The Chromecast is a nice and easy way to send videos to a local TV, and you can't argue with the price. But right now it's limited to just a few apps streaming directly from existing video and music services. Bubblesoft, makers of the BubbleUPnP media server, are showing off features of an upcoming version that would make Chromecast a lot more useful: streaming nearly any file on your smartphone or cloud drive.
The development build of the BubbleUPnP local streaming app becomes a media source for the Chromecast, allowing it to connect to the phone (via a local WiFi network) instead of a web-hosted service like Netflix. The app can then serve up local media files in a variety of formats, or connect the Chromecast directly to a cloud storage service like Google Drive. This sort of functionality could expand the utility of the Chromecast by an appreciable margin.
Bubblesoft isn't the only developer testing out this sort of app. ClockworkMod developer Koushik "Koush" Dutta is already showing off concept apps for streaming from local files, Dropbox, and RSS feeds.
Unfortunately we're quite a way from seeing this kind of functionality come to BubbleUPnP or similar apps. At the moment Google isn't allowing distribution - the video demonstrations are using a preview API and whitelisted Chromecasts on a developer build. Google is waiting for a stabilized API before it allows devs to publish or update apps. But the SDK is already in the hands of app developers, so it's only a matter of time before we'll see this kind of expanded streaming hit the Chromecast. Nice going, guys.