One of my colleagues, Salvador Risk (not his real name), is an avowed Google fanatic.
Google Glass, Chromebook, Jellybean. If Google makes it, he lauds it.
Invariably, whenever there’s a Google announcement or milestone, he shoots a link over IM for us to check out.
It was he who recommended that we watch the hellacious Google 1/0 2013.
My eyes are still bleeding.
We usually mock him for being so devout a disciple.
Yesterday was no exception.
You see yesterday, in his typical zeal, he shot us a link for some new innocuous Google product.
Followed by the statement (and I quote) “i so want this” (lowercase “i” and all).
Of course, we mocked him mercilessly, once again.
Who the heck would want “this” stupid thing?
“This” is another attempt by Google to stick it’s tentacles where they don’t belong.
“This” (we opined) would go the way of many of Google’s other lame-brained, ill-fated, poorly executed schemes.
What was “this”?
“This” was Chromecast.
What the heck is Chromecast, you ask?
Well it’s a dongle which will allow you to stream content from your phone, tablet or laptop, directly to your TV.
Simply plug Chromecast into an HDMI port of your HDTV, and voila! You’re streaming.
Even though the Chromecast dongle isn’t available yet (it’s available for pre-order in the Google Play store), it’s already making waves.
Why all the commotion, you ask?
For one, it’s not a box.
Unlike other set top box makers, like Apple and Roku (among the more recognizable names in the game), Chromecast won’t take up any space on your TV stand.
It’s just a simple fob that plugs in discretely to your TV.
Which means no power cords or HDMI cables.
With Chromecast, there’s nothing to hide, tuck away or get tangled in.
Actually, there is a little cord, which plugs into a micro USB port in the top of the dongle…but it’s not a big cord.
Second, you don’t need a remote control.
Virtually every other set top box is manipulated by some additional piece of hardware.
But not with Chromebook.
Your Android, iPhone or tablet device serves as your remote.
Third, Chromecast provide much of the same utility of other set top boxes.
Like Apple TV and Roku, Chromecast lets you grab content from Netflix and YouTube.
But they also let you access content from your Google Play account (like iTunes/iPhoto) and the Chrome browser.
But wait! That’s not all.
Lest you think that Chromecast is just some dumb portal that simply lets you stream what’s on your device to your TV, Google claims that Chromecast will also automatically update apps.
And if they’re going after Apple and Roku, I can see the available list of options growing in short order.
Finally, and more (or most) importantly, there’s the cost.
Chromecast is only $35.
That’s way below Apple’s $99 price point.
And significantly less than Roku’s $49.99 streaming player.
In the final analysis, even though we were originally ribbing Salvator (not his real name) mercilessly for his blind allegiance to Google, we had to concede that he was really onto something.
Call me gullible (and a nerd), but I’m kinda excited for the release of Chromecast.
As someone who rocks with Apple TV, I’m interested to see how Chromecast stacks up.
Anyway, nerdfest over.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled life.