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Latest Chromecast Update Breaks Third-Party Apps, Koush Thinks It’s On Purpose

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Since Google’s $35 Chromecast didn’t have the functionality to stream local media from smartphone to the TV of your choice, multiple developers took to the challenge and made their own apps that could. True to the spirit of Android, more than a few apps have been put together that gives us the ability to stream photos, videos and music in other ways than what Google intended. Yesterday, another update to Chromecast broke the ability of third-party applications, and Koush thinks that it is intentional.

This is the second time that Google’s update has disabled the functionality of Koush’s AirCast application. “The policy seems to be a heavy handed approach, where only approved content will be played through the device,” he said on his Google+ post about the subject. In other words, Google is looking at actual media companies to partner with for Chromecast streaming rather than third party apps by indie developers. To him, it looks like Google wants to control what gets played through the Chromecast, instead of letting developers do what they want with the device. He did post another apk for his AirCast app in the post, but mentioned that it probably wouldn’t work.

Since launch, Chromecast has only shown official support for YouTube, Google Music, Netflix, and Google Play Movies and TV.

Do you think Google is doing the right thing by moving away from the developer scene?

Via:  +Koush

  • HardeeBarnacle

    I guess I don’t understand, there many many many ways to get your personal content on a TV screen or whatever. Not having a Google backed app to do this with the chromecast is small potatoes. Your laptop misses you anyways.

    $35 dollars for a convenient solution to watch Netflix etc. isn’t too bad. That said, Roku needs to pony up on an official app. for streaming content given the device cost, who cares if its another thing to support.
    I’m actually looking forward to seeing what they come up for live TV content. Using this to compare Google to Apple and crying “walled garden” is just plain silly.

  • mark h

    Sounds like Google is taking a step towards being like Apple. Shame.

  • Williams Blazekora

    GOTO:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00BGGDVOO/2013-09-20

    Our Fastest Streaming Player. Get it Now, Roku3 Streaming Player on sale.‎

  • Zack Kallen

    i just want to be able to stream my personal photos and videos… is that to much to ask for google?

  • zaggs

    I knew there was a reason I didn’t replace my Roku’s with Chromecasts

  • http://www.hammertechnologies.net/ Chase Johnson

    Unfortunately since the chromecast is required to be connected to the internet no way to stop updates to it either. Seems like this is the first time I can recall that Google is locking something of strictly theirs down.

  • John Hopper

    So far this is the only reason I haven’t gotten one yet. Waiting to see how this plays out before I put my money on it.

    • Seiga

      For $35, I’d put my money regardless. It’s not a big committed investment =)

  • JMonkeYJ

    i was excited because i had my chromecast all set up to totally replace my xbox, using bubbleUPnP to play local media from my computer on my phone to the chromecast. i was about to use the functionality for the first time. turned on my chromecast, it did an update, and the update removed the ability to do what i wanted :'( very sad…hopefully they will open it up more as time goes on. i would love to never have to turn on my xbox.

  • Sporttster

    One of the reasons I didn’t jump like so many others. Functionality gets lost when a lot of $$ is involved. Google is under the thumb of content providers. They won’t budge, they can’t, they’re slaves….

  • Itchy_Robot

    What I can’t understand is that all the Google sympathizers keep saying, “Google can’t allow local content (photos/home movies) because it opens up for the possibility of users using it in a manner that breaks contracts Google has with the media companies”. This arguments seems null considering that Apple TV (and Xbox, PS3, Roku, etc) already does it, and more. Why would Google be the only company that is not allowed? … the argument just does not make sense. There is no way Google would allow the competition to have the upper hand on such an easy feature to implement. I’m still hanging onto the hope that Google has a plan to allow local content, more than likely through an updated official Gallery app.

    Though, it may be more about Google coercing users into sharing their meta data for targeted advertising by forcing users to upload their images to G+ and their videos to YouTube just to watch them on their TV. If so, then Google may have just mad a horrible move.

  • Michael Hammond

    “It looks like Google wants to control ….”

    It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t finish with “….their own product”

    I mean yeah, it is Android and it is rootable and all that, but is it that bad that Google could propose a partnership to tighten up on coding and clean up clutter?

  • Bionicman

    hopefully they’ll fix this because i just ordered my Chromecast from bestbuy! finally!

  • chris420o

    What do u expect…u think they making a lot of money on that $35 pricetag?

