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Lunch with the Chromecast Team

There's really nothing to report, so I didn't really want to write this post, but people keep pestering me about it.

The lunch with the Chromecast team went as expected. I met with two engineers from the Chromecast WebSDK team and the developer relations. They were all happy that I had been building stuff on top of their platform. As engineers, we love it when other engineers play with the toys we create.

They were curious what I thought about the SDK, as it all came together at the buzzer right before launch. They asked whether I had more ideas for it, and were curious how I had accomplished certain things (like the HTTP server in Chrome). We shared what our "wow" moments when using the Chromecast.

They claimed that the reason for the whitelist was so that they can provide a positive user experience as the SDK changes and matures. I pointed out that Google has released beta SDKs for Android and Chrome, without a whitelist, and both of those products have grown to have billions of users. I voiced my skepticism, given that this behavior is more consistent with the Google TV program, which has been invite-only to date.

They later went on to say that they wanted to remove the whitelist, and have a "lightweight approval process" for Chromecast apps (which sounds awful lot like a whitelist). I chuckled as it seemed a bit contradictory, but didn't push further. No real timeline given on when anything would change, besides a "few months".

Most of my pointed questions were understandably met with "we can't answer that". I joked about which manufacturers they are partnering with to ship Chromecast enabled TVs in Q4; no comment.

The general sentiment from the three engineers is essentially what  was reflected in the statement to The Verge:

"We’re excited to bring more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content."

Really read that. That's not a commitment of any sort. And it doesn't alleviate my concerns about who would be able to build that. Google, a Google partner, or any indie developer?

Of course, as engineers, we would like to have as many people using our stuff as possible. And I would like a pony for my birthday tomorrow. But engineers do not drive business decisions. And I completely understand why Chromecast would not be an open platform, and that Google needs to posture in such a way to grant themselves the maximum flexibility in the future.

I don't want this post to read as if there was any animosity- there isn't. I had a great time while there, and was taken on a tour of Google Fremont. The conversation spanned several topics (outside the whitelist issue), and it was basically just a bunch of software engineers hanging out.
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55 comments
 
The lunch was the equivalent of you getting called to the principal's office. 
 
I grant you your wish for a pony. Enjoy.
 
+Ahron Darnell more like being kept by the science teacher after class because they think you're brilliant and want to pick your brain. 
 
I dont know. I think its a political thing rather than respect.
 
Ok google just release hulu plus, nfl and Amazon app
 
So the wishlist non whitelist is like a bug being a undocumented feature....  nice job for both parties....
 
Did you read the same post I did? "No animosity", "Wanted to know how I did that"? I dont see how this meeting is described that way at all. Just some smart guys having a chat about what they do. 
 
So if you had the same (or equivalent) hardware as Chromecast, running android (or CM), would it require much in the way of new software to work with AllCast?
 
+Koushik Dutta glad to see the trip went well. I can tell you have accepted (grudgingly) that Google can decide to do whatever they want but who knows, things may change in the future.
 
Thanks for the update, I was curious about their content support comments. Sadly its seems my expectations were right, they want to support all the content but are probably not going to. Now we just have to hope they don't block all the nice functionality we should have from the Chromecast.
 
+Anthony Raffini I've always accepted that they can do what they want with their own hardware. My intention from was to suss out what they were going actually do. They haven't really clarified that.
 
It sounds like you guys had a nice linguistic dance. ;)
 
+Koushik Dutta kind of weird that they invited you out there to just chit-chat. I thought the meeting might be more meaningful.
 
You don't have a pony on your yacht? 
 
Damnit! I thought they might be offering you to be the new head of Android. Oh well.
 
Just keep it Open for all of US, would you guys? Happy birthday Koush..
 
Thanks for sharing.
 
I'm sorry, but our Princess is in another castle.
 
His birthday is tomorrow guys!
 
Sign Koush up for the "lightweight approval process"...   Lets see how "lightweight" it is....  seems simple then - right?
 
Just a thought, why don't all the indie engineers who are interested in this get together and egineer a device to do all the things you wish this was.
 
Happy Birthday, how people actually get invited the Google campus? 
 
Should have used there own likes for a few questions 
 
I can't believe that some techie guys invited a fellow techie guy to talk about how said techie guy managed to pull some techie magic off on their tech item that the designers hadn't considered would be possible to. Much techie chit chat ensued and they ate food and drank coffee.... Imagine that
 
Very cool. Thank you for the update. 
 
You wouldn't understand +William Joynson, unless you're a Techie. It's a Techie thing. (Heh heh, I said "Techie")
 
Why can't I send random videos from the Chrome browser on my Android phone to Chromecast like Airplay? This is the only reason I keep  an IPad around. The browser could just send the video link to Chromecast so it wouldn't have to mirror your device? 
 
Happy birthday tomorrow. Here's hoping there's a pony in your mailbox!
 
I assume you didn't get an answer to "When will you unblock video_playback on the 'ChromeCast' receiver app"
 
So are we all pitching in to get Koush a pony?
Byron B
 
If it was me i would had kick them in the a**.
 
Then it's a good thing Koushik knows how to behave in polite society, and not commit assault on valued members of the development community, eh?
 
It sounded to me like he said he wanted a pony.  Should we pool up and get him one? :)
 
+Koushik Dutta I'm doing my best not to bring yachts into the equation, but I'm having a tough time trying to figure out how exactly Google has not managed to recruit you yet. In any case, I hope you stay independent and not beholden to any corporate master.
 
They invited you to try and shut the rest of us up about their behavior towards your app. They are planning to incorporate your apps into key lime pie and claim credit for it.
 
Thanks for the report. The app approval  is still worrying, light or not, and very Apple-like. I suggest Google to put an approval process on Android apps to see how it clicks with developers... But reading people defending Google in various comments (it's their own hardware, blabla), maybe people deserve a future where they can only use it to stream Google Music, Youtube, Netflix and 3 other approved apps from big content publishers that have stuff to sell and ads to show. Welcome to the future of computing where you'll have to ask permission to X for running Y.
 It is clear that the Verge statement is just a quick PR move to calm down the masses.
 
You can always count on Google to find a brilliant way to shoot themselves in the foot.

The problem with Chromecast is not 'distribution of unauthorized content'. The problem is market share. With that attitude, they are not going to get too much of a market share.
 
Okay. So when will be see the WebRTC streaming of cast.apk?
 
Basically it sounds like we should just get miracast dongles. Google doesn't seem ready for Chromecast to be open like Android
 
I just want to know why I can't stream video and audio podcasts from Doggcatcher, for example.  I'm VERY sure that that's legal and insinuating that streaming directly from the device to the screen should be assumed to be illegal content ignored the vast amount of non-infringing use, much like a VCR could be used for illegally copying but there's a vast non-infringing use that made them legal for home use.  (see Sony vs Universal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Corp._of_America_v._Universal_City_Studios,_Inc.).  I really wish that Google would be more like the old inventive geeky Sony of back then, not like new litigious anti-consumer Sony of today.
 
I really like the fact that Google took the pains to reach out to a non-Googler for valuable feedback! That in itself speaks volumes
 
So they didn't put u behind the bars.. right !! :)
 
No oompa-loompas singing about engineers and casts on broken things...
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