Disney+ is Now Streaming on Google Assistant Smart Displays
Disney+ subscribers can now ask Google Assistant to open and search the streaming service directly on the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max smart displays. Users can start shows with a single voice request, for instance asking Google Assistant to start playing The Mandalorian on Disney+ and can use gesture controls as well as voice commands. The new integration streamlines the previous need to use Chromecast on another device and project onto the smart display.
The streaming service is rolling out only to a handful of countries at first, but Google is planning on adding Disney+ integration wherever the platform is available. Google’s blog mentions adding Disney+ to all “Google Assistant-enabled” smart displays, which could mean third-party devices, but the announcement only namechecks the Nest products. This arrives just a couple of months after Google added Netflix to its smart displays, and shares similar capabilities, except that Netflix allows users to browse content with the touchscreen, which can only pause and play content on Disney+, relying on voice and gesture controls otherwise.
Like the Netflix deal, nabbing Disney+ for Nest smart displays is potentially a major win for Google in its competition with other voice assistants. With Google Assistant recently hitting a 50,000 smart home device milestone, headline-grabbing features like Disney+ and Netflix could be useful for enticing people deciding what voice assistant to rely on as they build out their smart home.
“Disney+ is a one-of-a-kind experience that transcends generation,” Google strategic partner development manager Nandi Byer wrote in a blog post announcing the new feature. “Whether you’re indulging in nostalgia or experiencing a new generation of movies for the first time, Google now makes it easier than ever for everyone to enjoy Disney.”
Google bundled a few other Disney-related announcements into the news about Disney+. OtterBox partnered with Google and Disney to create a licensed, $20 custom base for Google Home and Nest Mini smart speakers that give the devices Mickey Mouse’s iconic ears and red suspenders, as seen above. Whether or not it is dressed for the occasion, Google Assistant can read new stories set in the world of Disney’s “Frozen 2” movie, narrated by one of the four main characters. The stories expand the catalog created by Google and Disney a couple of years ago, including music and sound effects during the read-along.
While Disney doesn’t limit its voice assistant partnership to Google Assistant, the Disney+ arrangement with Nest is unique. Amazon Fire TV includes Disney+ access, but it’s not a native voice integration for Alexa like the one Google Assistant now offers and doesn’t include direct control on Echo smart displays. Where Alexa does beat out Google Assistant is in offering a Disney Mickey Mouse Edition of the Echo Wall Clock, incorporating the voice assistant into the classic clock’s style. Alexa also scored a special behind-the-scenes peek at “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” ahead of the movie’s release last year, but in the age of COVID-19 lockdown, streaming service access is going to be a much stronger selling point.