Did Google intentionally break third-party app support in latest Chromecast update? [UPDATE]


Google’s Chromecast has been quite the exciting device since it was announced at the company’s Nexus 7 announcement event weeks ago. It’s so exciting, in fact, that folks have had a tough time finding freely available stock at participating retail stores and in the Google Play Store. It was no surprise, then, that the development community embraced Chromecast and started creating interesting apps to use with it.

Chromecast Featured ready to cast

One of those apps was Koushik Dutta’s AirCast, an app that would allow you to play almost any media file on your device to your Chromecast. “Koush” explains this isn’t the first time this has happened, noting that Google disabled the original GoogleCastSample app that was essentially a default media player, of sorts (something the Chromecast doesn’t ship with).

Now, Google has disabled the API developers have been using to create third party apps (‘video_playback,’ in case you were wondering), leading him to believe Google is intentionally looking to create a walled garden, of sorts, for Chromecast content.

The policy seems to be a heavy handed approach, where only approved content will be played through the device. The Chromecast will probably not be indie developer friendly. The Google TV team will likely only whitelist media companies.

There’s no telling if this is Google’s true motivation. And even if it is, that doesn’t necessarily mean Google would look to stay the course forever. The only thing anyone can do for now is hope that the development community finds a workaround. Even still, Koush says buying a Chromecast at this point in time isn’t the greatest of ideas (unless, of course, you’re perfectly happy with the functionality Google currently provides).

UPDATE: Google has responded to concerns that they’re simply looking to block streaming from locally stored content. Looks like this was nothing more than a misunderstanding. In a statement issued to The Verge, Google said:

We’re excited to bring more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content. It’s still early days for the Google Cast SDK, which we just released in developer preview for early development and testing only. We expect that the SDK will continue to change before we launch out of developer preview, and want to provide a great experience for users and developers before making the SDK and additional apps more broadly available.

[via Google+]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. They are blocking apps that circumvent, being the key word, the official way apps are supposed to be on chromecast, Apps will go through approval, like App Store/Google TV. This is to try to keep quality higher. Koush can get his app on the device once the SDK is final and it goes through approval.

    1. “This is to try to keep quality higher.”

      And you know this how?

      1. I heard somewhere that Google has said as much. Keeping the quality higher on the Playstore by having more apps be officially certified i guess? To help crack down on malware and trash apps.

    2. Right, and if google says it, its got to be fact, they wouldn’t lie.

  2. I see this more as Google bending to the man. Media companies have a lot of money and don’t take kindly to things that make media easier to get, which seems dumb to you and me, but big media thinks differently.

    1. As much as I dislike major media company policies, people have time-and-again demonstrated that they don’t care about user freedom.

      Most people would rather confine themselves than learn or even read a sentence.

    2. What I can’t understand is that all the Google sympathizers keep saying, “Google can’t allow local content (photos/home movies) because it opens up for the possibility of users using it in a manner that breaks contracts Google has with the media companies”. This arguments seems null considering that Apple TV (and Xbox, PS3, Roku, etc) already does it, and more. Why would Google be the only company that is not allowed? … the argument just does not make sense. There is no way Google would allow the competition to have the upper hand on such an easy feature to implement. I’m still hanging onto the hope that Google has a plan to allow local content, more than likely through an updated official Gallery app.

      Though, it may be more about Google coercing users into sharing their meta data for targeted advertising by forcing users to upload their images to G+ and their videos to YouTube just to watch them on their TV. If so, then Google may have just mad a horrible move.

    3. It has nothing to do with that.

      If you look at the way Google “Blocked” it, they pretty much commented it out. If they were planning on just removing it, they would have removed the code completely. Instead they just have the code ignoring those bits.

      What is likely happening is, since this is a developer preview SDK and it hasn’t been released, Google is trying to lock down more signups for applications.

      Since all these other softwares use a workaround to avoid having to register with the SDK, it makes sense that Google would comment out these lines since it still isn’t part of the release SDK. I’m curious if the way Koush has it working with the whitelisted device through the SDK developer program still works. If it does, then it is likely a temporary block to prevent unauthorised 3rd party applications from doing this before Google has locked down the content deals.

  3. In other news, I have a ChromeCast for sale :) Anyone? lmao

    1. $20

    2. $25

  4. Magic Eight Ball says… “MAYBE”.

  5. Hmmn, my amazon Chromecast order is being delivered today :(

  6. If you want to stream your own content, there’s other devices like this for that.

    1. Yes, but for $35 and the ease of the chromecast, the chromecast is one of the best options.

      1. Except when you want to stream anything but Google-approved content. That was the whole point of the article.

        1. Yes, that may be the point but I was responding to those that say because of this the chromecast is not worth it. Plus, google responded already and said that they want to allow local content. I think they will do it on their own time which is good to hear. Plus koush and the developer community is working on a solution so in the end the $35 it costs minus those 3 months that some people got is worth the price.

    2. Yea I really don’t get this obsession with showing local media and pics. Maybe I’m looking at this from a cord-cutters view but I really don’t care that much about home movies and pics. I’m more interested in a cheap device that will let me play media from streaming services and the internet. Now I can basically get almost anything I can find online onto my TV app or not.

      1. I think it’s more wanting to cast pirated content, not home movies.

        1. I figured that’s gotta be half of the demand.

          1. majority of the demand

        2. Can you not already do that by simply dragging a local video onto a chrome tab and then using tab casting?

        3. What about those of us with DLNA servers set up? I have ripped my bluray collection to my DLNA server so that I have access to those files from around the house easily. If this means I can help get rid of my large Bulky HTPC that would be a plus since this is tiny and just plugs straight into the HDMI port. So far I have not been able to find out if the Chromecast will support DLNA or not.I know a number of android apps do and if they are allowed to push content to the chromecast that would be great.

    3. Like? (serious question, btw)

  7. How long should it take Google to greenlight the SDK? I mean they own the chromecast…shouldn’t it be quicker than what it has been?

    I’d be pissed if I can’t cast some of my own photos, video, or music…although I guess I could load the music into my google music.

    Right now the chromecast is very limited for those without netflix (raises hand), and even then there’s not much else it could do.

    It’s still a handy piece of tech…and at least it was only $35….

  8. Well, I already have one and a new one on the way; ebay it is.

  9. I’ve been using it with my HTC one and sending the highlight video reels of the family to the big screen and really enjoying that. I will miss that functionality and hope it returns.

  10. If only Google said “Hey Developers, this is just a preview SDK so don’t go releasing production apps for it” this whole mess could have been avoided….oh wait they did.

    1. Aircast just made the jump because the dev posted his APK on XDA Developers and the internet went crazy over it.

      I honestly don’t blame either the dev or Google for this. But it goes to show how much of a demand there is for this. I really don’t think Google planned on the Chromecast being as popular, or selling out as quickly as it did.

      That said the last update broke Chromecast for my Razr HD and I’m a little put out over it. It still works via my wife’s Nexus 7.

  11. like Eugene implied I can’t believe that any body able to get paid $5552 in a few weeks on the computer. did you look at this site w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

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