Would you buy...
Buying Google Chromecast is like buying a new car, where after the first 100 km the manufacturer decides to remove one of the wheels.
The Chocolate Factory has decided Chromecast was a little too capable, it seems. The developers of the Fling app, which allowed users to stream local content via Google's video dongle, are complaining that a recent software update has killed it. Fling isn't the only app to get find itself rolling in the dust after being …
Buying Google Chromecast is like buying a new car, where after the first 100 km the manufacturer decides to remove one of the wheels.
As I read it, it's like they take one of your regular wheels, while wanting you to replace it with one of THEIR wheels at a "very reasonable" subscription charge. Drive by our rules and conditions or not at all.
Not really, I have an Apple TV and a few iPads for the kids. We made a stop motion video the other day with some dancing dolls (StopMotion3 IIRC). Encoded it into whatever Apple used and displayed it on the TV. The kids loved seeing it there.
So whilst Apple and Google can be complete twats in somethings (Try syncing iCoud contacts with Google Mail Contacts without copying them to your Mac first), Apple do allow you to throw local content to the TV. I quite fancied one of the chromecase things to update my TV, stuff Google, I'll pass.
Google is very quickly becoming a pretty shitty company. I can remember those halycon days of 'Do No Evil' and Google would 'do the right thing'. No longer. The nice thing is that in ten years time they could be dead and buried as other companies start to eat their lunch. I'm old enough to remember IBM and how massive they were, then how they almost wen bankrupt and how they've risen from the ashes. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
IBM never nearly went bancrupt. They had plenty of money washing around even in their darkest days in the mid '90s.
It suited them to have a few bad year's results so that they could take some large tax write-downs and not get hammered for their extensive employee shedding exercises.
If you go back to the published results from the mid-90s, and read between the lines, there was still profit being made, money and assets in the bank. It's just that their transformational restructuring costs could be counted as a loss as far as the bottom line was concerned. IBM has some very skilled financial engineers.
Anybody who thinks that IBM is anything other than a quiet giant should look at their share price. Investors are confident, and IBM has irons in more fires than any other IT company. It's just that companies like Microsoft and Apple in particular have inflated value because of various flavour-of-the-month products. I would trust IBM to still be around when Apple have run out of ideas and the PC wave is over and Microsoft are just a patent troll.
And to think I used to think that IBM were the enemy! Either they've got better, or I've just mellowed.
Perhaps. But judging by the sales, it seems people *like* the way Apple operates or, at least, don't object. Given how much more profitable it is to have your own successful ecosystem it would be irresponsible to their shareholder not to try an emulate Apple. Don't get me wrong, I have no Apple produce because, to me, they really don't taste good. But I were the CEO of a major software company I'd feel obliged to cover my butt on this one.
More like, i add functionality by some third party unsupported hack, then complain because it stops working. Would you blame the car company, or the one who based their product on an unofficial unsupported hack?
If you want the product based on its sdk support, the sensible buyer advice is to wait until the sdk is released. Making a judgement now either way makes no sense. And for ppl who don't care, the functionality advertised by Google hasn't been broken, so your analogy is invalid.
Actually buying a Chromecast is like buying a razor-blade handle, it's incredibly cheap but the maker expects you to keep on buying expensive blades that only fit that handle for ever and ever. Making your own blades or buying cheap Hong Kong knockoffs is not part of their marketing plan.
Old Smelly 'cause he doesn't have Gillette moments.
Chromecast was advertised as being able to stream from providers such as Pandora and Netflix, or from Chrome. After "the wheel was removed" it can stream from providers such as Pandora and Netflix, or from Chrome. The functionality you can no longer do was provided by 3rd party developers after Chromecast was reverse engineered.
So a better analogy would be...
Buying Google Chromecast is like buying a new car, where after the first 100 km it does exactly what it says on the tin, but the seat cover you bought doesn't fit.
That's the truth, but it doesn't mean you have to stop hating Google (so no rabid downvoting please).
Google does seem to operate a "Tough Sh*t" update policy.
Whether it's the removal of the Navigation app (built in to maps now), or the nasty pastel colours on gmail contacts, who know's what my phone is going to change to tomorrow. Yay!
It's good to know that having a Nexus device though that I'll be able to get barely tested OS updates when they come out.
(I've been a big fan of Android, I've got respect for iOS and Windows Phone, but Android offered me the free satellite navigation I wanted at the time. I'm now more open to being wooed by another phone OS than ever before and I'm looking at Ubuntu in particular.)
