Google’s Chromecast director of product management, Rishi Chandra, has told TechRadar that he is thrilled by the potential of his product as it finally makes its debut outside of the US.
The streaming dongle has been a big hit in the States, and is now launching elsewhere, including the UK, with Chandra telling us that he simply ‘couldn’t wait any longer’ to widen the device’s reach.
“It’s been nine months, but to be completely honest we were completely overwhelmed by its popularity in the US and we had to get the partnerships done in other countries in order to bring a great service,” he explained.
One of the big uniques selling points of Chromecast – especially against direct rival services in the UK like Sky’s Now TV box and Roku – is the ability to ‘cast’ web pages and therefore potentially other video services.
It’s a service that is currently in beta, and is actively blocked by some rivals: trying to watch the UK’s Sky Go web service through casting works for the video in a small window but is blocked from going full-screen for instance.
“The main reason its labelled as beta is because it needs a good Wi-Fi connection to work properly,” added Chandra.
“We’re working hard to make it work better, but if your Wi-Fi connection is not good enough then it affects things.”
One minor fear for the Chromecast’s more open approach – essentially using partner apps to provide content – is the lack of a unified user interface. Finding a film in YouTube in different from making one play in Netflix or the iPlayer app.
Chandra hopes that the ever-present ‘cast’ button assuages some of this – you know that if you press the cast button it will do what you expect.
“I don’t want to tell our partners how to design their UI,” he added. “I’m not going to say I’m cleverer than the guys at Netflix at giving people the experience that they want.”
One thing that is exciting Chandra is what the world’s developers can do with the Chromecast following Google’s decision to offer out the SDK.
“I can’t wait to see what people will do,” he said. “I’m sure they will come up with features we haven’t even thought of.”