  • addicted to porn

    Now how will i stream porn?!

  • http://www.vgchartz.com SuperChunk

    I’m ok with it. I know how Google does things and I am fully confident that in a years time this device will have a ton streaming capability from all of Google’s services. Hell the Chrome casting from a tab on your PC just about makes it perfect for me as is.

  • markgbe

    i’m sure google with allow pushing of videos from google+, drive, soon enough. i can be a bit patient if that gets me hbo, nfl and stuff/

  • JeffColorado

    I think he is absolutely correct. But I also think it’s a futile effort…it will be rooted and people will do it anyway. It will just be more involved.

  • Destroythanet

    Wow, that’s some very Apple-like behavior from Google there.

    • schoat333

      There is a reason Apple does things like that tho. When you want to get other companies on board with your product, you have to prove to them that it is secure and their IP and media can not be stolen using said device.

  • mar_ar

    this obviously isnt ideal, and it sucks for the people who already bought it thinking it was going to be something different, but this isnt like buying a phone for $700 and wanting to do what you want with it, this is a $35 dongle, if they need to please some folks this time, so be it.

  • Greg Buxton

    I’m going to be in the minority here I’m sure, but I don’t see the problem here.

    Koush was using methods in a non-final, non-public API, and Google, while still working on said API, has removed the methods he was using.

    Until we see the final public API for public development (and not the whitelisted development that we’re in now while the API is being built) I don’t think it’s fair to say Google is being evil or trying to shut down any specific app.

    From what I’ve read there’s a replacement method to the one that Koush was using, it just isn’t functional yet. Let’s wait to see if by the time the whitelist API period is over if such apps are still not possible. If so, /then/ we can light the torches and grab the pitchforks.

    • PhoenixPath

      Thank you.

      “The policy seems to be a heavy handed approach, where only approved content will be played through the device,”

      Odd… Considering I can play *any* content I want via File://etc… links in a Chrome tab.

      It has, I believe, very little to do with “approved content” and so much more to do with “unapproved hackery”.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love much of Koush’s hackery, and blaming Google for this is fine and dandy as they *did* remove functionality; but claiming it was on purpose to disallow “unapproved content” is a bit of a stretch.

      • blootz

        forget chrome dongle. get a android mini PC quad core for the same price. they do more than what the chrome dongle can offer.

        • PhoenixPath

          More?

          Sure.

          As easily?

          Not without a bit of hackery on it’s own. Launching netflix on my TV from my phone is a neat trick. Same with my music on Google Play.

          I’d rather not have to use BT keyboard/mouse….

          • Greg Buxton

            Exactly.

            The moment I found out that I could use my phone’s volume controls to change the volume the chromecast was putting out I was sold.

            It saved me from reaching the two feet to the TV remote don’t ya know. =)

  • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

    So there’s no way to prevent the Chromecast from updating right?

  • mike dunham

    I bought the Chromecast for viewing Google / Netflix content and I am still happy with my purchase. Previously, I needed to hook my Galaxy Nexus up to my TV via MHL. This creates an easier way for me to view the content I have purchased. Anything else that is added is just icing on the cake for me. I understand that many people are upset by this but you must keep in mind that just because Google releases a new product does not automatically mean it will be open like other products. Now if i purchased this for $100 or more I would easily be more frustrated but for $35 plus 3 free months of Netflix I cannot complain.

  • Jack3D

    Either provide the DEVICE AND the CONTENT people want or provide the DEVICE and let PEOPLE PROVIDE THEIR OWN CONTENT…or people will find a way to do the latter.

    This means piracy…it’s simple math.

  • Justtyn Hutcheson

    I see the Chromecast in the same light as Google Glass: it is an accessory based on Android/Linux embedded software, but it is not and was never meant to be an “open” device. It was always meant to be a highly curated experience. If you don’t like what they are offering, then you don’t have to use it.

    While I agree that you should be allowed to send your own content from your device to a Chromecast, if Google didn’t add that functionality, which obviously would not have been difficult at all for them to do, then there is a reason. “Reverse engineering” the protocol to allow such a thing to take place is cool, but nobody should get bent out of shape when it is quickly patched out of existence. I see it the same way I see buying devices that are known to have perma-locked bootloaders: you purchase a device knowing it has certain limitations. If those limitations are removed (root exploits, bootloader cracks, etc.), then bonus. But don’t get angry if those exploits are patched in a software update, because you should never expect them to exist.

