Late last week, Google released a firmware update for its Google Chromecast Media Streamer and as much appreciated firmware updates are - in most cases - this update closes ways to use the Chromecast for playing local content, from an Android smartphone to the Chromecast. As Koushik Dutta, developer of AllCast, wrote on his Google Plus page, "Google's latest Chromecast update intentionally breaks AllCast. They (Google) disabled 'video_playback' support from the ChromeCast application." He continues that "I'd strongly suggest holding off on buying a Chromecast until we can see how Google chooses to move forward on third party applications. There are also other (open) platforms and stacks that one could buy/support as well."
Well, Google has released Chromecast for one very special mission - to bring approved content to the living room big screen TV. It's one of Google's countless tries to become finally visible in the living room as well. So far, all other tries, including Google TV and the Nexus X failed badly. To be as attractive as possible, Google set the Chromecast price-point on a very competing level; US$ 35 is pretty fair. However, it's speculated how much subsidization Google is putting into the Chromecast. If it's really subsidized, as rumored, it makes sense for Google not to allow 3rd parties to access the Chromecast since this might kill the revenue share from media companies like Netflix, etc.
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:
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.
For the end-user, on the other hand, it's a pretty unfortunate situation since they might not understand, that Google's Chromecast isn't another DLNA dongle which allows them to show photos and videos from their recent vacations on their big screen living room TV.
Cheers ~ Arne