Chromecast Update to Include Android Mirroring and More

New updates coming to the almost year old Chromecast will make it easier to "cast" content to Google’s popular TV dongle as well as bring new features. Most notably Android mobile users will be able to mirror their device to Chromecast, wirelessly displaying the phone or tablet’s screen on the TV. Already available in beta testing, mirroring will open up streaming options, making it possible to view photos, play games, and stream from sources other than Chromecast-compatible apps. This strays from the Chromecast’s current casting abilities that have exclusively used DIAL (Discovery and Launch). With DIAL, a user finds a video in a compatible phone or tablet app, and the Chromecast receives the URL of the chosen video.

Another feature will make it easier for your friends to cast videos from their phones to Chromecast. Rather than going through the hassle of connecting to Wi-Fi, it will be possible to cast from a phone via the cellular network. Android phones (presumably running the upcoming Android “L” operating system) will automatically find a Chromecast in its proximity.

“Backdrop” is another feature that will be added to the Chromecast. When the dongle is idle, classic museum art or photos can be displayed. Of course when the screen is blank, you could turn off the TV, but Google believes you would be missing an opportunity to use your TV screen as the “biggest framed art in your house.” When you display famous paintings from the Getty and other national galleries, your phone or tablet will know what is being shown and automatically display educational information about a specific work.

In addition to museum art, you can choose from a number of photo categories—landscapes, animals, sports, etc.—or display personal photos stored in a Google Plus photo account. Once you've selected a category, images display in slideshow fashion at an interval you set

Backdrop and the other Chromecast features will be available later this summer.