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Google Claims ChromeCast Local Streaming Only Broken Because of SDK Changes 82

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the uh-huh dept.
sfcrazy writes "You may be familiar with the story that a ChromeCast update disabled the playback of local content, but Google has confirmed that it will allow every kind of content. Google Statement: 'We're excited to bring more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content. It's still early days for the Google Cast SDK, which we just released in developer preview for early development and testing only. We expect that the SDK will continue to change before we launch out of developer preview, and want to provide a great experience for users and developers before making the SDK and additional apps more broadly available.' So no need to fear!"
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Google Claims ChromeCast Local Streaming Only Broken Because of SDK Changes

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  • by jareth-0205 (525594) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @05:31AM (#44683875) Homepage

    Much as everyone on here loved to crow about how Google were being evil and locking the device down, isn't this the far more likely reason? An undocumented API has changed. Now can we stop overreacting? Locking down this device isn't really their style.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I suspected it was some mistake, but I still think they're evil.

    • by MrDoh! (71235)
      Aye, I think it's more likely that it'll take use of that 2nd screen window thing that 4.2? onwards has had in the system, just not used in anger yet. Having a render surface on the device, then cast that over, so you get it controllable on if you want a screen mirrored, or something on the tablet, then something else cast over might be the more long term solution. How faffy it can be from sending stuff over from a chrome tab, I can see they'd want to keep working on things so an SDK change at this point?
    • by wbr1 (2538558) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @06:31AM (#44684099)

      Much as everyone on here loved to crow about how Google were being evil and locking the device down, isn't this the far more likely reason? An undocumented API has changed. Now can we stop overreacting? Locking down this device isn't really their style.

      No, their style will be to cancel the device/services with some warning and litle explanation.

      • Much as everyone on here loved to crow about how Google were being evil and locking the device down, isn't this the far more likely reason? An undocumented API has changed. Now can we stop overreacting? Locking down this device isn't really their style.

        No, their style will be to cancel the device/services with some warning and litle explanation.

        Cancel the system that's bringing YouTube (and its ads) into the living room? Seems very unlikely. In general, Google only discontinues services that aren't very successful (no, Reader wasn't very widely used, in spite of the heat generated by its fans). Successful services that are generating revenue are expanded. Successful services that aren't generating revenue are monetized. Unsuccessful services are discontinued if it looks like they're not going to become successful.

        The Chromecast seems to be very successful, and to have an obvious and successful revenue model in place (YouTube). I don't think it's going anywhere.

        (Disclaimer: I work for Google, but don't speak for Google.)

        • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @09:37AM (#44685047) Homepage
          I'm still perplexed by the fact that they cancelled Reader. It had been around for 8 years. I'm sure it wasn't their most popular service, but then again, there probably didn't cost them much to run. The code didn't really need updating as nothing has changed in RSS in the past 5 years, and less users just means fewer server resources to handle the traffic. After they announced they were closing, 3 million people joined Feedly [wikipedia.org]. That's not a very small number of people by any means. Personally, I went to Tiny-Tiny RSS [tt-rss.org], which I host on my own (shared host) server. That way I'm not reliant on some company deciding to shut down service.
          • Look at it from a different perspective. Google gave up a project that was little value to them. It did prove and get many people, myself included, to use RSS. Do I like Feedly as much as Reader? No. Do I use it just as much as Reader? Yup. Destroying Reader suddenly created demand in a market that practically didn't exist the day before. Startups always worry about what will happen when one of the big boys decide to play in their yard. Well here is a case where one decided to go do something else and let e
          • I'm sure it wasn't their most popular service, but then again, there probably didn't cost them much to run.

            it's just math. google exists to make money. if they were making $ with reader, it'd still be around. they aren't a non-profit, so argument like "it didn't cost that much" are irrelevant. google may allow some losing services to exist, but it's because they see future potential in them. RSS readership has been on a downward trend for some time.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      Perhaps so... another explanation is that the removal was generating bad PR. If there hadn't been Slashdot coverage of the loss of the capability, they might have continued with some plan of removing the capability I suppose we will never know.

      If they truly want to be non-evil; they'll provide a documented stable API to expose the hardware's functionality -- instead of just undocumented API they keep randomly changing in minor updates.

    • But it is the style of those content providers whose apps leave messages like, "This content is not available on mobile"
      and "You cannot play content while a second display is enabled"

      And if you could cast any media class, then all of a sudden, those messages just wouldn't matter.
      And content providers would pull their apps claiming they no longer have control over where it's displayed.

