At Google’s annual developer conference yesterday, Google I/O, Sundar Pichai, the most senior Google executive to actually speak with the public, revealed a stunning fact.
Google has sold 17 million Chromecast devices to customers around the world. Pichai added that Chromecast’s cast button has been pressed more than 1.5 billion times by users.
This may not seem like much but it lays the foundation for something big.
Chromecast is a very small USB stick that plugs into connected television sets. Most flat panel TVs out there support it. It’s cheap and easy to use.
Its original purpose was to allow people to easily connect their laptops and smartphones to their TVs in order to watch Youtube videos. A cute and sometimes handy use case, but hardly anything that will shake up the pecking order of TV.
But Chromecast is a foot in the door for Big G. Android, Google’s phone operating system, dominates the industry. And if you have an Android phone its easy for it talk to Chromecast.
This means Google is just one app away from launching an all out assault on the TV industry. Download the app and watch whatever content Google has arranged on your big screen TV.
This is likely the future. Phones are becoming so powerful developers and users are having trouble figuring out what to do with them. Running TV app is easy for most modern smartphones and provides a better user experience than a big box, such as Apple’s Apple TV.
You bring your shows, movies and Youtube channels with you and Chromecast them to whatever TV you happen to be around. You also, conveniently, have them all on your phone for when you’re taking the bus and sitting on the train.
Expect Google to keep promoting Chromecast while it arranges the content for a game changing TV service, which will likely launch sometime in 2016. In the meantime, it will continue to quietly lay the groundwork for this disruptive technology with the innocuous looking Chromecast.