Is one extra click to get to navigation really that much of a big deal? Th enew navigation seems far better IMHO. Better options to choose your route, delay avoidance, better alerts etc
Apps that auto-launch navigation still auto launch it and start navigating automatically (just tried it on the app I wrote). So you could easily put a third party search and nav launcher on there.
I'm very wary of updating anything on my galaxy tablet for exactly these reasons, it seems to be about 50 / 50 as to whether an update is an improvement, or removes functionality I had come to depend on (not just google apps either, pretty much everything from the play store)
I was however pleasantly surprised when I dared to update youtube the other day. They seem to have finally gotten round to respecting your autorotate settings, so I can prop the thing up in bed and not have to watch my video at 1/4 the normal size. Now all we need is proper support for comments.
It's annoying, though most TVs on sale today already play local content, and there are plenty of other solutions for that. But the streaming functionality, and mirroring displays, is less easy, and at $35 I'd buy it just for that. It does mean it won't kill off smart tvs, but it was stupid to claim that in the first page.
My TV is perfect for DNLA (Panasonic uses Access DNLA software).
It has some apps but I don't use any of them other than sometimes Netflix.
Being forced to use chrome is not worth it for me.
(If it just acted as a network screen in the correct way for all OS's it would be better.)
Google were ok when what they wanted and what I wanted aligned but it no longer does in any real way shape or form.
Quite, the only ones promising the functionality were those apps, and they are the ones ppl should be annoyed at for offering functionality that then disappears. Was this using the official 3rd party sdk? I thought that hadn't been released yet. As a developer, i wouldn't expect to base something on an unsupported api, then go crying when my app breaks.
I hope they do add the official sdk, with local streaming. But even without any such support, it still seems a bargain for what it does now.
"Was this using the official 3rd party sdk? I thought that hadn't been released yet."
There is an SDK, but it is clearly marked as being in beta:
"Warning: The current Google Cast SDK is a preview SDK intended for development and testing purposes only, not for production apps. Google may change this SDK significantly prior to the official release of the Google Cast SDK. We strongly recommend that you do not publicly distribute any application using this preview SDK, as this preview SDK will no longer be supported after the official SDK is released (which will cause applications based only on the preview SDK to break)."
Google ads are still unobtrusive! They don't put ads in Netflix on Chromecast, so do you think that will also get the chop? In fact, the only thing to get the chop is an undocumented API which delivered unadvertised functionality. There was nothing stopping them playing an advert before any locally stored video if they really wanted to, but that's not what Chromecast is about.
I don't see any benefit at all for Google in doing this. So what if people stream content from their local machines?
They're crippling a device for no good reason at all and it will generate a lot of negativity and ill will which could have been avoided. I hope it's a mistake since it would instantly turn me off the idea of owning one.
"make a simple Raspberry pi distro that performs what they need the device to do."
I'm not an expert in the field, but wouldn't RaspBMC (or similar) do much of the necessary?
"Raspbmc is a minimal Linux distribution based on Debian that brings XBMC to your Raspberry Pi. This device has an excellent form factor and enough power to handle media playback, making it an ideal component in a low HTPC setup, yet delivering the same XBMC experience that can be enjoyed on much more costly platforms. Raspbmc is brought to you by the developer of the Crystalbuntu Linux Distribution, which brings XBMC and 1080p decoding to the 1st generation Apple TV."
(continues at http://www.raspbmc.com/about/)
I did not expect this from Google. Why would they do this as it only hurts them. These third party apps allow users to do things that aren't possible as standard and thus the product because more justifiable. I won't be buying this now as I only ever wanted it because it played local content.
That mantra should read:
The Cloud exists. We have need for working broadband
The Cloud exists. You have need for working broadband
The Cloud exists. They have need for working broadband
The Cloud exists. I have need for working broadband
Not so nice when the broadband connection has multi-hour outages as on my vacation in Italy. Long live my local media.
For some reason Chrome doesn't appear to have an option to automatically clear browsing history. It also seems they recently removed the option to view only a certain frame. My impression is now that Google has a popular browser, it is slowly taking features away from users. If I am wrong about any of the above feel free to correct me.
Back when I used to use Chrome (don't anymore for obvious reasons) I actually found a way around this (along with getting rid of the bloody annoying "New Tab" page in Chrome). I'm not sure if this still works, though. Give it a shot if you've got some time to spare.
