Sure, Google’s Chromecast might have Chrome right in the name, but if you want to stream content from your browser to your TV using the device, you have to install the Google Cast extension. Now it seems that won’t remain the case for much longer.
Google “happiness evangelist” François Beaufort posted a screenshot to Google+ yesterday, noting that the company is experimenting with building Chromecast support directly into Chrome without the need for the Google Cast extension. With this, users can simply right click on a page and select “Cast” from the menu, immediately mirroring the content on their TV.
This new feature isn’t yet available in the standard release of Chrome, and Beaufort didn’t provide any hints on when it may arrive. If you just can’t wait to try out the new feature, it is available for users of the Google Chrome beta.
Even in the beta, the new Chromecast functionality isn’t enabled by default, but it’s fairly simply to turn the new feature on. Simply navigate to chrome://flags/#media-router and enable the experimental “Media Router” flag. Now you should have the new feature enabled.
The Media Router is a new component of Chrome that Beaufort outlined in a Google+ post early last year, saying it would be responsible for “matching clients that wish to render content outside the browser with devices and endpoints capable of rendering that content.”
“Yes, we’re talking Google Cast here but not only,” Beaufort wrote. “Mirroring locally rendered content to external screens, including on-screen and off-screen tabs, Chrome apps windows, and the system desktop.”
The functionality may not be so different at the core level, but with Chromecast support built directly into the browser, Google’s streaming machine becomes a much more attractive option for those who aren’t exactly tech-savvy. And even for those comfortable under the hood of a computer, one less necessary extension can’t be a bad thing.