The merger of Chrome and Android isn’t what most of us expected. The method is becoming clearer though: First with the platforms working together with similar Google services and now with the Chromecast device.
When Sundar Pichai, then Google SVP for Chrome and Apps, took over Android in March of this year, many — included myself — figured Chrome and Android would merge in some fashion. That’s exactly what’s taking place, but not in the way most expected. Google is providing a merger of experiences and services between the two.
The Chromecast, a $35 HDMI dongle that Google introduced on Wednesday, is a prime example. The small device plugs into a the HDMI port of a television and runs a stripped down version of Google’s Chrome OS platform. Using an updated YouTube, Netflix or Google Play Android app on a smartphone or tablet, content is wireless streamed to the HDTV. Chromecast also works directly with the Chrome browser on Windows, Mac, and Linux as well as with certain new iOS applications written by Google.
By linking the two platforms through a common experience, Google actually improves the experience using both Chrome and Android users. And the strategy fits with Google’s overall theme of increasing user engagement in its ecosystem with Chrome as the underlying platform.