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Chromecast update will ditch need for WiFi on Android phones

A Chromecast update will remove the need to be connected to the same WiFi network when casting content from Android devices. 

When you set up Chromecast for the first time you’ll need to connect it to WiFi. Any phones or tablets that want to ping content from apps like BBC iPlayer and Netflix to your TV screen via Chromecast will need to be on the same WiFi network.

Following an update that’s rolling out later in the year, if you’ve got an Android phone or tablet, you’ll be able to do this whether you’re on WiFi or not. 

Rishi Chandra, announcing the new Chromecast features at Google I/O 2014
Rishi Chandra, announcing the new Chromecast features at Google I/O 2014

During Google’s I/O 2014, conference, Rishi Chandra, director of Product Management at Chromecast said you’ll be able to connect to Chromecast through the cloud: 

Chandra said: “We’re using variety of different technologies that allows us to authenticate users in the same room as the Chromecast. And if for whatever reason we can’t automatically detect or authenticate you, we’ll ask for a PIN that will always be present on the screen.” 

Right now you can already do something similar with Leanback on YouTube. Whether your phone is connected to the internet via 3G, 4G or WiFi, everyone in the same room can throw videos into a YouTube playlist thanks to a shared PIN.  

Look mum, no WiFi: Eventually you'll be able to communicate with Chromecast without having WiFi turned on
Look mum, no WiFi: Eventually you’ll be able to communicate with Chromecast without having WiFi turned on

Other updates heading to Chromecast include mirroring for Android devices, allowing you to show off apps like Google Earth and Google Maps on your TV screen. You can currently mirror tabs on your desktop Chrome browser with Chromecast, but this feature is still in beta and (still) isn’t that stable. 

Perhaps taking a leaf out of Samsung’s smart TV book, Google will also let Chromecast users turn their TV sets into digital picture frames with a new Backdrop feature. Instead of looking at digital copies of pretentious works of art, Backdrop will pull in photos from Google Maps and your phone, allowing you to show off those holiday snaps more easily. 

Google hasn’t announced when this update will be rolling out, or when iOS devices connected to Chromecast might be supported. 

Images: Google

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