Google (News - Alert) Chromecast, $35 dongle that lets users stream various content sources to the TV, is going through some growing pains. This week a developer that created an app to stream personal media and local content to a TV via the device found himself stymied by the search giant.
Developer Koushik Dutta reverse-engineered the code for the Chromecast app (required to interface with the dongle), and, using the beta version of the Chromecast SDK, created the AllCast application, to play back files stored in a phone's gallery, Dropbox (News - Alert) or Google Drive. After a few beta versions he was gearing up to submit it to the Google Play store, but Google then issued a Chromecast update that essentially disables the “video_playback” support for the application.
Dutta was less than enthused by the turn of events, given the amount of work that he has put into his creation. He took to his Google+ page to lay it out: “Heads up. Google's latest Chromecast update intentionally breaks AllCast…Given that this is the second time they've purposefully removed/disabled the ability to play media from external sources, it confirms some of my suspicions that I have had about the Chromecast developer program.”
He added, “The policy seems to be a heavy handed approach, where only approved content will be played through the device. The Chromecast will probably not be indie developer friendly. The Google TV team will likely only whitelist media companies.”
His points certainly looked valid, particularly since on paper (i.e. in the app description on iTunes), Chromecast only supports Netflix, YouTube (News - Alert) and other Google-owned content repositories like the Play and Chrome stores. But Google told the Verge that the issue was not intentional but rather just part of getting the SDK ready for primetime.
“We’re excited to bring more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content,” the search giant said in an official statement. “It's still early days for the Google Cast SDK, which we just released in developer preview for early development and testing only. We expect that the SDK will continue to change before we launch out of developer preview, and want to provide a great experience for users and developers before making the SDK and additional apps more broadly available.”
For now, developers may want to exercise caution before pouring resources into building apps for the Chromecast dongle.
Edited by Alisen Downey