In the registry and in HKCU navigate to "Software\Policies\Google\Chrome" (you will likely need to create these appropriate keys) and create a string named "IncognitoModeAvailability" and give it a value of "2".
"0" means "Available", "1" means "Disabled" and "2" means "Forced".
I discovered this as this feature was made available in the Chrome GPO Administrative Template. You will notice that it's impossible to "Always Force" Incognito in Chrome otherwise. Obviously, as it clears all cookies and browsing history and et cetera. And no cookies means no ad revenue for Google. For most part. This registry value (normally applied through the Chrome GPO Administrative Template) was obviously added as a way for Google to "please" enterprise administrators while keeping it out of sight of most other users.
Also, when using Incognito, the "New Tab" page is replaced with an Incognito notice and thus eliminates the "New Tab" page altogether.
Now, I'm aware that it's possible to add a command line argument to a Chrome shortcut to launch Chrome in Incognito. It's a half-arsed solution though as your Chrome shortcut isn't called when you open a link from your E-Mail client, for example.
BE WARNED however that Chrome is notorious for maintaining "browsing history" in its various caches and databases even after you have cleared it and even when using Incognito. As I no longer have Chrome installed I can't provide you with the details. However, visit any webpage in Chrome, clear your browsing history, and grep your local Chrome directory within your Windows user profile with the name of the site you've just visited. You'll get what I mean.
Again, I'm not sure if any of this has been "fixed" since I last used the browser. But you get my point.
I don't know about Chrome, but SRWare Iron still supports the --incognito-mode startup switch.
And/or combined with Sandboxie, any files changed during a session are toasted afterwards, so you don't have to play hunt the cache.
I was considering a Chromecast but it doesn't support 802.1x EAP TLS and I'm buggered if I'm going to downgrade my WiFi for it....
"This, however, does not address the cavalier treatment not just of third party developers, but also of customers: having taken the money and sold the product, the Chocolate View has decided to change its capabilities."
Now, I don't agree with any features being removed from devices after launch, like the OtherOS option however Google never advertised that you could play local files so they are not changing capabilities. The developers used an undocumented hack to get around a part of the SDK, they knew it was just a hack and a few developers had stated at the time that it was unlikely to carry on working. At the moment no apps for Chromecast are allowed to be published and the SDK is in Beta and subject to change regularly.
Google have never said that the Chromecast would be open for hacking.
It's very easy to feel "entitled" but in reality it's a $35 device that was designed to cast content from the internet. There is probably some very strict requirements from content providers that provide a licence for allowing their content to be seen in HD on the device - like it or not if the content producers refuse a licence to any software that allows to cast to Chromecast then all the apps like Netflix will stop supporting it and it'll be dead in the water.
Everyone knows how powerful the content providers in America can be and unfortunately for any company they have to pander to them somewhat, regardless of how shortsighted their attitude is (e.g. making Lovefilm use Silverlight, therefore breaking it on Android and Linux).
It may be a loss of a nice hack but in reality - miracast, an HDMI lead or any number of cheap devices will allow you to stream local content.
Can't imagine why people should feel "entitled" to do what they like with hardware they own, especially as it has been demonstrated to be perfectly capable of streaming local content and has since had this feature artificially restricted. (tbh, I had assumed this was it primary purpose, and would have brought one based on this assumption)
and do we know if this feature was undocumented in the first place? If it was made available through a SDK then possibly it may not have been undocumented? If Google did make this feature 'freely available' through the SDK then they should be obliged to support the feature. In fact they should be obliged to support it documented or not if the feature was available through their provided SDK and at least give fair notice to developers that the feature in question would be made not available so that they could revise their software to no longer make use of the feature.
"I, and a few other developers, managed to reverse engineer the Chromecast tab protocol to piggy back this to deliver local content."
They never advertised it as being able to stream local content other than through Chrome.
Not seen anything to say the cast your browser tab in Chrome will not work. If you install videolan I believe you should be able to play local content in your browser. Obviously doesn't help for sending content direct from your mobile device but at least there is a solution for now... while we still can't buy the device... oh.
Just to add my 2c to this, when the Chromecast was announced they said they were releasing an SDK for everyone to play with their and then, that implies that CC integration is going to be pretty commonplace across various apps and we're going to be able to do whatever we want with it, even if I have to build an app to do X myself because it doesn't exist or isn't allowed on the play store for whatever reason, but now they're saying if you aren't a big media company then bugger off, making the freely available SDK somewhat pointless...
chromecast is just the first of many for those who haven't heard yet. For those who have heard (which should be all of you reading this) spend a leetle more, rk3188 (up to 1.8ghz quad core). enjoy. ebay or amazon, course it ships with droid, but linux compat is on the up and up for rockchips, a month after i emailed them (to the day) they released some linux code. whoot.
