Amazon and Google have a bit of a tense relationship. As both tech giants continue to grow, they’ve slowly grown apart, targeting each other’s projects as a way to take down their competition and to push their own projects. It started slowly, with Amazon first developing their own fork of Android and pushing for standard Android users to download the Amazon Appstore to gain access to Prime Video. As Google and Amazon continued to push into new product categories, it became clear that things were only getting messier. Google and Amazon started competing in the streaming game, with Amazon refusing to sell the Chromecast or Chromecast Ultra and instead offering users an Amazon Fire Stick or Roku device, and again refusing to carry the Google Home library of smart speakers.
Google retaliated throughout 2017, pulling YouTube from both the Echo Show (originally for breaking YouTube’s terms of service, then seemingly because Amazon won’t carry Google’s products) and the Fire Stick (quickly causing Amazon to use Firefox as a workaround). Amazon then promised in December to reinstate Google’s products to Amazon’s digital shelves, but nevertheless, it’s been four months and we’re still waiting to see Google’s products offered through Amazon again. And this is all without mentioning one of the least consumer-friendly things Amazon has done to combat Google: not add Chromecast support to the Prime Video app on Android, even after the company added it back to the Google Play Store last year.
All of this has been pretty consumer-hostile, with both companies trying to target each other while really only harming the people who use these devices each day. That might lead you to believe there’s no hope to use a service like Amazon Music with your Google devices, but on the contrary, Google Home users who also have a Prime subscription can rest easy. It’s actually really easy to use your free Prime Music subscription or your paid Amazon Music subscription with Google Home. The service is a competitor to Spotify and Google Play Music, but what makes it so appealing to consumers is obvious. Prime members get over two million streaming songs for free with their subscription, and Prime members get a reduced price to gain access to nearly 40 million songs, a library size similar to Spotify.
So whether you’re on the Prime’s free tier of music listening or you’ve upgraded to listen to Amazon’s full music catalog and save some cash over Spotify (not to mention to get all those Garth Brooks albums that are Amazon-exclusives), it’s actually pretty easy to listen to these songs on both your Google Home or Home Mini and your Chromecast or Chromecast Audio. Let’s take a look at how to do it.
Playing From Your Computer
Like with any other source of audio, you’re going to need to be using Chrome on your computer in order to stream to a Google device, whether it be a Google Home or a Chromecast Audio. If your computer can’t run Chrome for some reason, or you like to use another browser and refuse to use Chrome on your laptop, you’re probably out of luck. Fortunately, most people already use Chrome, which means this guide is pretty easy to follow through on. Here’s how it’s done.
Start by opening up a new tab in Chrome on your computer and navigating to the Amazon Music landing page here. Sign into your account if you have to, or wait for the web app to load on your display. The page is the same whether you have Amazon Prime Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, or you’ve just purchased MP3s through the Amazon store. No matter how you’ve obtained your music, the page you head to is the same.
Once you have that web player open on your computer inside Chrome, tap or click on the triple-dotted menu icon in the upper-right hand corner of your browser to open the Chrome menu. Move your cursor towards the bottom of the menu until you find the “Cast…” option, and click it. It’s important that you’re still on the tab that has Amazon’s music page open, otherwise this will not work.
Selecting “Cast…” will open a small window at the center-top of your browser that reads “Cast to” on a blue banner. This window will list every Cast-capable device on your network at the moment, including Chromecast and Chromecast Audio; Google Home, Home Mini, and Home Max devices; and any Cast-enabled speakers from third-party manufacturers like the ones you can find listed on this landing page. For this guide, we’ll be streaming to a Google Home Mini, but it’s the same steps for all devices listed here.
Find the name of your Google Home device on this list. If you only have one Cast-enabled device, it may be the only listing on your network. If your Google Home device isn’t appearing on this list, try cycling the WiFi on your computer on and off to reconnect to your Home speaker. You can also try to restart the Home device, either by unplugging it directly or by using the Restart option in the Google Home app on your smartphone or tablet. Once it appears on your list use your mouse or your touchscreen to select it. You should hear a jingle on your device, and the box displayed over your browser will read “Casting tab.”
Exit out of the box and find something to playback on your Google Home device. Make sure the volume on your Google Home speaker is set at a sensible level; you may accidentally blast some loud music by mistake without realizing it. Controlling the volume on your device can be done one of three ways:
- Use the volume control on your Google Home, Home Mini, or Home Max.
- Use the Cast controls by tapping or clicking on the Cast icon in the upper-right corner of your browser and using the slider in the dialogue box.
- In the upper-right hand corner of the Amazon Music display, you’ll find an option to control the volume inside Amazon itself. This slider will also allow you to control how loud or soft your volume is on your Google Home device.
Once you have your volume set at a solid rate, begin playing something from your library or one of Amazon’s own radio stations. Your browser will automatically push the audio from that tab (and that tab only) from your computer to your Google Home device, and you’ll hear your music begin to playback.
To control the music playback, you can use either the controls inside Chrome itself, the controls from the Cast option by tapping on that icon in the top-right corner of the display, or the Cast controls that appear on your phone’s notification tray (Android only) over your network. All three of these options will allow you to pause and resume playback, though if you want full control over your queue, playlist settings, and more, you’ll need to use the full browser controls inside the Amazon Music site.
