27 Comments

Summary:

Don’t worry, Google isn’t purposefully squashing apps that support local streaming on Chromecast.

Chromecast doesn't have a remote control or an app store - which may make it the most radical smart TV solution yet.

There’s certainly been a lot of hoopla over whether Google has oversold the capabilities of its low-cost streaming dongle, the Chromecast. In its initial debut, Google mentioned that the Chromecast would be able to support apps that deal in local media — homemade pictures and video — in the same vein as Apple TV. When the feature wasn’t present on the device at launch, developer Koushik Dutta created AllCast to bridge the gap. But this weekend, Dutta posted on Google+ that Google nerfed the app and punted it from Google Play.

What gives?

Swapnil Bhartiya of AndroidSutra reached out to Google, and reports that he received a thorough statement from the company:

“We’re excited to bring more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content. It’s still early days for the Google Cast SDK, which we just released in developer preview for early development and testing only. We expect that the SDK will continue to change before we launch out of developer preview, and want to provide a great experience for users and developers before making the SDK and additional apps more broadly available.”

It seems that Google isn’t keen on blocking apps that facilitate local content streaming — the company has just decided to keep the SDK under wraps until it is ready. Developers have rushed to create apps for the technology while it remains in beta, so it’s not too much of a stretch to consider that some changes to the firmware would make apps like AllCast go dark.

While it’s still a bit of a pain for those looking to stream local content without having to wait, the formalized SDK could hint at bigger opportunities to open up Chromecast. If Google is a good sport about making Chromecast as open as possible, then the technology (especially at its current price) has the opportunity to blow anything out of the water. And, if the enthusiasm from developers in any indication, there’s going to be a rich app environment in due time.

So, unfortunately, it’ll be a bit before you’ll be able to seamlessly port your own media to your TV. But that doesn’t mean that Google is vengefully sealing off apps that don’t meet its overall aims. So calm down — you’ll get your local content streaming and maybe even some extra goodies to boot. You’ll just have to be patient and wait along with the rest of us.

This article has been updated to clarify Google’s position on apps that facilitate local media streaming.

  1. Cheryl Lawson Tuesday, August 27, 2013

    Chromecast does exactly what Google said it would do. I am confident that, in time, it will do more.

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  2. Google bought Motorola, after the company demonstrated that it would promise whatever customers wanted to sell a product, only to turn it’s back on them after they had the customers money in hand, reminded me of promises made during President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

    http://www.supportmymoto.com
    #motofail

    In light of that, I’ll wait until they fulfill the promise before I give them my money again.

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  3. Yea, just believe Google will do the right thing…. they aren’t at all evil.

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  4. The real problem with this Chromecast device is that it has no 5Ghz Wi-Fi support and with what the 2.4Ghz spectrum looks like now it will be very hard to get the some real streaming support without a major amount of caching somewhere in the chain of things.

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  5. This is incorrect.

    The exact Google word Google used is like:” would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content.”

    That’s meaningless, not even a promise. They could always back out of it by saying that they liked to do it, but their content partners wouldn’t allow this.

    The real reason of potential local streaming is to scare content owners to join the platform and in return Google will block local streaming.

    Btw I hope some journalist ask Google about this in an inconclusive way, say they couldn’t weasel their way out.

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  6. Lauren, you are clearly a subpar journalist. Google never promised the local content feature and they still have not promised it, only saying “would like”. The app you keep erroneously referring to is called AIRCAST, not ALLCAST. Please inform yourself before you presume to inform others, and please stop trying to sound hip by using “nerfed” and “punted”.

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    1. Lauren Hockenson Thursday, August 29, 2013

      Jake,

      I appreciate your comment, but perhaps you should check your facts before questioning mine. If you had read Koushik’s actual work, you would have seen that he changed the name of the app from Aircast to Allcast while in beta (https://plus.google.com/110558071969009568835/posts/ZeHgRXS6AZs). As the developer chooses to call it Allcast and he changed his Google Play listing to reflect such, I wrote it that way.

      Second, I’m aware that local content streaming is not a proprietary technology from Google, and I have not said anything in the article above to indicate such. There was an app for it, but Google didn’t choose to block it directly out of spite — it’s an SDK change. Based on the company’s statement, Google is not interested in blocking those apps from Google Play.

      Given the openness of Google’s app support in general, I highly doubt that any one agreement is going to prevent local casting apps from making it to the Play Store. Unless Google comes right out and says, “We hate them and we’re blocking them,” and they do, this story continues to remain correct.

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      1. Lauren Hockenson Thursday, August 29, 2013

        For clarity’s sake, I’ve amended pieces of the story to reflect Google’s more nuanced approach to its app store and the Chromecast’s capabilities.

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      2. Isaiah Gilliland Wednesday, September 4, 2013

        Don’t pay attention to them Lauren. This was a great level headed article. There’s just a very vocal group on the internet that likes to attack anything Google, as well as an opposite group that supports everything. Don’t listen to the extremists.

        Hey idiots, before you get your panties in a bunch, do some research on your own! Koushik Dutta who created the app didn’t even use an official SDK when making Allcast. In fact what he did was hack the chromecast protocols himself to get the app working.

        Here’s his post stating it, https://plus.google.com/u/0/110558071969009568835/posts/G3jF2JynLc2

        It wasn’t a wrong thing he did by the way, he just reverse engineered it. But there is no surprise whatsoever that his app stopped working. He took a risk in creating his own channel to make the app work on a device that’s *still in development*. That it might stop working eventually as work on the chromecast sdk and protocol continued is completely within reason and a non-issue.

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  7. Totally misleading article. Shame on you. Due diligence?

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    1. Yep. Typical tactic terrible journalists use to achieve page views.

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  8. The Chromecast does not appear to stream stock quotes, news feeds or blog posts. Those pages must be reloaded to see the updates on your TV. Anyone else have that issue?

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  9. Streams local content fine for me. Open Chrome browser, open your file, cast. Works great.

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    1. Brilliant!!! Don’t know why I had’t thought of that!

      Works great!!

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  10. The Chomecast device is advertised as being able to “send anything on the web to your TV.” What a LIE!. All is does is Netflix and You Tube. I can’t see my iMovie videos or Vimeo (which is SO much better than You Tube.) I saw this device as an alternative to buying a physical cable, but it sure ain’t. You can even turn off your iPad and the video you started will continue on your TV. All this device is, is another way to view Netflix and You Tube through an HDMI port. BFD.

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    1. https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/2998338?hl=en

      have you tried the chromecast extension for chrome? It can send everything, but it is more than just youtube and netflix

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      1. That is totally UGLY, the tab does not size properly, graphics look horrible, went through the entire white listing process but the Chrome casting extension is not very good at all, the documentation is incomplete, mixed up and reads like stereo instructions from 1970

        I would much prefer to use my own in house extension so I can control what and how data is displayed, including the resolution and developer options.

        So far this is nothing but an expensive USB stick with 10 dollars worth of plastic .

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