Google caused a stir at the “Breakfast with Sundar” event, by releasing the Chromecast; a small dongle that plugs into the back of your TV, allowing you to stream content from any device. It is worth noting that this little dongle will cost you only $35.

The Chromecast looks very similar to a normal USB thumb drive that plugs into a laptop. It runs off a simplified version of Google’s Chrome OS and has 256k of memory. The dongle is plugged into a HDTVs HDMI port, connects to a home Wi-Fi network and then acts as a gateway for content stored on your mobile devices, casting them onto your TV.

Google Chromecast Dongle

Google has said that it wants all of the devices you own to work with your TV. “We will not force you to have to use the same OS on all of your devices,” Google TV VP Mario Queiroz said during the event.

The Chromecast can run on Android tablets and smartphones, iPads and iPhones and Chrome for Mac and Windows. However if you have a Blackberry or Windows phone then unfortunately it won’t work, you will have to use a tablet or PC instead.

Apps That Work With Chromecast

So far there are only a handful of partners which include Netflix, YouTube, Google Play and Chrome. During the press event Google demoed Pandora but so far that app Chromecast integration has not been officially added.

For now gaming is not possible using the Chromecast. Sundar Pichai said in an interview with AllThingsD, that Chromecast will have too much latency for gaming. It is safe to say even for media to be streamed smoothly, a reliable Wi-Fi connection will be necessary.

Some may think that other streaming media devices like Roku, are already way ahead of the Chromecast. However, Pichai told AllThingsD that he feels this will change.

“I fully expect more partners to join us, because it makes a lot of sense for their content to be seen on the television,” said Pichai. So, it’s only a matter of time before Spotify and HBO add Chromecast buttons to their UIs, allowing its users to “fling,” as Pichai calls it, content from their device to their TV.

Chromecast, Apple TV or Roku?

So if you had to choose between Chromecast, Apple TV or Roku, what is the best option?

Well Roku has access to the most content but it is missing YouTube. Apple TV has access to most of the same channels as Roku but can access YouTube. But it does lack Amazon Instant Video. Chromecast comes in third place when it comes to content, as mentioned earlier it still has limited access, mainly due to the fact that it is new.

Google has however made its software developer kit available, allowing developers to add Chromecast integration in to their app.

When it comes to price, the Chromecast wins hands down costing $35, compared to the Apple TV’s $100 price tag and Roku’s starting price of $50 . So as more companies add the Chromecast button to their apps, it won’t be a difficult decision to make.

The Chromecast went on sale immediately after the announcement at the press event and sold out quickly. If you want to get your hands on one, then they are available to buy via Google Play, Amazon.com and Best Buy.

[Image via mashable]

SOURCE: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/chromecast-features/