Chrome Beta saw an update yesterday, which is usually not a big deal. Bug fixes and other minor tweaks are normal, but this one added something special. This time, one enterprising sleuth found a neat little addition. It seems we’ll have the ability to stream to our Chromecast right from our mobile browser!
One underutilized part of Chrome Beta is flags. Via a tipster to Android Police, we see that once Chrome Beta has updaed, you can go to chrome://flags/ and search for Enable experimental Chromecast support. If you can’t find it, or don’t want to search, just add #enable-cast to the end of chrome://flags/. You’l have to select it, which will bring up a prompt at the bottom of the screen to restart Chrome Beta. Once you restart, you can start streaming from the mobile browser.
We gave it a shot, and it’s not bad. Keeping in mind that it is a beta product, we think it’s a decent utility already. It worked pretty well with YouTube videos, as a Chromecast icon was placed at the top right. Once launched to a Chromecast, it did take about 30 seconds before it was ready to go, but video played seamlessly. Your mobile device still controls the functionality, of course. The video in the mobile browser freezes, but the red slider across the bottom remains active, so you can speed forward and such.
We also tried it on a website not using youTube for their videos. It wasn’t clear that Chromecast would work, until we blew the video up to full screen. Once we did that, the Chromecast icon popped up. Again, not the most seamless experience, but it’s beta, and actually pretty good considering that. We’re also pretty sure nobody would be happy with Google planting a Chromecast button on any page with video, so we’ll gladly take the compromise here.
Chromecast, neatly tucked away into a mobile browser. This feature has much more reach than apps, as it’s giving you video more widely available. We like it, and think you will, too — but don’t get too excited. Beta products aren’t fully developed, meaning bugs are likely. Even with that, we’re still going to screw around with it a lot.