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How to set up and use Chromecast Audio groups

One of the coolest features of Chromecast Audio and the Google Home app is the grouping setting. If you have multiple Chromecast Audio or Google Cast-ready speakers, you can set things up so that you can cast audio to specific devices while others stay silent. For me, this reason alone makes the Chromecast Audio the best solution for a complete home audio setup.

And doing it is easy. We love easy. But like many of the cool things Goggle lets us do, it's buried in the settings and it seems like nobody at Google PR is talking about it. No problem. We can talk about it instead!

For starters, you'll need to have at least two devices to do anything here, and they both need to be set up through the Google Home app. If you have the devices but haven't set them up yet, figure out where you'll put them and plug them in (one at a time) then look at your phone. Tap the notification and go through the setup process. It's easy, promise. At the end, make sure you sign into your Google account on each device if you want to cast Google Play Music or audio from YouTube. This will let you use any subscription services you might be paying for and help filter music based on your tastes if you are using a Google Home (also an audio Cast target!) and voice commands to cast from.

When you've got things setup, follow these three steps to make a group.

  • In the Google Home app, tap the devices button in the upper right corner.
  • Pick a device that you want in a group, then press the settings button (three vertical dots) in the upper right of its card and choose the Create group option.
  • Choose a name and the other devices you want in that group then press the save button.

Just like setting up the devices themselves, it helps to give things a descriptive name so you know what is what. If you are going to use Google Assistant (either through your phone, Google Home or NVIDIA Shield TV) make it a name you can say and one that Google will understand. Weird stuff isn't recognized very well and you can't always say some things, like when mom is visiting.

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When you want to cast music (from any valid Cast audio-enabled app) you can cast it to the group you named, and all the devices you picked will play at the same time. Any devices you didn't pick won't play anything. This is a great way to have music fill the places you are or have a podcast follow you from room to room so you don't miss anything. You can still cast to a single target, too — just pick it by name in the list of available devices or say it by name to Google Assistant.

A device can be in more than one group at a time or no groups at all. It's completely up to you.

Groups work with any device that's a valid audio Cast target. That means the Chromecast Audio as well as stand-alone Google Cast-ready speakers or other devices. It doesn't work with video devices, like a regular Chromecast, Android TV or Chromecast Ultra. Hopefully, Google enables a method that these devices can also play in a restricted audio-only mode so they can join the party. But as of now, they don't work.

If you have a house full of audio Cast-ready things, you owe it to yourself to set up a group or two and fill your life with sound.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I have multiple chrome cast devices and it is easy to set up groups. For example I have a group called "Everywhere" that includes all of the devices. I can simply say "Hey Google, play music everywhere" to play on all devices and they are all in sync.
  • Awesome. I just ordered s second cca, 2 surround systems on each level of my home will be the group. Can't wait
  • Will the make a group option only show up if you have multiple Chromecast audio devices or Cast-enabled speakers? If that's the case, I guess that's why I'm not seeing the make a group option because I have two video Chromecasts and one Chromecast audio on my network.
  • yes, thats correct
  • yes, that is correct.
  • that's not wrong.
  • I have two setup in a group (Living Room + Back Patio). It works most of the time though occasionally one chromecast won't play audio and I have to reboot the one that isn't working. I run into that when just casting to a single CC so I don't think it is anything to do with groups, just the unreliable nature of a chromecast. When it works it's great though and there are also options in the Home app to control volume of each chromecast individually and to tweak the audio sync (though I haven't found that is needed). At $30-35 per CCA, it is a good, cheap way to add whole-home audio.
  • I would love to use groups, but the audio only limitation is annoying. How simple would be to play the audio through the video cast with a blank screen or fireplace visualizer? I guess very simple
  • so simple you could do it?
  • Always seems simple to us but in reality much more too it....
  • "Hopefully, Google enables a method that these devices can also play in a restricted audio-only mode so they can join the party" - this will definitely a big plus and not sure why Google has not done it yet.
  • Got some Chromecast Audio's for Christmas and now I have my upstairs all done with a speaker in the bathroom and bedroom and an "upstairs" group for both. Good for getting ready in the morning and works really well. Trouble is it's made me want to do downstairs now.
  • I wish the regular cc could be grouped too.
  • I love the Chromecast audio. Has made me listening to music much more enjoyable. But would love Google to release a Chromecast Audio with Google Home built in.
  • Is there a way though to limit a speaker to only one audio channel? I.e. one speaker in the group would play the left channel, another one only the right channel of a stereo feed?
  • No
  • I wonder what the application of this would be for...
  • If you have the nvidia shield, you can get the Nvidia Spot when it is released. This will be like the Echo Dot, sort of, that just plugs into an outlet. Put multiple Spots in the home and it will use triangulation to determine your location.
  • I did not now about the triangulation which is cool. I don't have a Shield and although I've been thinking about one for Plex (local server) and now the spot option the $50 per spot is very expensive. Wish they at least had a discount on a pack or something like that. I imagine sooner or later Google will release a cheaper version of Google Home like a dot/spot....
  • Have not given this a try because I use Definitive Technology Play Fi
  • We don't need to hear about how you overpaid for some speaker system.
  • We don't need to hear how you like to troll people for their preferences.
  • Yes. we. do!
  • Google needs to address a better way to change the volumes of individual speakers in a group. First of all going into the Google Home app do so this sucks but searching through 15+ devices (or device groups) to get to the volume button is a headache! The have the perfect opportunity to address this and make is VERY quick and easy with the new casting notification. All they need to do is implement a button on that notification to open the volume controls for the active casting device or group but I'm guessing everyone at Google has a Sonos so they have no idea what a pain this is so no one does anything about it.
  • I just posted how happy I was with the group feature - but I do agree with you on this point - an easy to use volume control for each device would be really nice.
  • I made use of this feature during the Holidays and I have to say, it worked flawlessly. Even with hours of Christmas music cast over 4 Chromecast devices, never heard a loss of sync. Was really impressive. I have now setup another group of a couple of speakers that I listen to podcasts on - allows me to move from one room to another without needing to switch the casting of the podcast.
  • I just wish they'd allow audio grouping for their video sticks. Wanted to play youtube through my chromecast and group the audio output to my 2 chromecast audios hooked up to soundbars throughout my house, and to my Google Home in the kitchen. But you can't add normal chromecasts as part of a group (yet?!) so I had to play google play or youtube music through my phone
  • I've had groups set up since Google added the capability a few months ago, but recently have started getting multiple listings for my groups. I've tried deleting them and regrouping to no avail. It doesn't hurt anything; just looks messy.
  • Can you still use your Google Home a speaker in a group? Right now I have GH in the kitchen. My 15 x 15 living room creates an L shape with my kitchen and dining room. My house is a long raised ranch with my bedroom all the way to the "back" with a few rooms and a hallway between it and the kitchen. Unless my GH is playing above Level 6 (that's pretty loud), I can't really hear it in the back of the house (it can't really hear me either - making me think I should actually get a second unit for the bedroom). I'd like to have music playing on GH and also on speaker in the bedroom at the same time. That would pretty much cover my house. I guess the other real question is cost. Is it cheaper to buy a Chromecast Audio and a "low tech" but good sounding speaker that you can plug the CA into than it would be to buy one of Sony's WiFi speaks like the Sony SRS ZR5 ($199 most places). I'm inclined to think yes. Oh and ONE more question, can you plug a CA into the receiver connected to traditional wired speakers and cast music to that set up? Okay that's it. :)