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Google's Chromecast Gets a Makeover and Adds Voice Search, Chasing Roku, Amazon and Apple

There are now 20 million Chromecast devices out in the wild.

HBO

Google is adding a Google-y flourish to Chromecast, its media streaming dongle: Search.

At its hardware event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Google introduced two new models for the device and shared new sales figures — it has now shipped over 20 million of the devices. Google also introduced a Chromecast app packed with traits, including a featured content tab and voice search, designed to improve the ability to discover movies and TV shows with the device.

With the update, Google is late to the party. Roku’s competing streaming stick offers voice search, as does Amazon Fire TV. Apple rolled out the feature with Apple TV earlier this month.

Google’s option introduces more customization into the app, letting viewers more easily find information on content, like a trailer, and sort it by category. For media producers, the functions give them more paths to get their apps in front of eyeballs, a source of frustration with the streaming service.

 Chromecast app
Chromecast app
Google

Hiroshi Lockheimer, VP of Android, ChromeOS and Chromecast, rang in the new features in a post: “We’ve also updated the Chromecast app to make it easier for you to find great things to watch or to play, across the thousands of apps that work with Chromecast — whether you feel like browsing or want to search for a specific TV show or movie. If you don’t already have an app on your phone, we’ll suggest it for you — including mobile games that will work on your TV.”

It’s the latest turn in Google’s slapdash approach to media inside the home. Chromecast came out of its Google TV (now Android TV) efforts, which have had several fits and starts. Still, the device has sold well. Google has shipped three million since May, when it announced 17 million devices shipped at its developer conference. The company also announced it was bringing HBO Now to the streaming service. On Tuesday, Google announced that Showtime and the NFL Sunday Ticket were joining Chromecast.

The company also unveiled a Chromecast device for audio that plugs into speakers. Spotify is lending its support.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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