Google’s Chromecast is a $35 media streaming device designed to let you stream content from YouTube, Netflix, and other online video sites to a TV. But independent developers have been spending the past few weeks teaching the Chromecast new tricks, such as streaming videos from your Android phone’s gallery or from your PC hard drive straight to you TV.
This weekend Google put and end to that with a software update that prevented all of those apps from working properly.
But Google says in the future there may be official support for streaming local content.
Developers like Koushik Dutta and Leon Nicholls had created tools to let users stream local content to a Chromecast over a WiFi network. But they did this without using Google’s official SDK for the Chromecast — so it’s not surprising that a software update from Google could have interfered with the way those apps worked.
While it seemed like the move was entirely intentional — and possibly designed to placate copyright holders who might have been nervous about a device that streamed video not just from approved apps, but potentially from any Android app, Google released a statement to The Verge suggesting that this may be more a case of an SDK that’s still just very much under development.
Google officials say they’re “excited to being more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content.”
All told, the Chromecast platform still isn’t free or open source software, and therefore it may not be as easy to develop apps for as Android or Chromium. But it looks like Google may not be planning to crack down on apps that stream local content — but it also doesn’t officially support them just yet.