Google has big plans for its Chromecast device

The humble, $35 TV plug-in is already a hit with consumers, but the company envisions more apps and YouTube videos on living room screens around the world.

By Benzinga Feb 4, 2014 2:25PM

The Google Chromecast dongle © Beck Diefenbach/Reuters By Bruce Kennedy

Is Google (GOOG) being altruistic or just a savvy marketer by unlocking its Chromecast software development kit (SDK) to developers? 

Either way, much of the tech blogosphere seems to think this is the best news since sliced bread.

The $35 Chromecast has been a big hit with consumers since its debut last summer. The plug-in stick allows users to send Web content from a laptop, smartphone tablet or other device to their television via Wi-Fi. "No more huddling around small screens and tiny speakers," Google's website says -- adding that Chromecast automatically updates to work with a growing number of apps.

And making the thumb drive's SDK available, according to CNET's Seth Rosenblatt, "will allow app developers to give their users the option to stream their apps or websites to the Chromecast."

The website notes that Google has worked previously with Time Warner (TWX) subsidiary HBO, Pandora (P) and Netflix (NFLX) "to prove the device's worth" while creating a consumer market hungry for more uses. "The lack of an official SDK . . . has made it difficult or impossible for users to 'cast' local video, photos or audio from their mobile devices or laptops to a Chromecast," says Christina Warren at Mashable. "That changes with the new Google Cast SDK."

An important part of Google's plans for Chromecast this year, according to CNET, is bringing more consumers to YouTube -- the hugely successful video-sharing website that Google bought in 2006 for $1.6 billion.

"YouTube was an important driver," Mario Queiroz, Chromecast's vice president of product management, told the website. "Google wants to get YouTube onto as many screens as possible."

Google is also expected to roll out the Chromecast in a bunch of international markets this year -- and Queiroz has said the scope of that expansion may "pleasantly surprise" some people.

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