If there's one Google complaint we've received regularly recently, it's in regard to the new casting control notification which started appearing on devices as part of a Play Services update in early November. Namely, the problem is that the notification goes to every Android device on your network. It's a well-intentioned feature, but one which results in a horrible user experience for a number of reasons. Specifically:

  1. People are naturally inclined to dismiss notifications they don't recognize or want (something I'm sure Google agrees with!)
  2. People tend to accidentally hit buttons
  3. People are jerks

Number one: Listen, just because you gave Uncle Steve the Wi-Fi password so he doesn't use up all of his gee-bees during his holiday visit this year doesn't mean you were also interested in giving him authority over your casting controls that he does not understand. And yes, you could set up a guest Wi-Fi network to prevent this, but the vast majority of people don't - that's just reality. And really, what are you going to do, give him the Wi-Fi password then cast something so you can disable the notifications on his phone? Come on. You'd have to do this for every new device you allow on your home network, and that's just not practical.

Number two: Let's say Uncle Steve is a butterfingers, tapping around on his phone like his thumbs are a couple of drunk figure skaters. Even if he didn't mean to pause your annual holiday Die Hard viewing, it doesn't make it any less obnoxious when he interrupts you right during the good part even though he's 20 feet away upstairs in your guest bathroom doing god knows what.

Number three: Maybe Uncle Steve is just kind of, well, a jerk. Maybe he delights in disrupting your Die Hard ritual because he's a still-cool-58-year-old trying to let you know he's with it, scout/champ/sport/buddy/kiddo. And maybe that's because Uncle Steve found the Fireball you forgot you had from that one time someone convinced you there was an amazing Fireball shot recipe you had to try. And you did try it: once. That Fireball. Anyway, Uncle Steve is now giggling like an 8-year-old in sex ed as he pauses the Hans and McClane scene for like the twelfth time and you're starting to wonder why this damn notification - and Fireball - even exist.

Stop enabling the Uncle Steves of the world, Google. The casting control notification should be for the originating device, and maybe we could have some kind of system where you could set up authorization for controls to other devices on the network (after all, parents probably do want the ability to pause their kids' casting if they need to). The current situation is a mess, though, and ninety-nine times out of a hundred, just ends up causing confusion and frustration when someone accidentally or unknowingly kills your cast when they hit the big, happy "X" button on that notification. Or they start messing with mute and pause. Regardless: Putting a cast notification on every device on the network was just not a good idea. Let's roll it back a bit.

(As some of you may note, cast notifications can be disabled on a per-device basis, but this must be managed on each end device on the network, meaning you have to have access to all of these devices to disable the notification. Once disabled, though, it is at least a little obscure to find [Settings-> Google -> Google Cast]. Still, I think this is far too cumbersome a workaround, especially in a household with lots of devices or when letting guests on your network.)