Sharing your favorite content over Google’s ever-evolving Chromecast streaming stick just became a little easier. First teased at Google I/O back in June, Chromecast Guest Mode went live today, allowing Androidians to hop on to a friend’s Chromecast and cast to their heart’s content, without signing in to the local Wi-Fi network.
Grabbing the new feature is as easy as opening the Chromecast app on your Android phone or tablet, selecting Guest Mode, and sliding it on. The device then creates a “special Wi-Fi beacon” that allows users to stream to the device safely by authenticating it using some Google magic that includes inaudible audio tones. Once done, any Android device in the room is ready to “cast” content from any Chromecast-supported app.
For now, iOS devices aren’t part of the Guest Mode party, though you can bet the feature will make it to Apple’s mobile elephant in the room sooner or later.
While Guest Mode may seem like a solution without a problem, it’s one more feature in a growing list of new apps that has helped Chromecast flower into one of the most user-friendly ways to stream video to your TV on the planet. And that’s a good thing, because the little-streamer-that-could is no longer the only game in town when it comes to small streaming devices that pack a powerful punch.
Since the Chromecast hit the streaming scene in July 2013, competition has arisen in the form of two new streaming sticks with similarly meager profiles and plenty of streaming chutzpa, the Roku Streaming Stick, and the new Fire Stick from Amazon. While each has its own special sauce that makes it an appealing alternative, including access to upwards of 1,700 apps from Roku’s device and console-style gaming from the Fire Stick, neither offers the unique mobile based casting that makes Chromecast so special.