    • How was the API undocumented. FYI if this feature is undocumented and not supported then the original contention that Google will not allow local content streamed is still valid.
    • by Fnord666 (889225)

      An undocumented API has changed. Now can we stop overreacting?

      How is the API undocumented [google.com]?

      Developers might also want to take note of the following:

      Warning: The current Google Cast SDK is a preview SDK intended for development and testing purposes only, not for production apps. Google may change this SDK significantly prior to the official release of the Google Cast SDK.

    • by P-niiice (1703362)
      no because I have to fit google into my NWO corporate nsa fcontrail antasies somehow
    • So, it is better to be incompetent than to be evil?

      Because any decent software developer would test something as basic as local playback *before* doing a release.

      • So, it is better to be incompetent than to be evil?

        Because any decent software developer would test something as basic as local playback *before* doing a release.

        It's got a SDK that is in developer preview and subject to change. Why is this so hard to understand on a supposedly technical site? When the SDK is stable, and it gets changed to disallow local playback (or the SDK somehow never makes it to a stable release), *then* we can all jump up and down. Calm the hell down, consumer devices have been released like this for years now. The iPhone didn't have a stable SDK on its first release, later it did. Chromecast doesn't, later it will.

    • I have looked over the API it's still very new and sensitive right now. Google needs to stabilize this then release to developers so big companies like HBOGO, Amazon and Hulu can build for this new product.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @05:34AM (#44683889)

    Google bad. Microsoft good. Get it right people!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is called a Testing Balloon, just like Microsoft with their XBone restrictions.

    Fear not! More attempts will come after this died down, what Google cannot make money out of, Google will discontinue eventually.

    • what Google cannot make money out of, Google will discontinue eventually.

      Er... yes? What world do you live in where this isn't true of any business?

  • No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by readingaccount (2909349) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @06:54AM (#44684173)

    Yeah, people fucking pointed this multiple times (here and elsewhere), but this rather important tidbit was lost among the noise that is misguided Internet rage.

    The Internet is extremely good at pushing things out of context or missing that little bit of info that completely changes the meaning of something. Like that image of Will Smith's family looking shocked over Miley Cyrus' act at the VMAs even though the picture-in-picture clearly showed it was Lady Gaga's act. But hey, people love to not pay attention to the details. It's faster that way.

    • The Internet is extremely good at pushing things out of context or missing that little bit of info that completely changes the meaning of something.

      You mistake strength for weakness. Imagine such levels of hue and cry and demanding of accountability in the mainstream populous -- Such is missing even over things that actually really matter.

      'Tis better to Sense Emphatically and waste a few cycles for self correction than Decide to dismiss threats by default and Act far too late. For the first time in your planet's history businesses can respond nearly instantly to customer demands. Just look at the Xbone, for a recent example. The point is that if

    • by tgd (2822)

      Yeah, people fucking pointed this multiple times (here and elsewhere), but this rather important tidbit was lost among the noise that is misguided Internet rage.

      Its not the Internet -- its an overall rise in douchebaggery and exploding belief that ones' instinctual sense of the truth is, in fact, always the truth. Its permeating society -- not just in the US, but globally. I think the only thing the Internet contributes to it is the ease at which it allows people to wall themselves off in a like-minded narrow community that will consistently produce and echo messages that resonate with that narrow viewpoint. For some reason -- probably because so many people have j

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The truth is that Google has terminated the means by which streaming to local was achieved without creating new ones. How is that not Google breaking ChromeCast local streaming? How is your response not to be outraged that instead of adding a facility to enable local streaming to the SDK, they continued to "overlook" this feature which nearly every user wants in yet another SDK version, while simultaneously destroying the feature that was being used to provide it?

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        The SDK is NOT FINAL, correct?

        An SDK that is being built is by definition subject to change, INCLUDING BREAKING THINGS (advertently or inadvertently). When the SDK is final, or even VERY VERY close to final, and something is STILL broken, then whine.

    • I'm not sure why you blame the internet. Had I had one of these things and no internet to bring me this story, I probably would have just sworn never to buy anything by google again. What you are objecting to seems to be human nature.
  • The tech press (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Simulant (528590) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @08:50AM (#44684653) Journal

    Unfortunately much of the tech press content consists of (paid?) product announcements, unsubstantiated rumour, and reviews of dubious quality.

