Google is rather quietly, but very quickly, building a huge new app ecosystem for the TV. Less than seven months after the launch of the popular Chromecast streaming stick, the Google platform already hosts more than a dozen official apps, supports technology from Brightcove for dynamic ad insertion, and is drawing attention from the biggest content companies on the planet. (See Chromecast Gives Google a Home Run and Google Chromecast Lands HBO.)
Arguably, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) started this app revolution back when it opened the doors on the Google Play Store, but the speed at which it's transitioning that ecosystem to the television through Chromecast is stunning. The streaming stick was the highest-selling product in the "Computers and Accessories" category on Amazon over the holidays. Now that Google has opened up its software development kit (SDK), a flood of new apps is expected to debut in the near future.
Last week Brightcove Inc. also announced some very important news for the Chromecast platform. Through technology it acquired from Unicorn Media Inc. , Brightcove is offering a digital ad insertion solution for app publishers who want to stitch geo-targeted ads into Chromecast video streams. Advertising means more money for app makers, and nothing makes content companies perk up quite like the promise of monetization.
Despite its relative infancy, Chromecast is already in the mix with much longer-lived streaming devices -- such as Roku boxes and the Apple TV -- as content companies consider their options for platform distribution. In an email conversation, ESPN Director of Communications Kevin Ota didn't make any promises about Chromecast support, but he did note that, "We have had great success with Apple TV, Roku and Xbox, and we're certainly impressed by ChromeCast. We are looking at it as a platform."
Google has great international aspirations for Chromecast as well. It says it will take Chromecast global sometime later this year.
In short, the Chromecast TV app revolution is well underway. And for Google, it looks like there's nothing but upside ahead.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading