Google Opens Chromecast to App Developers with New SDK, APIs

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 04, 2014

If you've been using Google's Chromecast dongle, you already know that it is an appealing way to get access to lots of different kinds of entertainment and stream content from a PC to the large screen. Until now, though, Google has pursued a development and partnership model for Chromecast that has been tightly closed. Partners like HBO and Netflix have worked with Google to expand Chromecast's horizons, but independent software developers couldn't deliver their own Chromecast apps.

That's changed now, as Google has delivered the Google Cast Software Development Kit (SDK), which lets app developers offer users the choice to stream apps or Web sites to the Chromecast, with it functioning as a receiver plugged into a TV's HDMI port.

Effectively, Google has thrown open the development gates for Chromecast. The announcement of the new SDK notes the following:

"Google Cast is a technology that enables multi-screen experiences and lets a user send and control content like video from a small computing device like a phone, tablet, or laptop to a large display device like a television...The sender may be a phone or tablet running on Android or iOS, or it may be a laptop computer running Chrome OS, Mac OS, or Windows. A sender application running on the sender device uses the Google Cast API appropriate to its operating system to discover and transmit to the receiver application running on the receiver device. You can use the sender APIs to enable your Android, iOS, or Chrome app to send content to a large display."

"The receiver device is optimized for video playback with a receiver application that receives data over Internet Protocol and transmits it to the television. The receiver API lets you customize the messaging between the sender and receiver applications for authentication and other scenarios."

Undoubtedly, there are already Android and Chrome apps intended for use on smartphones and tablets that can translate very well to the big screen, and it sounds like open APIs will make delivering such apps for use on big screens fairly easy.

Google is intent on preserving the kind of multitasking that Android is capable of, too. The new SDK announcement notes: "While content is playing on a TV, a user can multitask on their device without interrupting the video playback. For example, a user can search for a video on their phone’s YouTube application and then send the video to their TV via a Google Cast device."

If you already tend to use your mobile devices as you watch TV or movies, you may soon get an expanded menu of choices for letting you use the devices together.