Google sent a shockwave through the technology trade press with its announcement on Wednesday of Chromecast, a device that supposedly allows us to stream Web content from our phone/laptop/tablet directly to our TVs.
Google calls Chromecast “the easiest way to enjoy online video and music on your TV.”
Chromecast, a two-inch dongle that is like a USB drive you might plug into your laptop, that allows you to stream videos, music, and photos to your TV. All you have to do is plug the Chromecast into your TV, and then you can “cast” content from your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC to your TV.
It is plugged into your TV’s HDMI port, connects to your home Wi-Fi network, and acts as a gateway for the content on your mobile devices to be cast onto your TV.
Google feels very strongly that all of the devices you own should work with your TV. “We will not force you to have to use the same operating system (OS) on all of your devices,” Google TV Vice President, Mario Queiroz, said during the event.
Google, at the event on Wednesday, demonstrated what the Chromecast can do. According to the demos, Chromecast is basically a small stand alone computer that runs a cut-down version of Chrome OS for connecting to the TV and Wi-Fi to connect to your local network.
Your smartphone/tablet/laptop discovers the Chromecast on your local network, and then when you click “cast” on a compatible application, the web address of whatever you are watching is sent to the Chromecast.
Chromecast then fetches the content and displays it on your TV. This content can be a streaming video, a photo, a song, or a website.
Because the Chromecast is essentially a small, standalone computer, you can continue to use your smartphone/tablet/laptop after you cast something to your TV.
Also, because you are merely sending commands to Chromecast, rather than mirroring your screen, any number of devices can control Chromecast — and you can turn your devices off at any time without interfering with playback. As it stands, you can cast content from Android applications that have been updated to allow it (only first-party Google apps for now and Netflix), and the Chrome browser on iphone, ipad, Android, Windows, and Mac.
So what does work with the Chromecast? The device is new, so there are only a handful of partner applications so far, including YouTube, Google Play, Netflix and Chrome.
At the event, Google showed how you can instantly stream a YouTube video by simply pressing the cast button on YouTube application. Chromecast pulls the video from the website and plays it directly on your TV.
Users can also pass along their phone, tablet, or laptop to friends who can add more videos to your Chromecast queue. You can search on your device without disrupting what’s happening on the TV.
And, your phone does not have to remain on the YouTube app while it’s playing on your TV, either. You can check your Gmail, look something up on the Web, whatever you want. The content will continue to play on your TV uninterrupted. It will even continue to play while your phone is in sleep mode, so using Chromecast will not result in a drained battery.
Of course, the whole idea behind Chromecast is to use your device as a remote, so you’ll be able to skip, pause, and adjust the volume from your phone without having to unlock it each time.
As mentioned, as of now it only has access to YouTube, Google Play movies and TV shows, Netflix and Google Music.
However, Google has made its software developer kit available, so developers can add Chromecast integration in to their app. According to Jennifer Bergen of DigitalTrends, “We have a feeling that most companies will be adding Chromecast integration soon.” Chromecast is available immediately from the US Google Play store for $35, and since it has just been launched, it’s only available in the US for now. The international release comes up in a short while.
My MacBook Pro remains my favourite gadget— Yomi Vuitton
Kayode Abayomi, popularly known as Yomi Vuitton, is the CEO of Yomi Vuitton & OVOXO clothing label and one of the brains behind Poshhill Entertainment record label. He speaks on his favourite gadget and its usefulness.
What is your favourite gadget?
Aside the fact that I am a phone freak, my MacBook Pro remains my favourite electronic gadget. It is a line of Macintosh portable computers introduced by Apple Inc. It is a gadget that I really love to work with.
What do you use it for mainly?
It is used strictly for work. I can’t do without it in a day. It really makes my job easier. I always love to work with it.
What would you do to make it better?
Nothing serious to make it better; it is perfect for me. I hardly have problem with it.