Google has just launched a Google Cast software development kit (SDK) to help developers start building Google Cast into their apps. The number of apps using Google Cast is now expected to skyrocket.
Google Chromecast technology enables you to stream and control audio/video content from a small computing device such as a tablet or laptop to a television set or other large display screen. Little by little since it was launched in July last year, Chromecast has been acquiring content partners. However, even after the recent incorporation of video hosting service Vevo, Redbull TV, and media player system Plex, only fourteen Chromecast-compatible apps have as yet been published. Finally, on 3 February, Google announced the launch of an SDK, which will give all developers the opportunity to adapt their existing apps and optimize websites for viewing on high definition TV screens. The SDK looks set to increase the number of Chromecast partners and services, and should enable a variety of providers to enter the smart TV market.
Tool now available to all developers
The Google Cast SDK – available for Android, iOS and Chrome – is simple to use since it does not require applications to be re-written. All the developer has to do is to incorporate Chromecast support directly into the existing product. Developers are asked to pay a $5 registration fee to obtain access to the kit and register their applications and websites. They can use the default Chromecast media player for standard HTML5 playback, or else build their own custom receiver app for non-media applications. To help developers get started, Google has also made a set of sample apps available on GitHub, a web hosting and management service for software development, which uses the Git program.
Increasing the number of applications for larger screens
The launch of the SDK will encourage the development of Chromecast-compatible apps and should help Google to close the gap with leading streaming equipment manufacturer Roku in the smart TV market. Both these players enable developers to make mobile apps and web apps compatible with TV screens without having to carry out major modifications or deal with a closed community as is the case with Apple TV. Unlike Roku, which currently has 1,000 apps on offer, Google currently has a very limited number of partners. However, it is likely to see its content expand as it links up with partners such as Pandora, Rdio, Amazon Instant Video and Vudu. Meanwhile rumor has it that Apple is now working on a new version of Apple TV which will focus on gaming.