u2019s hard drive.\n\n\nIf you are on devices like iPhone or iPad then you can\u2019t \u2018stream\u2019 content from Apple Music or Apple Movies app. I was not able to \u2018stream\u2019 any music from Amazon Music, Apple Music or other such sources.\n\n\nOne workaround on Android devices, for unsupported services, is that you use the \u2018Cast\u2019 button from settings and \u2018stream\u2019 any audio coming out of your devices. However that won\u2019t work with iOS and probably some Android devices as well.\n\nThe Verdict\n\nIf you live inside Google\u2019s bubble and all of your content is on cloud, then Chromecast Audio is the best thing to do. It\u2019s not a great solution if you have a heterogenous environment at home.\n\n\nI bought one because it\u2019s cheap. So my suggestion is if you do want wireless playback capability, then get one. At $35 it doesn\u2019t hurt to have one sitting around.