No sooner did we figure out Google added support for private YouTube videos to the Chromecast, than live videos started working as well. We've been checking around and it looks like almost every live stream is working on the Chromecast, but only from a desktop web browser right now. The Android app still reports an incompatibility with live streams.
The Chromecast has been evolving rapidly over the last few months. After getting a final SDK and a whole boatload of new apps, Google has now added support for private YouTube videos. Yes, you can cast any private video you've got to the Chromecast. Embedded videos gained support back in February as well.
Google has updated its Chromecast support page to reflect the change in functionality. We've tested to make sure the new feature is live, and everything seems to be working as expected.
If you're waiting to stream sports over Chromecast here in the US, well, you're out of luck (no surprise there, really); if you're in the UK, however, BT Sport is the first to offer any kind of streaming sports over Chromecast. The app itself is essentially unchanged – BT Broadband customers get access to BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, and ESPN, all of which are now able to stream to the TV.
If you want a Chromecast, you probably already have one - that's kind of the point of pricing something in the range of an impulse purchase. The early supply issues have been worked out, new and updated apps with Chromecast support are practically flooding into the Play Store, and Google's tiny streamer has even made its way to Europe. But if you're an American who refuses to pay retail, you'll be glad to know that the Chromecast is once again on sale for $29.99 at both Amazon and Best Buy.
Occasionally, an OS update will bring around features that really change things. Android 3.0 brought the Android experience to tablets. 4.0 completely revamped the UI and added guidelines that made Android look cohesive for the first time. 4.4 added Svelte, which promised to seat Android comfortably on an even broader range of devices. We have reason to believe another one of those changes is right around the corner, and it's known internally as Hera.
In a bit of unexpected news, the Verge has just posted images and descriptions of Android TV, based on information provided to them by an unnamed source.
Android TV, according to the Verge, is Google's renewed bid for the living room, looking to put Google TV in the rear view mirror, and deliver content in a cohesive experience that users will actually want to do. It does this by focusing on being an entertainment platform, rather than making your TV function like a large tablet with a remote.
Chromecast support is becoming something of a fashion item: all the cool kids (or at least the cool media-focused Android apps) have it. The latest app to add support for Google's tiny streamer is Flixster, known for its up to date selection of movie trailers and tight integration with sister service Rotten Tomatoes. Notably, Flixster also supports the UltraViolet system, giving users an alternative to VUDU for their digital copy collection.
Google's Project Ara might be the very definition of a geek pipe dream: an idea that makes a lot of sense, but isn't quite possible with current technology, being made real with applied engineering and creativity. Even with Motorola being sold to Lenovo, the Ara modular phone project is still full speed ahead at the Googleplex under the new ATAP team. Dave Hakkens of Phonebloks, who presented a very similar concept back in September, was recently given a tour of ATAP's progress.
If you come across an embedded video online that isn't piped in from YouTube, odds are pretty good that it's running on JW Player. The HTML5 and Flash video player from this company is used on more than 2 million websites including Kickstarter, Electronic Arts, and ESPN. That's why it's kind of a big deal that JW Player is adding support for Chromecast.
It's hard not to be excited about the future of Google Now. It's already an incredibly powerful tool, on its way to being a do-anything personal assistant, and we've heard tell of even more functionality from bill pay reminders to inferred events entries to contact-based reminders.
Today, though, we've heard about something that many have asked for from Google Now for a long time now - actual timer functionality. Search may not be getting its own built-in timer, but it won't be side-stepping your request to set an alarm, either.