Google never promoted this device as a device able to play local content. I was surprise the API even included such capabilities as it seems quite clear from Google announcement that they wasn't intending to support local content with this device. That was one of the complaints about the device.
I like the idea of the chromecast, but when i saw it, as with any shiny new toy i thought i would wait for the fall out and see what happens on v2.
Meanwhile, i sleep soundly knowing that in a few short weeks or months, i will be able to buy a chinese knock off at maybe $20... not sure why people are fussing, or are they seriously surprised by this kind of behaviour? (in which case, i can only say, get over it and find something worthwhile to exert your energy on rather than ranting and raving when a bear sh*ts in the woods).
That people associcated this with something akin to opensource. This device was such an obvious attempt by Google get its hands on the TV market. My guess is, in there mind, they realized going forward people will still want to consume media on a TV, but the delivery of that content needed to change. I think they wanted to get theses device in all the home and by-pass TV content providers eventually lessing thier hold on a tightly locked market.
I wouldn't doubt many younger and/or tech savy people, like myself, don't have cable and get most of anything they watch thought streaming. I think Google was trying to remove the requirement of having a computer hooked up to dislay that content, but in order to play nice with those content providers that are on board with them, having local stream to your TV was "bad for business".
I guess I see this device more like DVD player, it does this one thing, and if you want a local media streaming you need to buy a different device. I do agree though that wider adoption would be had if Google would play better with the Dev's.
...that's hardly fair, to boast about how wonderful your little dongle is. Then after a few weeks you decide to cripple features that were available after developers had used them making their app's either non-functional or less functional.
Is that the smell of a wildfire burning in them there hills or is it just the smell of Google worried about content providers taking them through the courts. Maybe they have already been threatened with court action and quickly cripped their device and wrecked the 3rd party providers.
while most of the angst here appears to be somewhat misplaced, your situation is even more foolish. I'll admit it's somewhat annoying that google has revoked a feature that made the device far more useful (albeit an undocumented feature), but it was quite clear at launch that this sort of direct steaming was not supported. in fact, this was my primary holdup (though I ended up buying one anyway, once I realized that for the price it really doesn't matter what it can or cannot do).
“The policy seems to be a heavy handed approach, where only approved content will be played through the device. The Chromecast will probably not be indie developer friendly.”
THIS is what it's really all about. Since the first commercial websites went on-line, it's always been about trying to control it. (the Internet)
Ask AOL how that worked out.
I'm shocked Google has forgotten this lesson. This is the kind stupidity I expect from Facedook or Microsoft.
An API is in beta, and function is broken after an update.
Reason #1 : somewhere a subroutine has been renamed, the parameters passed to a subroutine have been rearranged, or something of that ilk - and the changes have not been reflected in the broken function. The error will likely be corrected in a future beta release.
Reason #2 : the API has been intentionally 'crippled' to screw with paying customers and to adhere with an unwritten company policy of Evil that rivals the plot of Da Vinci Code.
Which do you think more likely?
Quote from Google:
We’re excited to bring more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content. It's still early days for the Google Cast SDK, which we just released in developer preview for early development and testing only. We expect that the SDK will continue to change before we launch out of developer preview, and want to provide a great experience for users and developers before making the SDK and additional apps more broadly available.
He never said marketed features were. What he said was that they crippled the product after people already have it.
Let me make this simple for you:
Something that used to work, now doesn't.
That is because of a change google made, It appears to be intentional to change how people are using something they paid for.
This change was made after people already had paid them for it.
Removing a feature people are legitimately using in an "update" without telling them what you are doing is bad customer service. Period. Not having advertised that feature is irrelevant. Most importantly, it's a good way to ensure the product is a failure.
"I don't like things that turn into crippleware AFTER it's introduced to [market]."
Surely the product which was introduced to the market is all that matters, and that product is exactly the same product as the buyers now have, with the same functionality. The function which was removed was not being legitimately used, was not advertised and was not documented. They are under no obligation to support it.
"We’re excited to bring more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content. It's still early days for the Google Cast SDK, which we just released in developer preview for early development and testing only. We expect that the SDK will continue to change before we launch out of developer preview, and want to provide a great experience for users and developers before making the SDK and additional apps more broadly available. So no need to fear!" link