Chromecast is a game changer

There’s a battle going on for your custom and loyalty, and Chromecast is a key weapon in that battle. The TV and movies you watch are an important battleground for a diverse variety of tech players including Google, as well as BT, Sky and Virgin, Apple, Samsung and Microsoft, Amazon and more.

These companies became successful o ering di erent types of products in vastly di erent markets. But the internet is a unifying force, and so we fi nd that a phone company (BT) is in an expensive battle with a TV company (Sky) to provide your broadband and TV. They won’t both win.

They understand that in the future we are all likely to invest our time and money in just one or two providers, expecting in return digital entertainment and communications, connectivity and storage, home automation and hardware. Those companies listed won’t all be independent entities in a decade. Thus we fi nd the search-engine company fi ghting with all of the above to control all of your digital life.

Google started out as a free-to-use, ad-supported search engine. Now it is the owner of the biggest smartphone platform by volume in Android, and the biggest TV broadcaster in YouTube. Its tentacles reach into most of our lives as the provider of email, storage, productivity software and more. It sells apps, music and movies via Google Play, and recently it invested in the Nest homeautomation service. Google wants you to use an Android phone and a Chrome laptop, but most of all Google wants you to use it and not its rivals.

Chromecast is cheap, very easy to use, and it doesn’t trap you into a long-term contract. It doesn’t tie you to a particular TV maker. It also provides a better smart TV service than you likely get from your Samsung- or Sony TV.

Unlike a traditional smart TV Chromecast will get regular software updates, and will always o er access to a wide variety of content sources. It’s also easy to search, allowing you to type out or speak search terms into a smartphone, and – being Google – understanding semantic search terms: you can ask it to fi nd ‘World War II documentaries’ or ‘sports shows’ rather than having to know the specifi c names of the programmes you want to watch.

The Chromecast is a potential game changer because it o ers for a small price a great way to access a lot of digital TV, without tying you to a particular provider. It’s an impulse buy that you will be unlikely ever to regret making. But paradoxically it o ers Google a way into the most important screen in the house, which furthers ties you into its clammy embrace.

Chromecast: the gadget that changes everything