Feature Wishlist for Chromecast
It is official. I'm sold on Chromecast. The whole KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid!) concept seems to work out well. Things are smooth with all the officially supported clients. I have a 95% success rate with the Casting extensions running on the x86 release of Chromium on Linux. For software that isn't officially supported, it really isn't that bad.
I hate to whine about something so simple, but this is the Internet and that is how we do things here.
Things that I would like added to the Chromecast in order of importance.
- Ethernet Jack. I know, I know, the future is wireless. Tell that to my neighbor with a 2.4Ghz phone from a decade ago. Things are streaming great and then *splat*. Regular Youtube content just buffers, but it breaks the DRM on the content streaming from the Google Play Store. Which brings us to...
- Dual Band WiFi. Actually this is probably cheaper than adding wired Ethernet. In my neighborhood that 5GHz band is wide open and the 2.4GHz band is heavily utilized. I can imagine in a high density housing situation like an apartment complex, dormitory or condo that it would be much worse.
- Ability to use local (network) media. This is probably the most requested feature and I can see why you aren't giving it up easily. The dongle is a loss leader for folks to use your services. Even if you limited something like this to Google controlled hardware like Chromebook, I'd probably buy your hardware just to allow me the convenience. I know you can cast a whole screen including the audio (which is in beta), but I'd rather have an experience similar to what Songza provides for the Chromecast, but with my local media.
- Application Partners that don't require a login. I get it, Netflix, HBO to Go, Hulu Plus and the like are subscription services. Pandora does both subscription and free models, but why should I have to authenticate with their site to cast their service to the Chromecast. Songza has it right. Redbull.tv has it right.
- Application Wrappers for Interested third parties. An example would be a streaming audio site like SomaFM, which I enjoy. If an API wrapper were to be created that would allow anyone who is a Google Adsense vendor to cast various application from their site, with Adsense taking 1/2 or 1/3 of the screen real estate for ads and the rest for the customer, it would be a win-win situation. They would get revenue from the advertising, you (Google) wouldn't have to host the service or pay for the bandwidth and the content can be governed by the current rules of Adsense that doesn't allow it to be used for the purposes of explicit content.
- A bit more security. You know that these things are going to be used to connect large projectors to laptops at conferences and conventions, right? You made such a neat little product and people won't be able to help themselves. God help the Hello Kitty convention that has some pervert blasting Goatse images or renaming the units with the iPhone client to objectionable words that get displayed on the idle screen.
- Digital Audio Out. A minor thing. Not all of us have upgraded our HiFi systems to do HDMI switching. I take an optical output from my tv and run it into my surround sound setup. Either a coax or toslink/fiber SPDIF output would be great, but you guys are probably saving that for some sort of set top box that will make us forget GoogleTV.
Most likely your marketing guys have already figured out this stuff, but if not feel free to bring Google Fiber to my street as compensation.