As expected, Google is launching a new, more colorful Chromecast and updated app. It has improved hardware compared to the first-gen model, and that enables a cool software trick called Fast Play. This feature cuts down on the waiting when you want to watch something on your Chromecast by preloading in the background.

Google demoed Fast Play using Netflix. So right now, when you open the Netflix app and select a Chromecast, it has to reach out and connect, which can take about 10 seconds. With Fast Play, the Netflix app sees the Chromecast on the network and starts connecting before you even tap the button. That way, when you do select your Chromecast, it's already connected and the TV screen can instantly refresh.


In addition, Fast Play on the new Chromecast can begin buffering video before you press play. Just like the connection process above, when you do hit the button, the Chromecast is ready to go instantly. In the coming months, this feature will get smarter with the ability to predict what content you will want to watch and preload before you even select it. Google said more content providers will be adding support for Fast Play soon, and some will even be rolling out updates today.