On Wednesday, Google officially launched Chromecast at the company’s breakfast event in San Francisco.
The product was introduced by Google VP of Product Management Mario Queiroz, and demonstrated by Director of Product Management Rishi Chandra.
As the name suggests, it’s powered by Chrome and is designed to bring Google’s browser/OS to the biggest screen in the house – your television.
The device itself is a small HDMI USB like stick that allows you to project any browser tab to your TV. From sharing your family photos to enjoying a video clip from your favorite news site, it’s as simple as pressing a button. Desktops connected to the same network can also act as a controller. Click the cast button, the video will play and the computer will continue to play the media as it does other tasks. In other words, Chromecast synchronizes media playback across multiple devices, making it possible for you to launch the playback of a Netflix movie on your TV with the help of your phone, then turn off that phone and launch the app on your iPad to pause the movie.
It works with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Music, with more apps like Pandora coming soon.
Chromecast comes with built-in support not only for Google devices but also for Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Chrome browser on Macs and PCs. That means that nearly every television can now get a Google upgrade — a major shift for the competitive landscape, analysts said.
The device which costs just $35 appears to be a hit with consumers — it has sold out on Amazon.com and Best Buy’s online store less than 24 hours after going on sale. As of mid-morning, it was still available at the Google Play store and at some Best Buy stores.
But what truly has made Chromecast appealing is its $35 price tag. That’s a little more than one third of the price of its main rival, the $99 Apple TV. . Add in Chromecast’s free three-month subscription to Netflix, a value of about $24, and it’s easy to see why customers are snatching it up.