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Summary:

Google is working on bringing AirPlay-like functionality to its Google TV platform. The company will bring second-screen features developed for its Nexus Q music streaming device to Google TV devices, and developers will be able to make use of them for their apps as well.

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Google will bring AirPlay-like functionality to its Google TV platform, allowing users to play and control media directly from their Android tablet or handset, GigaOM has learned. The functionality will first be available via Google’s YouTube app, but the company wants to eventually open it up to third-party app developers as well.

There have been numerous attempts to turn mobile phones and tablets into remote controls, capable of flinging content straight from the second screen to the TV, but Apple’s AirPlay has so far proven to be most successful: AirPlay users can beam content from many apps straight to an Apple TV or any AirPlay-certified speakers. However, users need to have an iOS device to make use of AirPlay.

Google now wants to offer Android owners similar features, and it has been testing out some of that functionality in the wild: The Nexus Q, Google’s recently-launched music streaming device, already features a “play on” button that makes it possible to switch the audio output of the Google Music app from any Android mobile device to a Nexus Q on the same network. The same functionality is also available within YouTube and for movies and TV shows purchased or rented from Google Play.

This “play on” button will also come to Google TV in the coming months. I was first told about these plans by Google TV VP of Product Management Mario Queiroz during a conversation at the company’s I/O developer conference, and have since learned a few more interesting details.

Check out AirPlay-like media playback on the Nexus Q in our video review of the device, or continue reading below.

I’ve since been told that Google TV users will definitely be able to use this to play YouTube videos soon. There’s no word on support for other Google apps yet, but the company wants to eventually make it available to third-party developers as well. That means that developers of media apps like doubleTwist or SnagFilms would be able to add a “play on” button to their own apps and in turn enable their users to beam content to Google TV devices.

Google has increasingly been focusing on a better second-screen experience for Google TV. The company put a big emphasis on second-screen apps at Google I/O, and app makers like Peel have been making use of Google’s second-screen protocols to directly control Google TV devices from within their apps. However, to date, developers still have to individually link their app to a Google TV device within the same network – a somewhat tedious process that can in some cases involve manually entering IP addresses.

With the new functionality, this linking process is presumably done on the system level or through a separate Google app, just as it is the case with the Nexus Q. That would mean that consumers just have to link their mobile device to their Google TV once, after which the functionality would be available to any app that makes use of it. This kind of simplicity has been key to AirPlay’s success on iOS.

AirPlay-like functionality could also help Google to make more content available on Google TV. Media services like Spotify wouldn’t have to build a TV-specific app optimized for a 10-foot experience, but could instead just use their subscribers’ mobile phones or tablets to stream their content to any Google TV device.

  1. Brent Leasure Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    Headline reads: Google TV will get it’s own version of Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung.

    1. Only if Samsung creates an identical icon, calls it airplay, and steals patents for its software… which no doubt it will.

  2. Please checkout our PlayTo app for Android if you want similar functionality and do not have a Google TV – we can target about a 1000 devices (with DLNA support) and Apple TV with access to 100+ streaming sites.

  3. 0wordpresssocial Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    Plex for Google TV already does this far better than Airplay ever could, I dont understand why Google dont just buy Plex already instead of trying to copy apple.

  4. Am I the only one who wants these to be separate? Tablet for browsing and stuff while I watch TV, not for streaming stuff 5 feet away.

    1. lol I think you’re the only one Bob !

    2. well my issue is i may want to watch a tv episode that i cant get on TV anymore but it only on their website.
      Googletv browser is block from viewing it here, but i can from my tablet or computer so if i can get it to send the video to googletv my issue would be resolved

  5. Before Airplay there was, and is, DLNA, a more restrictive version of UPnP.
    The big advantage DLNA has is that it is an open standard and lots of devices support it. It also supports more codecs which means less transcoding.

  6. Come on, did you check this week’s Vizio Co-Star pre-order?
    It has DNLA which is far better than a proprietary feature or an application restricted synch.
    The Co-Star is the real first device to TOP Apple’s TV. It has been out of pre-order within 12 hours, and now its being available for pre-order again, but without the free shipping.
    Check it out: http://www.vizio.com/costar/overview/

    1. How would I play Hulu plus on the Vizio Co-Star?

    2. DLNA has two distinct issues:
      (1) CE Device makers have chosen to build too many variations and without the respect for compatibility with others products.
      (2) It is TOO slow, 10 yrs old mechanism!

    3. Terrence Martineau Tal Friday, July 27, 2012

      It’s the workflow of DLNA that sucks… with airPlay you’re watching anything on your iOS device (audio, video, web page, game… anything) and with one click you’re watching it on your TV.. with DLNA it’s not that seamless and adhoc.. and the streaming of game and web video is not even possible because DLNA does not support screen mirroring…

      since DLNA doesn’t support screen mirroring so forget about streaming HULU or web video to your TV via DLNA… that’s the BIG fail of DLNA… with airPlay ANYTHING on the web… ANYTHING… can be streamed to an airPlay receiver.. not so with DLNA..

  7. Maybe Google realized that having unlimited choice is not in the consumer’s best interest. A little bit of history that appears to be paralleling today’s events:

    * Before the iPod there were MP3 players (from about 20 companies) – DLNA has been around for over 10 years, why has it not caught on with consumers?

    * Before iTunes there were WinAmp, Real, WMA, and many others – All the other players accomodated more formats, had more features, and were in general better players than the 1st iTunes but iTunes made the rip-store-play process simple. – In the GooglePlat store there are a few hundred players and streamers – the average consumers has no idea what to do with all of these and most don’t work together.

    Maybe DLNA is better, maybe there are streamers and players that have more feature and work better than Apple but if the mainstream consumer cannot figure it out in 5 minutes then they will not buy it and you will loose the market to whomever does it better in the eyes of the consumer.

    1. Exactly….

  8. Ok please explain like I’m 9.

    How do I wirelessly mirror content (including flash videos on the web) from my laptop to my GoogleTV (Sony Blu Ray player)? How would Plex accomplish this?

  9. Terrence Martineau Friday, July 27, 2012

    Janko… you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how a Nexus Q works!

    in that setup the mobile Android device IS NOT streaming to the Nexus Q… the mobile Android device is simply directing the Nexus Q to stream the Google Play media directly from the internet.. this is a fundamental difference… in AirPLay, the iOS device is actually streaming the media to the AirPlay receiver…

    for Google to recreate full airPlay like behaviour they could not mimic how the nexus q currently works with android mobile devices… for example with googles current setup you wouldn’t be able to do screen mirroring from the android device.. and show a game or app, or photos that you have on your android device on the nexus q… with the nexus q only the stuff in google’s cloud is available to be shown on the nexus q… it’s incredibly limited because of the way they have done it.. also, media owner have block google TV from directly accessing they media so no hulu, not HBO on the go, no first rate media etc.. but the stuff is available to play on iOS and because the iOS device can do screen mirroring anything can essentially be streamed to the AirPlay receiver..

  10. GoogleTV’s YouTube has had ‘leanback’ mode for ages, and the Android app ‘YouTube Remote’ has existed for ages to use it.
    So how is this news?

    Airplay is different, it mirrors the phone’s screen over wifi so e.g. games appear on the big screen.

    Disappointed by this article on a tech site helping to confuse the matter.

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