    • Philip A. Kaiser

      Agree. While Chromecast is running Android with much stricter restrictions, you can still get GoogleTV and that is open. I own two Google TV boxes and would never give them up. I do plan on getting chromecast for my other TVs but I can’t see it replacing my Google Boxes. I think of it like this: GoogleTV box = Android phone. Chromecast = MotoActv or Smart watch. Same but not the same.

  • MichaelFranz

    if he did it once, im sure he can do it again, Koush is the man.

    I’m just pissed i dont have mine yet :(

    • KleenDroid

      Simply walk into Best Buy and get one. I went and got a second one the other day. It also still comes with the three free months of Netflix.

      They get new shipments often.

      • MichaelFranz

        I might have too. its been 2 weeks since i placed my orer but nothing shipped yet. Maybe when i go to best buy this week i’ll see if they have it

  • fauxshizzl

    You can stream local content from a computer right out of the box, so I don’t get why it would be different from a mobile device.

    • JimmyHACK

      It’s not about that, it’s about having only approved apps (similar to appstore). So you have a great device without the super junk apps. Koush’s app will easily be approved with the normal sdk once it’s final.

      • EC8CH

        let’s hope

    • thedonxr

      Media companies get scared when you replace the word “monitor” with “television” Thats why I use a 65 inch “monitor” in my living room. :-)

      • Chatman

        I have a pair of Sharp Aquos LC65D64U “monitors”. I hope KoushCast sticks around!

  • NexusMan

    Of course they are doing the right thing. They are not calling Chromecast Android. Developers have Android to tinker with and reverse engineer as they please. Chromecast is a completely separate category of product that they are offering to consumers, that they will team up with official content partners with. Official content partnerships will not tolerate tinkering and reverse engineering of their content.There is nothing evil about conducting business. If you don’t like it, don’t use Chromecast, and stick with “Android.”

  • mmeiklejohn

    its my chromecast, my phone, my content. let me stream whatever i want.

    • JimmyHACK

      nice in theory, but now how the world works

    • Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

      I’m sure the NSA would love to see what you’re streaming.

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      No, there are ToS you agree to when using a Chromecast (or any Android device, for that matter). You either accept the restrictions that are placed on your purchase by the manufacturer and are clearly laid out in advance, you purchase something else that does fit your needs, or you build something yourself. Expecting a device to do something that its makers have explicitly prohibited just because you want it to is ridiculous.

  • thedonxr

    I think that the media companies are going to cry when you put things on a bigger screen for more people to view. Look at the way Hulu won’t let you plug in an HDMI cable and mirror to your TV.

    • ProZomby

      This. Media conglomerates want to control to the last pixel on every frame of your life how you watch “their” content. If Google is letting people have freedom, the Execs who are living in the pre-Internet TV era won’t partner with Google.

      • EC8CH

        They saw what happened to the music industry and are determined to retain tighter control as they plod slowly along into online distribution channels.

        • ProZomby

          Well, they’re already doing what the music industry did, but they’re trying to do it better. Remember all the DRM crap, just like 5 years ago? Windows, Real, Apple… everyone had their own DRM and it was a mess. It’s a mess now, but so far people are willing to tolerate it. Have you counted how many different places you have to go to stream/watch different videos? Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, Amazon, Apple… it’s insanity! And as long as they keep fragmenting and restricting viewing, they’ll continue to have problems and stumble like the music industry; which eventually gave in to DRM-free MP3 and lossless audio.

  • KleenDroid

    I like the possibilities this device has and picked up a second one the other day.

    But this move by Google has me thinking of returning the second one to Best Buy.

    Casting the videos on my phone is what I wanted from this and it doesn’t look like we will get it. So while at Best Buy I also picked up a Samsung “MHL HDTV Smart Adapter”. It’s not wireless but it allows me to play everything on my tv while connected to my hdmi.

    Boo Google

    • CasperTFG

      Thinking about getting one. Dumb question: you connect yours to your handset or tablet? Trying to determine if the adapter would work with the N10. I mean the cord is made by Samsung after all.

      • KleenDroid

        Hi, Sorry for the delayed answer… I just found this response in my spam folder.

        I use the adapter with my S4 and I am in love with it. I assume it would also work with your N10 but I don’t have one so I can’t say for sure. For $30 bucks I would go get one and give it a shot and if there is an issue you could always return it.

