There’s never a moment when Google lets consumers get comfortable with its home entertainment branding, and now the company is changing the (official) way we all view the technology once referred to as Google Cast. The technology at the core of streaming sticks, set-top boxes, speakers, and televisions has been changed to center around another device that’s popular around the world. It’s an odd move, but Google clearly wants to associate the technology with terminology more familiar with the masses.
Please re-welcome “Chromecast built-in” to your living room.
- Chromecast (2015) review
- Don’t be upset Android TV is dying, Google Cast is where it’s at
- You’ve bought more than 30 million Chromecast devices so far
After launching the Chromecast in 2013, Google long referred to its successful technology as Google Cast; however, devices shipping with that technology never really emphasized that. Even the companion app was known as the “Chromecast app” up until last spring. Although puzzling, the Chromecast branding was stuck with because the in-house streaming stick was the most popular device. But Google decided to switch to the more appropriate “Google Cast app” to reflect the platform’s growth.
The latest switch, leaving us in an awkward spot that I’ll get into in a moment, takes us away from Google Cast despite it being completely logical. You’ll now see “Chromecast-built” across product listings, advertisements, and packaging.
— Google Chromecast (@Chromecast) November 22, 2016
On November 22, the Google Cast account on Twitter was reverted to Chromecast.
Janko Roettgers of Variety picked up on Google’s silent transition, too, and noted that nearly all of its online properties refer to the “Chromecast built-in” branding.
This is yet another confusing move by Google. In October, the Google Home app replaced the Google Cast app upon the launch of Google’s stationary digital assistant. Between that and the new branding, Google’s overall branding for Google Cast-powered devices is scattered. If you don’t own a Chromecast or Google Home, you’re left using an app that doesn’t feel like it’s actually made for what you own.
Google’s partners are put in an awkward position as well. Instead of being able to promote their devices by naming Google Cast as the technology running the show, hardware manufacturers are practically being forced into promoting another device at the same time. Consumers might search “Chromecast” online and find themselves on the verge of buying the affordable $35 dongle rather than Philips’ televisions or Vizio’s speakers because of the branding.
It’s very possible Google forced the new branding on its partners in exchange for allowing them to build Google Home-like devices, which was exclusively reported by Variety in September.