Whether you own a Chromecast device or not, there is a fairly good chance that you make use of Google Cast technology. This is because over time the technology underlying Google Cast has made its way into more products. Likewise, Chromecast has expanded in range with the addition of new types of Chromecast like the Chromecast Audio. All of this means that while Chromecast is the product that has popularized Google Cast, it is actually Google Cast as a technology that is the bigger picture.
A prime source of content for any of the Google Cast-enabled products is the Google Cast extension for Chrome, which was released by Google two years ago. This is an extension which allows the user to cast anything being viewed in a Chrome browser to a corresponding Cast-enabled device on the same network. To put the popularity of the Google Cast extension for Chrome into perspective, Google notes in a new blog post today that (in just the last month) as many as 50 million hours of content has been watched or listened to using Chrome, with casting said to have occurred "more than 38 million times from Chrome".
In the same blog post, Google also now advises that that they have made the whole process of casting from Chrome even easier. Namely, by removing the actual need to use the Google Cast extension at all. Google explains that from today, Chrome users will be able to cast content from Chrome without even having to install the extension as Google Cast now comes built right into Chrome. According to the details, now when you visit any website which can be cast, an icon will appear showing you the available Cast devices on the same network. Simply clicking through the process will then Cast your content to those Cast-enabled devices, much as it did before with the Chrome extension. You can see an example of how the new feature will look and work in the image below.
As mentioned, Google does note that the built-in capabilities of Google Cast in Chrome is now live from today. Which means if you do want to start using the feature, you just need to make sure that your version of Chrome is the latest one.