Google’s TV-Streaming Stick Chromecast Just Got Even Sexier

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Google’s Chromecast TV-streaming device now has some new features that will make life even easier for its users.

Chromecast now features a broad swathe of apps—a huge difference from the measly selection it had when it launched last summer. Another 10,000 are on the way. So Google is offering a new way to sift through Chromecast apps by offering a Web page that organizes them.

Users can also connect to nearby Chromecast devices through the cloud. In other words, people can cast to your TV without needing the password for your Wi-Fi network. An opt-in feature, it will roll out to all Android devices this year, although developers can access that functionality through the Google Cast SDK, which Google has just updated.

Other changes include a new “ambient experience” called Backdrop. This allows users to add their own photos directly from from Android devices. You can also select art, places, news or weather to grace your living room screen.

Last but not least, the streaming device will mirror the screen of your Android device to the TV.

Chromecast won’t be the only device getting all this joy, however. All Android TVs integrate with the Cast SDK, which means that all of these features will be available in smart televisions, set-top boxes and other devices as well.

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