Not too long ago, Google began offering users the chance to test unfinished Chromecast firmware. The first preview firmware, version 1.21.72444, began rolling out to users recently. Google's release notes for the update only state, "General bug fixes and stability improvements." Really helpful, Google.
Thankfully, tipster Rafael sent us the screenshots above and below. They indicate that all references to the word 'Chrome' have been removed. The current public firmware shows the Chrome logo when the device starts up, which is now replaced by a Google logo. Read More
It's a bit difficult to get excited over updates to presentation software. But the latest Google Slides update brings a new feature that should have been implemented ages ago - remote control with Android Wear devices. Google Slides has supported streaming presentations to Chromecasts for a while now, but you have always had to control the show from your phone (or your laptop, if using the web version).
The latest Google Slides update installs a companion app on your Android Wear device. When you start casting a presentation, a notification appears on your watch that opens the Wear app. The top of the UI shows the time you have spent on the current slide, the orange bar indicates how far along you are in the presentation, and the bottom shows a preview of the next slide. Read More
Google has been testing Cast support in Hangouts for over a year, with the most recent sighting back in July. The feature never rolled out widely or was officially acknowledged by Google, until now. Casting directly to Hangouts is coming to everyone soon thanks to full Google Cast integration with Chrome on the desktop. Read More
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