        The thing is fantastic and I use it a few times a week at least.

        I also really like what the Chromecast does also. I have been enjoying the Netflix trial and initiate movies either from my phone or my N7 and control pausing from either one I grab first since it syncs.

        Anyway…. go get yourself a Samsung MHL HDTV Smart Adapter today. You will love it.

        • CasperTFG

          Okay thanks. I’ll put it on my wishlist.

    • LionStone

      Upload videos to YouTube, then watch from YouTube.

  • rekem

    I’m starting to sour on Google more and more each day. It’s not just that they would do this. The worst part is that they’ve adopted Apple’s response of giving no explanation of what’s going on. Even when they do give one, it’s either a bunch of gibberish, or it’s a laughable lie. The turning point was Larry Page taking control, and the day Andy Rubin got pushed out of Android was the beginning of the end. Page went to Jobs for advice before he died, and it seems Jobs still has him under control. Sad.

  • http://andymerskin.com/ Andy Merskin

    Well, looks like it’s time for someone to step up and make a Kickstarter for a Chromecast killer.

  • MK17

    I hope this is Google’s way of showing a big front and acting tough to prove to the content providers, but actually always leaving a backdoor for the devs to use.

  • OMJ

    Chromecast is pretty worthless for me in its current state. Especially since I wont continue the netflix subscription after my free 3 months is up

    • KleenDroid

      I get what you are saying. But I am enjoying my Netflix trial.

      It’s only a few bucks a month. I would also like Hulu+

  • Eric

    Pathetic on Google’s part. If it wasn’t for the early developer interest I wouldn’t even have purchased the chromecast.

    • 4n1m4L

      The second update (a while ago) locked it down

  • Zach B.

    Let’s cool our torches for a moment. Is it possible this isn’t ENTIRELY Google’s doing? Perhaps the content providers had a hand it this? I’m not saying don’t be angry, but let’s make sure our anger is directed to the right people.

    • Paul Hansen

      I’m thinking the same. The content providers probably want to know that Google is going to protect their content should they make it available on chromecast.

    • http://www.nsa.gov/ National Security Agency

      I like my torch.

      • Zach B.

        Fine.

  • Justin Barrett

    Good insight from Derek Ross on his Google+ page regarding this issue:

    https://plus.google.com/+DerekRoss/posts

  • EC8CH

    Time for a Chromecast custom ROM that will stop such foolishness and allow for streaming of local content.

    • thedonxr

      Why was this downvoted?

      • MichaelFranz

        trolls..

  • jamdev12

    I am pissed about this. Soon any video playback from Chrome tabs will also be disabled. I’m sure of it. I basically bought a $35 useless device. Either Google is being bent over by media companies or Google is bending over open source developers over. Also isn’t Android completely free and if so wouldn’t Google be breaking their licensing agreement with the open source community? Since Chromecast is basically Android underneath the hood.

    • JimmyHACK

      Chromecast isn’t in the classification of an Android device.

  • JimmyHACK

    Seeing that he goes around using the SDK for Chromecast, maybe they are just trying to keep it to official SDK made apps? Chromecast isn’t classified as Android, no matter how much people want to say it’s running it or modified Android. So they will do what they need to to keep the official channels running.

    “Google has purposefully blocked third party applications that were circumventing the non-finalized Google Cast SDK.” Key word circumventing.

    • jamdev12

      I’m sorry, but based on many developers tinkering with the device this is running Android.

      • Zach B.

        Be that as it may, it isn’t maintained by the Android team.

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        Its running a very specialized version of the Android code, but that’s the exact same thing as saying that its running Linux. Technically true, but at the same time completely irrelevant as it has been stripped of what makes that OS an OS.

        It is better and more accurate to think of the Chromecast as having an embedded OS that performs one specific task, similar to other embedded Linux or Windows CE systems.

      • acras

        Your point? Just because they don’t seem to want people to circumvent their SDK while trying to lure content providers doesn’t mean that Google is violating the spirit of “open source” concerning android. Hardware manufacturers are allowed to protect their devices and modify android add they see fit.They are using an open source software as a base to operate a piece of hardware that they built and are allowed to have whatever control over that they see fit. They won’t get most content providers to approve the chromecast if it is easily hacked, they are worried about people stealing content, that’s why it’s hard to get hbo go and some of the cable providers streaming services on rooted devices. Do you complain that you can’t easily modify the software on your smart TV, DVR, maybe mad that you can’t tweak your cloud storage providers servers? They are all running versions of Linux.

