One of the most frustrating things about Google’s $35 streaming dongle, the Chromecast, is that you can’t stream your own local files to your TV. Programmer extraordinaire Koushik Dutta built a third-party Android App called AllCast, which allows users to stream local files from their phone to their HDTV using the Chromecast – enabling users to cast pretty much anything and everything. The app had yet to appear on Google Play, but according to a Google+ post from Dutta today, Google is purposefully disabling support for AllCast in its latest Chromecast software update.
Dutta suggests holding off on buying a Chromecast until Google makes clear what its plans for third-party applications will be. “The policy seems to be a heavy handed approach, where only approved content will be played through the device,” Dutta said in his post. “The Chromecast will probably not be indie developer friendly. The Google TV team will likely only whitelist media companies.”
Still, Google’s Chromecast will likely gain more media partners, going from just being able to play content from Netflix, Google Play Music and Movies, and YouTube, to (presumably) being able to play HBO content, music from Pandora, Hulu content, and more. So, the device is actually still pretty handy. Can it fling your home movies shot on your phone straight to your TV? No; not unless you upload them to YouTube first. Can you listen to music that you bought and loaded onto your phone? No; not unless you’re a paying member of Google Play Music. So, there are obviously some use cases where being able to stream your own files would be very helpful. But it’s also obvious why Google is putting the breaks on third-party apps like AllCast: it wants Chromecast users to use Google products.
And when Google’s selling the Chromecast for only $35, can we blame the company for putting the kibosh on apps that will sidestep YouTube, Google Play Music, and Google+ Photos? No, but it’s still fun to complain. Google still hasn’t said whether the Chromecast will eventually allow users to stream local content, so if that’s a huge deal-breaker for you, you’ll want to keep waiting before you buy your Chromecast.