GOOGLE HAS taken the frankly logical step of putting Cast functionality directly into the Chrome browser, with no need for the separate extension.
Starting in version 51, currently rolling out, there is an option to cast a single tab, or screencast, available in the Chrome menu.
Good news if you really can't wait, too, because the current stable version can be made to do the same by turning on Media Router on the chrome://flags page. If it doesn't work, hop into the Help menu and update your version.
Perhaps the most exciting part about all this is that, as well as being able to cast to the devices around the house, you will be able to cast to Hangouts. This is currently still restricted to the Beta channel, and is tied into making appointments using Google Calendar.
This is a potentially huge boon to Hangouts as a business tool, bringing functionality such as collaborative working and remote presentation to the popular platform. Beta releases never take long to reach maturity, so expect all this within the month.
Hangouts is already integrated with Calendar to allow voice calls from an appointment, but this takes it to a whole other level.
As part of the change, bitrate and resolution will now be automatically adjusted rather than giving you the option to do it yourself, and that might mean some laptops will fall foul of the dreaded Minimum Requirements troll.
The extension is still available as an alternative, so it'll be down to you which you prefer.
Casting has been a huge success for Google since the first Chromecast was launched. Since then, a second-generation model has been a huge hit, and now Google Cast is being incorporated into televisions, speakers and consoles.
Chromecast Audio allows users to create a whole-house system from existing speakers, for a fraction of the cost of a Sonos or similar.
It now appears that Google is ready to start promoting some other uses for the protocol, beyond putting things from a small screen onto a bigger screen. µ
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