Today, Google is announcing a fresh batch of goodies for us all and we've already had Android 4.3 and the new Nexus 7 and now, we've found out just what Chromecast is. We had previously thought that Chromecast could be some sort of TV service but, it's become clear that this is the "Chrome dongle" that we've been hearing so much about. It's called Chromecast because it's based on Chrome. Essentially, Chromecast brings Web content to the fullscreen seamlessly without getting in the way, it takes power from HDMI, connects to your WiFi and hides behind your TV.
Chromecast works together from the web, a smartphone or a tablet. When using YouTube, for instance, all you have to do is find the "cast" button (the blue TV in the above image) and the video will then start playing on your TV. This is different from Miracast because the Chromecast is streaming the content straight from the web itself, using the built-in WiFi. It's not just YouTube however, as Netflix works with Chromecast as well.
Not only that but, Chromecast is cross-platform as well. It works with iOS as well, so if your friends and family have iOS devices you can all stream content to the same TV, somewhat like the Nexus Q did but this time around, things are a lot easier, simpler and it's same UI you all know and love. There's more content than just YouTube and Netflix out there though, the Chromecast works with Play Music and there's something else Google has in Beta.
Google are announcing that the Chromecast will feature the ability to "mirror" the tab you're looking at in Chrome on your laptop or Chromebook Pixel to your TV. Which means you can effectively watch any content you want, from across the web. The example Google used on stage was a video from Vimeo and images from Google Images.
The Chromecast is going to cost just $35 and supports Chrome on Android, YouTube on Android and iOS, Netflix on Android and iOS, Chrome for Windows and Mac and Chrome OS on the Chromebook Pixel. It's strange that it doesn't support Chrome OS period but, this was just announced so there might be some clarification later on. The Chromestick reminds us a lot of the Nexus Q and at just $35 it sure beats the awkward pricing the Q was launched for. It's listed as in stock right now in the Play Store, for a limited time it ships with 3 months of free Netflix and while it's only available in the US right now, international availability is planned. Below is the first advertisement for Chromecast.