On Wednesday Google gave us insight as to the future of the Chromecast, their tiny HDMI dongle that gives any standard TV (with a HDMI port) the ability to become something more than just a television. Despite unveiling Android TV, Google aren’t forgetting about the Chromecast, in fact they’re continuing to improve the Chromecast to make it a much better device.
The first announcement that Google made on Wednesday is that the Chromecast will no longer require you to be connected to the same WiFi network in order for friends and family to cast to your TV which will give you control over who can and can’t cast to your device. It’s been revealed that the Chromecast will do this by broadcasting an ultrasonic sound to communicate with devices instead of the standard WiFi connectivity.
But don’t worry, the sound is completely inaudible to humans, whether or not it’ll wind your dog or cat up is another question. Presumably it’ll only broadcast when you ask it too, so hopefully it won’t drive our pets too insane.
Next up Google revealed that they’ve worked on bringing more in the way of customisation to the Chromecast’s ambient idle backdrop by giving you the option to choose what type of things the Chromecast displays on its backdrops. There’s even the option to use your own media library to create what can only be described as the largest digital picture frame in the home. Google currently have only a few categories of backdrops such as Art, Places and Lifestyle.
What’s more, with Android L, you’ll be able to explore in more detail the backdrops that your Chromecast displays just by asking Google what’s currently on your Chromecast.
Probably one of the most requested features for the Chromecast is the ability to stream what’s on your Android device, on your Chromecast, and thankfully that’ll be coming real soon. At Google I/O, they gave us a brief demo of screen mirroring on the Chromecast, browsing through the app drawer, checking out the home screen, and even opening up and mirroring the phone’s camera onto the big screen. Presumably you’d be able to play games too if you’re network is good enough.
At the moment Screen Mirroring is in beta and will be introduced first to the following list of devices:
- HTC One M7
- LG G2
- LG G2 Pro
- Nexus 4
- Nexus 5
- Nexus 7 (2013)
- Nexus 10
- Samsung Galaxy Note3
- Samsung Galaxy S4
- Samsung Galaxy S5
Finally Google unveiled that you’ll soon be able to find Chromecast compatible apps much easier when they eventually launch a new discovery system which allows you to browse through Chromecast compatible apps as well as applying filters so you can find exactly what you want that’ll be available across Android, iOS, and Chrome devices. This will come in the form of a Chromecast App Store on Google Play, and is expected “later this year.”
Most, if not all of these features will be coming to the Chromecast in the coming months, so be sure to keep an eye out for updates.