Remember Chromecast's "Fast Play" feature? Well, some of it is out there in the wild now: for example, apps now can be pre-fetched by the Chromecast when they're loaded on your phone (this works for all Chromecasts). But the one feature a lot of people were looking forward to - video prefetching, aka Content Prediction - still isn't released.
Content Prediction is one piece of the larger Fast Play puzzle, but it's an important one. Content Prediction lets the Chromecast start to buffer a video before you even press the play or Cast button on your smartphone, with the idea that the video will start playing, essentially, instantaneously once you start it. Read More
Google has offered the Cast SDK to developers in some capacity for three years, but there have long been some annoyances that made it difficult to implement and maintain in certain apps. Cast SDK v3.0 was announced at I/O 2016 last month, and now it's available to developers. This version of the SDK seeks to simplify several elements of the old one to make developers' lives a little easier. Read More
You know how you still don't have Google Fiber in your area, even after offering to relinquish your immortal soul to Google? Well, there's about to be yet another reason to be sad about that. Google is preparing to add Cast support to all existing Google Fiber TV boxes. However, there are some weird restrictions. Read More
The Google Cast app doesn't get much attention these days. It's the type of software that remains installed on our phones, but rarely opened since it is rarely needed any time other than to set up Wi-Fi on a Chromecast. Otherwise, it stays out of the way and doesn't need a lot of updates. Still, a seemingly minor version bump occurred last week and it might be giving away a couple of pretty interesting details about future plans for our favorite streaming dongles.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (application packages) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
Chromecast Audio is a very simple product, and that’s probably the best thing about it from a consumer’s standpoint. You plug it in to power and then into an audio output source like an A/V receiver or a powered speaker. The Chromecast Audio supports either standard stereo audio cables or optical via a mini-digital connector. From there, just open the Chromecast app and get the device set up on your Wi-Fi network. That’s it - you’re done.
Now, any cast-enabled device within a reasonable proximity of the Chromecast Audio can tell it to play audio, regardless of whether it is on your Wi-Fi network, just like Chromecast. Read More
Google Photos may have started as a part of Google+, but since splitting into a standalone product, it has to move quickly to introduce new features and improvements to keep users engaged. The latest update to v1.5 didn't bring any visible changes to the app, but it does include evidence of some interesting changes we can look forward to in upcoming releases. Read More
YouTube updates have been rolling out about every week or two for the last couple of months. Most of the changes haven't been very big, but they're polishing up little aspects of the app in notable ways. The latest version bump doesn't bring significant modifications, either, but it's continuing the trend of small but visible changes. A permanent Cast button has been placed in the action bar and there are updated icons in the privacy selector for uploads. A quick teardown also reveals that we might finally be able to choose to download just the audio track for offline playback, which should make it much easier to store music for the road. Read More
Toddlers deserve teardowns too! Ok, maybe teardowns are still for grownups, but let's do something for those little ones that haven't learned to read xml yet. The YouTube Kids app has only been available since late February, so it's fair to expect a lot of changes and new features in each release. Last week's update brought immersive mode and better voice search, but a look inside revealed that there are some extra toys in the future. To begin with, it looks like Chromecast support is right around the corner. However, the really cool addition appears to be a built-in recording mode to capture your little one singing along to The Wheels On The Bus. Read More
Update Wednesday came and went this week, leaving us with about a dozen new and updated apps. Project Fi and Google Connectivity Services were added to the Play Store in preparation for Google's first MVNO customers, and new versions were rolled out to bring Quick Reply to Messenger and prepare Google+ for the wide release of Collections. A small bump to Google Play Music also made the list, but there wasn't much in the way of visible changes. However, a look inside suggests there may soon be a new behavior when two or more devices try to use the same Chromecast at once.
: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence.
Google has done a spectacular job of improving and adding features to Chromecast. The low-cost streaming dongle continues to get better, even as it starts to close in on its 2nd birthday. The latest change makes it possible for Chromecast to receive commands from a TV remote, but it may not work on a lot of older televisions. This means users can finally enjoy the convenience of pausing and resuming with the push of a physical button without first turning on the casting device.
This is possible through the use of HDMI-CEC, the protocol that allows multiple devices on an HDMI chain to communicate between each other. Read More