It seems like Google has their hand in a little bit of everything these days. Whatever they try, whether it is designing massive search engines or building self-driving cars, they excel at it. As someone who has used their tablets, laptops, software, and phones, I can honestly say that they build good products. The only realm they have fallen short in is the business world.
Now let me clear something up, many businesses use Google Docs for file sharing, or Google Drive for storing documents. Perhaps they even rolled out Android tablets for staff. I have even been to large organizations that choose Gmail over traditional email products like Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird. However, the majority of workplaces I have been in, both professionally and just visiting, I have seen traditional office environments without much Google presence. With that said, I see that possibly changing with the Chromecast. Why you ask? Because I bought one and all I could think was “I need 3 more of these.”
For those of you not familiar with this little device, let me fill you in. The Chromecast is a device you plug into your TV via HDMI. It powers over a USB to your TV or to a power adapter. You hook it up to your wireless network, and almost any device on that network can share content to it through specific programs.
Right now the device is pretty limited, streaming is only allowed through a select few applications, including Netflix and Youtube. However the Chrome browser allows you to use a function called “Cast this tab” which shows whatever you are actively browsing on the screen, almost like a mirrored 2nd monitor. This adds a whole realm of functionality to the device.
The device works with any laptop running the Chrome Browser, any iOS 6.0 or higher device, and any Android 2.3 or greater device. The device also only runs at a shockingly low price of $35.00. Chromecast was incredibly easy to setup, and I have yet to encounter any problems with it. Here is where I see its potential business use. At its low price point and high usability and compatibility, these would be easy to deploy in mass throughout meeting rooms in a business environment. Imagine being able to have multiple people in a meeting at a conference table, all a click away from sharing their data without ever having to hook up to a projector.
Right now the application may be a little limited sure, but we know how quickly these things can develop. The potential is what has caught my eye, and I see them becoming a useful tool in the coming year.