The Chromecast was a strange device first announced in the summer of 2013. It was another one of Google’s living room products, following Google TV and the Nexus Q. Nobody knew what it was, or what it was supposed to be. It ran a system which was a combination of Google TV and Chrome OS. It didn’t do much. There wasn’t a gamepad or a remote control. You had to use your phone, enter an app, and tell it to stream content to your TV.
While it may seem like a tough sell, the aggressive $35 price made it a commodity. It quickly became one of the most popular streaming devices. As more developers added casting to their apps, Google appeared to have realized that this product would be a success. They added cast support to Android TV when it was announced at Google I/O in 2014 in addition to traditional smart TV features.
Being able to throw content to another device for playback works very well, and not just for movies. A number of games were created to support casting and music was another popular application. The Chromecast Audio allows one to cast their content to any speaker in the house as if it were a Bluetooth speaker. All of them can be synchronized and play the same music at the same time.
By now Google already referred to the technology as Google Cast. It no longer is necessarily built on ChromeOS, and the Chrome brand doesn’t really fit here anymore. While some devices may still use it as the underlying platform, some of Google’s hardware partners may use their own proprietary systems.
The Chromecast app is one whose name is getting long in the tooth. The app does a number of things: setup your new devices, search for content, and change settings for all your cast-enabled devices. Now that the app is becoming more generic, it makes sense for it to have a more generic name.
Google says the name will be changed in an upcoming version of the app in the next couple of days.