Thanks for engaging with our community! You probably won’t find much of use from my reply beyond perhaps some use cases.
Personally I’ve fallen down the Google Assistant / Home / Chromecast hole, though I’m pretty happy. I do have an old radio I tried to set up as a GA and speaker I could stream to but gave up on the project for now as there is no way I’ve found so far (haven’t looked recently) to make it work like a full up Google Home speaker or as a Chromecast receiver.
Controlling and managing media has never been a huge concern of mine. I have almost none of it integrated with OH. About all I need is the ability to say “Hey Google, play J. S. Bach’s Wachet Auf on main floor group” and have it actually play it (most of the time). We pay for a streaming audio service so with that and the Chromecasts we are set.
Setting up speaker groups is important for us though. Last week when we did a “clean all the things!” session, we had all the speakers and TVs in the house blasting out some cleaning music. It was pretty cool actually. Usually we have the speakers in groups by floor and on each floor there is at least one higher quality speaker we can use if we want to listen to higher quality audio than the Home Hub or Home minis can produce.
I do have the Chromecast binding installed so I can tell when the little one is messing with one of the Google speakers and make sure something he shouldn’t be accessing makes it through the parental filters. But beyond that I’m happy.
I’ve no experience with Squeezebox yet. I just haven’t had the need though I have been intrigued by all the cool stuff I’ve seen people do with Mark’s binding. I’ve a lot of past experience with DNLA but it’s just enough more of a pain to lose out compared to Chromecast. Bluetooth only works for one speaker at a time, and it’s even more of a pain than DNLA. For our family, ease of use wins out over lots of other parameters like flexibility or quality of the audio.
We don’t even create playlists for the most part. We mostly just seed a randomized radio station and let it play.