Google's cast-enabled devices, including the Chromecast and Google Home series of smart speakers, allow users to cast content directly onto the devices. This can be audio and video content, depending on the device in use, and uses Wi-Fi and Internet connectivity to function. Since 2014, there has been a feature called ‘Guest Mode' which allows visitors to your home to cast to devices without being connected to your Wi-Fi. It now seems that ‘Guest Mode' has disappeared for Google Home devices.
According to a new report by Android Police, ‘Guest Mode' for Google Home devices is no longer available. This means that guests and visitors will now have to be logged onto your Wi-Fi in order to cast to Google Home devices.
Earlier, ‘Guest Mode' allowed visitors to cast without logging onto the host's Wi-Fi network, instead using mobile data to send information which was directly streamed on the Google Home device through the home Wi-Fi connection. This is useful as it means the host does not need to share Wi-Fi details with everyone looking to cast, and only provide a PIN which the visitor can connect to - a feature that we'd expect would come in very handy during parties, or if you're particularly protective of your Wi-Fi details.
Interestingly, the report by Android Police states that the feature has only been deactivated for Google Home devices. Chromecast devices continue to support ‘Guest Mode' which can be activated or deactivated through the Google Home app on the smartphone of the device owner. It doesn't seem like a particularly large loss, and indeed very few people may have actually been using it on Google Home devices because of the complicated methods involved in using the feature.
If you were using ‘Guest Mode' on your Google Home device, the workarounds are simple enough. You can share your Wi-Fi details with the visitor and they'll be able to connect and cast normally, or use Bluetooth to allow visitors to connect to your Google Home and play audio the old-fashioned way.