Disney Plus is the latest streaming service to bring its complete library of movies and shows to smart displays that are part of Google’s ecosystem of products. This announcement from Google means that the House of Mouse will allow their content to be able to be watched quite easily on devices like the Nest Hub as well as the Nest Hub Max. This partnership extends to any other smart display that can utilize Google Assistant, which represents a significant amount of devices as well. This recent initiative also means that families will soon be able to stream the new season of The Mandalorian with the customary “Hey Google” command on their Google Assistant enabled devices.Read More »
A move towards simplicity
Of course, watching Disney Plus content on Google smart displays has been possible since the initial launch of the Disney Plus platform back in November 2019. This was of course possible with a Google Chromecast and a device that Disney Plus could cast from, but it could not be done directly from the smart display. This is another small yet significant step in the right direction for both companies, and it is a trend that is trying to bring simplicity to new users who don’t want to be overwhelmed by the simple act of streaming a movie.
Now, those who want to watch a Disney film can simply tell their Assistant enabled device what to play and then be able to easily pause, fast forward and navigate through the film with the touchscreen found on the smart display.
This will all be able to be implemented with a few simple actions from customers. A person simply has to link the Disney Plus account they wish to use to the app for either Google Home or Assistant. This useful new feature is now available in the United States and a dozen other countries around the world with more to come by the end of the year.
Disney Plus joins other popular services on Google Assistant smart displays
Disney Plus is not the first streaming service to offer the ability to watch content on Google’s various smart displays. Disney Plus’ biggest competitor, Netflix, beat the House of Mouse to the punch by offering some of the same features back in July. This marked the company’s first offering onto smart displays, but like Disney Plus could also have previously be used in tandem with Chromecast. The Netflix version also works with voice commands, and also has the ability to use the touchscreen to control playback. In addition, anyone watching a movie on Netflix can use the capabilities of the camera of the Next Hub Max to control playback by making specific motions.
Other popular streaming platforms like additional Google services such as YouTube and YouTube TV are also able to be used on these smart displays in a similar fashion. CBS All Access, Hulu, and Sling TV all have the basic ability to do many of the same things as these aforementioned services. The addition of Disney Plus to an already growing list of services is just the latest domino in the battle for customers this holiday season, and more services will most certainly follow suit.
These smart displays have already served as a place for those stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic to easily make video conference calls too. Google Meet and Zoom already have been integrated into these smart displays since this past summer.
Smart displays are consistently adding useful new services
In many ways, this movement represents a significant shift in how these products might be viewed by the average consumer. Up until fairly recently, smart displays have largely been marketed as tools to help in the kitchen, glorified photo albums, audio devices, and as a central device to control various utilities in the home. Now, they seem to be getting a few opportunities to do a bit more heavy lifting in becoming yet another screen to use with one of the numerous video-centric services. This accessibility and ease might in turn lead more people to more services and also to remain paid subscribers.
Google and Disney both benefit on the timing of the deal
This could not come at a much better time for both companies, but especially for Google since it will be hosting its yearly hardware event just next week. On the 30th, the search giant will announce a fairly significant update full of new products. There’s already a lot of speculation about what will be unveiled, but there will most certainly be hardware related to Google’s mobile devices, Home Speaker, Chromecast, and Google Nest, and that’s just for starters. Stay tuned for more specifics on these announcements over the next week.
Disney also gets yet another boost with this integration with Google right in time for the holiday season and it should help to cap off a productive first full year of its Disney Plus platform. It has largely been a success, even though it has only really had a few major hits with The Mandalorian, Hamilton, and most recently Mulan. An impressive 72.4 million users will be Disney Plus customers, according to a report by eMarketer and Business Insider Intelligence. This figure would put Disney Plus in a respectable fourth place and gaining quickly in the streaming wars with the help of initiatives like this one. This would give the House of Mouse a majority of ownership in 2 of the top 4 streaming services in the United States.
Finally, this is the kind of news that has the potential to scare competitors of the two enormous companies. As long as Google and Disney continue to play nice, they will be a formidable force in the entertainment and tech sector.
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