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Google’s new Chromecast device is shown by Mario Queiroz, vice president for product management, on Wednesday, in San Francisco. (Associated Press)
Google’s new Chromecast device is shown by Mario Queiroz, vice president for product management, on Wednesday, in San Francisco. (Associated Press)

Google’s latest gadget for HD screen views

Chromecast plugs into television, streams video from Internet

SAN FRANCISCO – Making a new move into Internet television, Google Inc. on Wednesday said it will start selling a $35 gadget that will plug into a high-definition TV and stream video from Netflix, YouTube and other sources.

The 2-inch device, dubbed Chromecast, is aimed at replacing set-top boxes and can be controlled by both Android and Apple smartphones or computers. Google said it will also stream music or even show Web pages from computers using the Google Chrome Web browser.

Analysts said the device could be a disruptive move by Google to compete with Apple and other tech companies that want to bring Internet services to the television set. Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps tweeted that it represents a “smaller, more elegant approach” compared with Google’s previously halting efforts at similar products.

Google announced the device at an event where the Mountain View, Calif., search giant also showed off a new Nexus 7 mini-tablet with a high-definition screen that the company said is especially suited for high-speed gaming and video streaming.

The new Chromecast gadget looks something like a USB memory stick but packs far more capabilities. When plugged into a TV set, Google said the gadget will connect both to a home wireless router and to other devices such as smartphones, tablets or laptop computers. Anyone in range can then use their smartphone or computer as the “remote control” – to select a video from YouTube or Netflix, for example.

Google executive Sundar Pichai told reporters the gadget was inspired by the observation that, “It’s very, very nice to show videos to your friends, but it’s really difficult to do” on the small screen of a smartphone.

Pichai is Google’s senior vice president over both Android and Chrome software, and the company touted both at Wednesday’s event.


 

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