Chromecast got a bit of stage time at Google IO 2014 today, and Google had a lot of interesting new features to show off. For starters, a new Bump-esque feature will now allow your friends to cast content to your Chromecast without them having to connect to your WiFi network. It can be a bit cumbersome to have to ask your friend for their WiFi password and connect, so to be able to skip this step is sure to be a very welcome change.
Google has also vowed to allow you to use your Chromecast to make your TV the “biggest photo frame in your house.” They aim to do this with Backdrop, a feature that allows your Chromecast to display photos, information and more. Think of it as “Daydream,” except for your Chromecast. The Chromecast can show photos from your personal collection, art pieces from a list of art curated by Google, maps that are relevant to you, weather reports and more.
And you won’t ever need to question whatever is on your television. Want to know more about the artwork your Chromecast is showing? Just say “what’s on my Chromecast” in Google Search and it pulls up everything you need to know.
The next big feature is the ability to mirror anything you’re doing on your Android phone directly to your Chromecast. This is a feature developers have been trying to implement in their third party apps, and it’s nice to know that it will now be built into Chromecast and Android by default.
Finally, Google announced new apps, sites and sections in the Play Store to make it easier to find Chromecast-enabled apps which we should see rolling out quite soon. All of the features above are due within weeks, apparently, so sit tight as we wait for Google to deliver the goods.