    Google was up front about there being no Chromecast apps until the SDK was released, at the very beginning. This was never a story.
    • It's a story if this feature is removed. Since the SDK is still being developed time will tell.
      • by Teresita (982888)
        Chromecast took a big hit on orders after that story came out, so here's Google backtracking. At least they don't double down ala Win8.1.
      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        Thing is, one needs to keep in mind that AirCast was abusing a loophole in Google's whitelisting process (which is in place while the SDK is in beta) - It was behaving as if it were an instance of the Chromecast extension for Chrome.

        One thing Koush never indicated was whether this change affected SDK-based apps like his original (unreleased due to the current licensing of the beta SDK) local content playback app.

    • Unfortunately much of the tech press content consists of (paid?) product announcements, unsubstantiated rumour, and reviews of dubious quality.

      RODQs?

      I don't think they really exist.

  • I think it's a good time for us all to take a step back and reflect on the (many very reactionary) comments made after the "Google breaks Chromecast" story the other day.

    http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/13/08/25/2254208/google-breaks-chromecasts-ability-to-play-local-content [slashdot.org]

    • by Daetrin (576516)
      So now Google is doing press releases that make me look bad by causing my previous accusations to appear stupid and hyperbolic? That just proves that Google is out to get me! They're trying to discredit me so no one will believe me when i tell them that Google is the devil and is plotting to destroy the world!
  • When I stream video from Netflix, the server chooses an encoding and resolution specific to the device running their client software. I assume that other video streaming servers behave in the same manner: why stream HD to a 320x800 display?

    In the case of the Chromecast which is presumably displaying to a 1920x10820 display, is there some sort of passthrough signalling that will let the streaming device use a more appropriate resolution? Or do I only get the same resolution as the intermediate device?

    On

    • On a related note, can somebody tell me why this device is desirable? I'm still struggling with the use case here. What is the benefit of Chromecast over something like teeny little wdtv box? It's smaller and cheaper but does a lot less.

      It's a small, extremely portable, self-contained media streaming device. It can be powered entirely by the TV, and controlled remotely from an android device. It is potentially possible for this little device to replace a lot of the other boxes hanging off your TV. When you go on vacation or to a friend's house you can very easily throw it in a bag and take it with you, without losing any settings. You also get all that for only $35, with 3 months of Netflix included (if you order from the right place).

      • What is the advantage of this over DLNA/UPnP? I get the streaming of Netflix, etc, but why wouldn't this be possible using DLNA? Why not use standards that are already established and work on most televisions bought in the past couple of years?

        • What is the advantage of this over DLNA/UPnP? I get the streaming of Netflix, etc, but why wouldn't this be possible using DLNA? Why not use standards that are already established and work on most televisions bought in the past couple of years?

          Personally I don't think it's better, I would love if it could be used as a generic UPnP device. I'm really hoping someone figures out a way to make that happen. I managed to snag the 3 months of free Netflix when it was first offered, so I'm willing to gamble $11 or so that someone will find a way to do it. But at that price, even if they don't, I still have a mildly useful device without spending a lot of money.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        with 3 months of Netflix included (if you order from the right place).

        From the right place?

        What does that mean? The well known free 3 months of netflix offer ended less than a day after orders became available.

        Is the offer still available somewhere else? I'm one of those who would be more tempted to get one with the 3 free months of netflix even though of course I can afford it. If it did Amazon Prime Instant Video, I'd likely get one anyway.

    • by n7ytd (230708)

      When I stream video from Netflix, the server chooses an encoding and resolution specific to the device running their client software. I assume that other video streaming servers behave in the same manner: why stream HD to a 320x800 display?

      In the case of the Chromecast which is presumably displaying to a 1920x10820 display, is there some sort of passthrough signalling that will let the streaming device use a more appropriate resolution? Or do I only get the same resolution as the intermediate device?

      Yes, the Chromecast delivers at a higher resolution. Basically what happens is the intermediary device (phone, tablet, etc.) sends the video information to the Chromecast, and it logs into Netflix itself and behaves as a native player on a large screen. I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't even prompted to log into Netflix on the larger display.

      On a related note, can somebody tell me why this device is desirable? I'm still struggling with the use case here. What is the benefit of Chromecast over something like teeny little wdtv box? It's smaller and cheaper but does a lot less.

      Well, two out of three ain't bad. :) The biggest downside for me is that you have to have an Android device kicking around to act as the remote control.

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