Google Cast is one of those things that just seems to keep getting better, and with Chromecast sales doing so well, it's no wonder Google is throwing resources at the platform to make it even more robust. While not technically a part of Google I/O, Google did announce yesterday that some very awesome new Cast APIs are coming... right now. As in, they're here - for both iOS and Android.
There are a few major new features, so let's go over them.
The first is second-screen functionality. Casting graphically intensive apps from your device is no longer limited to simple mirroring - the new Cast Remote Display APIs (which are betas, so beware) will allow full-on second-screen functionality when casting something like a video game. For example, you could cast a game to your TV, and your phone would display a set of static control and heads-up display info instead of showing the actual game (which is an utter waste of resources and screen space). It's a bit like Xbox Smart Glass, in concept (I have no idea if it is functionally comparable, though).
Developers will obviously have to implement this on their own, and given the beta tag, who knows what performance is going to be like. But I think it's an absolutely necessary step for Cast, and I'm glad Google's doing it.
The next big ones are new APIs for autoplay and queuing. Developers can now control whether or not casted content will autoplay, and they can also queue up content if you cast multiple tracks or videos in succession (queuing also supports content preloading, cutting down on load times between content changes). Along with control of autoplay, these new APIs include things like repeat mode, skipping between items in a playlist, queue reordering, and the ability to show a preview of what item is next in the Cast queue.
Finally, there are the new Game Manager APIs. These new tools will let developers more easily sync game states across large numbers of players, using the cast receiver as the "hub" for keeping everyone in the game at the right place. Previously, developers kind of had to hack it here, so it's nice that Google is building a tool to make this easier for everybody.
- Google Developers Blog