  • Justin Kos
  • sk3litor

    Its perfectly fine. Android is open source not chromecast. Google has every right to make a proprietary device to form partnerships. That being said they should’ve seen it coming

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      Of course they saw it coming, hence why they were able to patch it so quickly.

  • EC8CH

    Obvious move to appease video content providers that want restrictions on local playback to force people to their paid services.

    • PhoenixPath

      Yet we can still play anything we want through chrome tabs?

      A simple link to any file on my home media server via “File://” still works just fine. If this is their ‘obvious move to appease video content providers” they sure as heck missed a pretty big means of local playback.

      • EC8CH

        Video content providers love to make ridiculous distinctions though :-)

        • PhoenixPath

          Video content providers like to make money.

          Ridiculous distinctions are about as useful as ridiculous conclusions. :-D

          • EC8CH

            I agree with everything you just said (even the jab at my “ridiculous conclusions”).

            Let’s just hope that Chromecast is Google’s device that pushes content providers to be more open, instead of the devices that content providers have pushed Google to be more closed.

  • Marc

    The concept behind android has always been open source and third party friendly. What gives?

    • Zach B.

      I think a simplified explanation to this is that I don’t think this device is maintained by the Android team.

  • MK17

    Don’t be evil, Google…

  • yummy

    Ah yes, googlehopper, you have
    turned the light into darkness, and
    closed what was open. You have
    finally grasped the pebbles from my
    hand. It is time for you to leave
    the temple.

  • Jacob Svonavec

    Android is getting bigger and bigger, just like Verizon and Microsoft, eventually they will write off developers completely. Lets just hope its not going to happen.

  • Higher_Ground

    No, I think they are doing what they can to avoid having content providers get bent out of shape. Gotta buy/use their apps. Seems like sort of a “walled garden” approach if you ask me.

    • Tony Nguyen

      It seems like it is Google getting bent to please content providers.

  • cheese

    Really messed up on Google’s part. I truly pray that Google is just waiting for the next major software release of Chromecast with added native local playback support.

  • bkosh84

    Nope, Developers are what made Google’s mobile platform what it is today.. Bad move on their part..

    • David Narada Brown

      i would rather have this device supported by big media outlets rather than pushing videos and photos that i have saved to it. I can find other ways to play that content. If thats all you used it for you could put that content on a usb stick and plug that into most tvs.

    • Allen Yates

      Yes, but this isn’t a mobile platform. If you want NFL, ESPN, Hulu, HBO Go, etc. on the Chromecast, then you want Google to lock this thing down. They’ll never get on board if they think the content is easily stolen.

      • T4rd

        Yup, it’s pretty much a double-edged sword. It would be nice if they conveniently left an exploit available for third party devs to do what they want while still appeasing the big-name companies that they want to do business with. But I’m not a software developer, so I’m not sure how feasible that is.

      • Raven

        But, it is just a streaming receiver. Nothing is stored on the device itself. So, allowing streaming of videos stored on my device, such as videos I shot myself on my phone of my daughter, should not make it any easier to steal content. This is just some really stupid heavy handed BS that is going to hurt them in the long run. You would think with model numbers like H2G2-42 and MST3K-US that they would be (or at least originally intended to be) supporting the development community.

        • lgreg64

          Google does not care about you streaming your videos they will probably be adding this feature. what they can not have is the dev community doing this. HBO, HULU and other big names will never bring there content to chromecast if it is not locked down.

      • http://www.hammertechnologies.net/ Chase Johnson

        If you think that this stops people from recording things then you are crazy. If you want something bad enough you can find it.

        • Allen Yates

          It doesn’t have to stop it. It just has to give the illusion that it’s trying to. :)

    • michael arazan

      Unlike Android Chromium is not Open Source and its proprietary to Google and they will do what they want with it. It sucks but it is not android. Goole needs media Companies to get in on this for their sake and for even bigger ad revenues. Personally I’d rather use an Android stick, or mirror my GNex to my TV because chromecast doesn’t have what I want.
      I do wish Google would make a Android or Nexus stick to basically make my TV a Giant tablet with keyboard and controller support. Most of the Android sticks out there don’t seem complete and take a lot of work just to get them going, and don’t seem fitting for the average consumer like myself.