Amazon has just made it easier to stream music from your smartphone to an Amazon Echo or another Alexa-enabled speaker, with Alexa Cast. It is technically the same as Google's Chromecast - a product that just celebrated its fifth anniversary this week. With Alexa Cast, you will now see a new button within the Amazon Music app, that looks similar to the Chromecast button - what looks like a WiFi signal turned on its side and a box around it - from there you can select which Alexa speaker you want to stream the music to, and you're all set. So if you don't want to ask Alexa to play specific music, you can still browse for it on your smartphone and then play it on your preferred Alexa speaker.
Currently, Amazon only has Alexa Cast available for its Music service, and the company has not yet said whether it plans on adding support for more apps and services in the future - like Spotify, Apple Music and so forth. So for now, Alexa Cast is a way to stream your Amazon Music to an Alexa speaker, and no other content, which is unfortunate, but this was just announced today, so it'll likely evolve in the coming weeks and months.
Alexa has continually gotten updates and new features since Amazon debuted the assistant nearly four years ago. It went from something that Amazon had no idea what to do with, or what the end goal was, to something that is in virtually everyone's home and on everyone's smartphone. Alexa is able to do all sorts of things from answering questions, making calls, sending texts, playing music and just about everything in between. Now Amazon did this a bit backwards, releasing Alexa Cast after its personal assistant, whereas Google did it the other way around. But Amazon did need to have its speakers in households before it could actually debut Alexa Cast, so it makes sense.