Yesterday, Google upset lots of folks by pulling the plug on the most awesome aspect of Chromecast, the ability to play local content through a third-party app. Today, the company's saying it was an inadvertent mistake, and that local content will stay. What gives?
Soon after Chromecast arrived, developer Koushik Dutta put together a stream-everything app called Aircast. It worked a lot like an Android version of Apple AirPlay, meaning you could push pretty much any video to the Google wonder dongle. In yesterday's automatic Chromecast update (which happens automatically when the device is powered on and can't be avoided), that functionality was lost. Dutta looked at the update and decided that it broke the local streaming function intentionally.
Google's statement says that's not the case, and blames Google Cast's newness while swearing that it loves local content capability:
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.
According to Dutta, local content's disappearance still looks like it was done purposefully, so the vow of support for such apps seems a lot like a backtrack on Google's part. To be fair, mirroring from an open Chrome tab was never off the table, and for $US35 the Chromecast is still pretty impressive. Guess we'll just have to wait and see whether it supports the kind of apps that could make it out-and-out awesome.