Rumors about Chrome OS running on a tiny HDMI stick started leaking out a few months ago, but we were all wrong about what it was going to be. The Chromecast is not a shrunken down Chromebox – it's not even really a Chrome OS device in the strictest sense. The Chromecast is Google's latest attempt to be invited into your living room. It also might be the first one to succeed.
Google is not good at TV – despite having more money and super-smart engineers than you can shake a remote control at, the company has always stumbled in the living room. Google TV was a good idea, but it's suffered from poor support and various bugs. The Nexus Q meanwhile was killed before it even launched once someone inside Google realized it should never have been made at all. But this...
You may have noticed that Google's shiny new Chromecast streaming gadget has suddenly become a bit popular. The combination of easy streaming and a cheap $35 price sticker has made the dongle a hot ticket, already backed up by three or four weeks on the Play Store, periodically sold out at Amazon and Best Buy, and selling for insane markups on eBay. Google has noticed too: according to a report by the LA Times, they've decided to end the Netflix promotional giveaway, which bundled three months of streaming video service (a $24 value) with the device.
Do you have a spare 64 minutes and a burning desire to analyze every second of Google's latest press event? Alternately, did you miss the livestream and Sundar Pichai's dulcet tones because a faulty alternator stranded you at a truck stop for two hours? Then you're in luck, and so am I! The full version of Google's July 24th event has been posted to YouTube for your viewing pleasure.
It's been less than a day since Google unveiled the Chromecast, and after both virtual and physical dashes to the store, it's worth pausing to see how the dust has settled. Many of us couldn't help ourselves and may have accidentally bought two as impulse buys, but there are bound to be some of you who needed a bit more time to come to a decision. Here's how the landscape looks.
Want to know how you're expected to connect your phones, tablets, and computers to that fancy Chromecast that's shipping in the mail? Simple, there's an app for that. Google has dropped dedicated software in the Play Store that configures all that Chromecast devices in your house, because I know there are a good number of you that have already ordered more than one.
The app will set up your Chromecast to work on your local network and give you an interface for managing its settings, such as changing the device's name or inputting a new WiFI password.
If you've ordered (or picked up) your Chromecast dongle and you're raring to start sharing content from your devices to your television, you can take one more step to get ready by downloading the official Google Cast extension.
Community Manager Moritz Tolxdorff posted to Google+ earlier this evening encouraging users to download the extension, which will allow the sharing of media and tabs straight from Chrome to a Chromecast-connected TV.
If you're looking for yet another place to get your new $35 Chromecast, give your local Best Buy a ring. At least one lucky fellow was able to successfully buy the device from a Best Buy in South Carolina. Calls placed to several stores would indicate that's not the only one. However, most stores are expecting stock to arrive in the next day or two.
Full-size Best Buy stores are getting 20-30 Chromecasts in the first batch – high-traffic stores may get an extra allotment.
Ready for your Chromecast but aren't down with the more-than-two-week wait to get it directly from the Play Store? No worries, Amazon will be your Huckleberry – it has the unit available now for $35, with no shipping costs, and you should have it in just a few days' time.
For those who may not have been around for the news, the Chromecast is an HDMI dongle that plugs into your TV and allows you to beam videos, movies, music, and more directly from your tablet, phone, laptop, or Chromebook Pixel.