Playing From Your Smartphone or Tablet (Android Only)
It can be pretty cumbersome using the desktop site on your laptop, Chromebook, or other computer to control the music playback through your house. Sure, streaming from your computer is the easiest way for anyone to get Amazon Music up and running on their Google Home speaker, but if you want to change the album playing or skip a song on one of Amazon’s radio stations, you’ll need to head back to your computer instead of controlling the playback right from the phone you keep on you. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to use the app on your phone to cast music right to your Google Home or Cast-enabled smart speaker, though there’s a catch: you’ll need an Android device to do it.
Back in November of 2017, in the midst of Google and Amazon’s continuing fight for dominance in their relationship, Amazon finally added Cast support to the Android version of its Music app, thus making Amazon Music the first Amazon app with full support for Chromecast. This means anyone with an Android phone or tablet can use the Amazon Music app to play their favorite songs, stations, playlists, and more right to their Google Home speaker.
To start, download the Amazon Music app from the Google Play Store here. Once it’s installed on your device, open the application on your phone and sign in with your Amazon account. If you have Amazon installed on your phone, you shouldn’t have to log in with your email and password; it should automatically sign you in.
From the main display inside the application, look for the Cast icon as pictured here . As with most audio and video apps on Android, it will appear in the upper-right hand corner of the display. It you don’t see the Cast icon, make sure that you’re connected to the same WiFi network as your Google Home or Chromecast device, and try cycling your WiFi off and on again on your phone to reconnect to the devices on your network.
Tap on the Cast icon to view a list of the supported devices on your network, including your Google Home, Home Mini, or Home Max speaker. Select the speaker you wish to cast to, and you’ll hear a jingle from the device after you’ve connected. Once you start playing music from the Android application, it’ll automatically begin play back on the Google Home speaker in your house. If you’re unsure before you begin playing whether you’re connected to your device, check the Cast icon in the application; it’ll appear filled in with a white color when you’re connected. If you haven’t been playing music for a while, you might see your phone or tablet disconnect from your speaker.
If you happen to have Amazon Music on an iPhone or an iPad, you’re out of luck. As of writing, the iOS app still doesn’t have support for Chromecast, which means it can’t stream to your Google Home speaker.
Playing Music With Voice Commands
Obviously, one of the main reasons to get a Google Home device is for its full support for Google Assistant. Assistant is one of the best AI-voice command options on the market right now, using the full power of Google’s knowledge database to allow for users to create reminders, schedule appointments, and more. Unsurprisingly, Google Assistant works best when you’re deep in Google’s ecosystem, using their own music apps to listen to music or calendar apps to make appointments and schedule dates. That doesn’t mean there’s a lack of third-party support, but in the case of Amazon Music, you won’t have the full power of Google Assistant. Let’s take a look at what you can do with voice commands while using Amazon Music.
First things first: while Google does allow for third-party apps to begin playback through Google Home by using the command “Play (song/artist) on (app name),” Amazon Music’s app lacks the support for this feature. So while you might be able to cast from some audio apps installed on your phone (again, assuming you’re using Android), asking Google to “Play “God’s Plan” by Drake on Amazon Music” will garner you a response of “Voice Actions aren’t available for that app.”
So what can you use your voice for on Amazon Music with Google Home? While Voice Actions might be disabled, voice commands—the standard, basic options for controlling playback—are still active. This is good for desktop and Android users alike, since it means less interaction with your device once you begin playback.
To start, follow either guide above to get music from Amazon playing back on your device. Doesn’t matter whether you use the desktop version (which is good for iOS users) or the Android version, just as long as you already have an album, playlist, or radio station playing on your phone.
With audio playing on your speaker, you can ask Google at any time to complete a number of basic commands for your music, which makes using both the mobile and desktop versions with your Google Home device a whole lot easier. Here’s the commands you can use with your smart speaker, activated at any time by saying “Hey Google”:
- Volume Up/Volume Down
Ultimately, it does feel a bit like a consolation prize when compared to the full support Amazon Music has when using an Amazon Echo device, but at the very least, basic voice support means you don’t have to be at your computer or constantly on your phone to control playback at a moment’s notice. Hopefully, more support for Amazon’s app comes down the line with Google Home, but with the state of Amazon and Google’s current relationship, we won’t hold our breath.
Despite a rocky relationship between Google and Amazon, Amazon Music happens to be a bright spot between the two companies. The app is one of the few areas where Amazon’s software works with Google’s hardware, a positive step for consumers of both companies. While the limitations implemented in using Amazon Music with Google Home, particularly when it comes to voice control, remains frustrating, we’ll take basic support for casting audio over a lack of total support for playback at all.
Hopefully 2018 sees an improvement between Amazon and Google on both hardware and software sides. We’d love to see full voice support for Amazon Music come to Google Home, but at the very least, we hope Amazon adds Cast support to the iOS version of the Amazon Music app to help out iOS users who own Google Home devices. If and when additional support for Amazon Music on Google Home arrives, we’ll make sure to update this guide with additional information.