Someone asked me earlier this evening why I’ve been so negative about Google’s new Chromecast product and they also said they thought I was being unfair. I’m going to list the reasons it just keeps going from bad to worse.
- Google said during the event that the Chromecast didn’t need wires or clutter. They completely failed to mention that it needs to be plugged into the wall or the TV via MicroUSB It needs the same number of cables as Miracast and Apple TV. EDIT: The presenter Mario did state it needs USB power, but all the subsequent demos, slides and publicity shots show the device without this cable.
- It’s US only just now
- If you buy one and you only have an iOS device you’re out of luckbecause they haven’t bothered with the setup pages for that yet.
- There’s no iOS apps that support it yet anyway, even Googles own. Does Google mention this anywhere on their site? Nope
- iOS developers will need written permission from Google to ship an app that uses the Chromecast SDK. That doesn’t strike me as open.
- The Netflix offer is already over. Google claim it’s due to “overwhelming demand” but that’s a poor excuse. Expecting your product to do shittier than it did is a really defeatist attitude. Furthermore, Google at no point previously mentioned that the Netflix offer was for a very limited time or quantity.
- It isn’t actually streaming anything from the device, all the phone/tablet does is tells the chrome browser built in to the stick what website/video to play. Only certain local videos will play as codec support is limited.
- It doesn’t work as a standalone product in any way. If you don’t have a phone/laptop/tablet handy, tough
Here’s the thing, I was only a little down on it yesterday. Today, I’ve personally lost all faith in the product and the developers I spoke to yesterday who wanted to implement this have decided against it today.
The excuses are the same as they always are when it comes to Google. It’s cheap/free so it’s not a big deal and it’ll “get better”. If these excuses sound familiar it’s because they’ve been used on developers and customers before. I’ve heard “It’ll get better” about Google TV, Nexus Q, Tablet Apps, Google Drive, Google+ etc. The “it’s cheap” excuse is used to defend poor Nexus 4 and 7 hardware as well.
I have but one question: When will the industry stop giving Google a pass on their failures? When will they be held accountable in the press for their mistakes in the same manners as Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry? Being cheap isn’t an excuse for mediocre quality control and “it’ll get better” or “it’s got future potential” isn’t something anyone else seems to benefit from. Will Apple get a pass because iCloud will “get better”? Will Microsoft get a pass because Windows 8 has “future potential”? We all know the answer.
The Chromecast is already here and it’s already been paid for by the customers and right now, it’s a shitshow. Google already has your money, there’s no incentive for them to make it any better and their history with these matters doesn’t hold them in good stead, either
Chromecast was only launched yesterday and we’ve already found out a ton of negative points. It’s got a long way to go before it’s a good product.