September 3, 2013
Google is beginning to restrict developer access to Chromecast and the Android operating system. The company is disabling workarounds of its Chromecast streaming device and other app options on Android. The move may be bad news for developers as certain functions are no longer available, but it may be good news for consumers if the user experience becomes more refined and features less ads on the new Chromecast and maturing Android.
“It also excited developers hoping the Chromecast would be as open as Android,” explains Wired. “But in the nearly five weeks since it was launched, the Chromecast has been locked down tighter and tighter as Google updates the software and plays coy with its future third-party plans.”
A recent update shutdown disabled some video playback functions in the API that had initially allowed third-parties to stream videos from Android devices to Chromecast. “The policy seems to be a heavy-handed approach, where only approved content will be played through the device,” writes developer Koushik Dutta, founder of ClockworkMod. “The Chromecast will probably not be indie developer friendly. The Google TV team will likely only whitelist media companies.”
In addition, recent updates to the Google Play Developer Program Policies remove some push ads and misleading ad notifications, and all in-app purchases must be made through Google+. These are meant to improve the Android phone experience and signal that the Android is maturing.
Although Google could be praised for addressing issues with Chromecast in respect to apps and ads for users, some argue that these issues should have been addressed prior to its release. A well-defined software development kit for app and third-party developers could have given the device an edge on any Apple or other product, instead of changing rules for developers after the product has been released.
“If anything, the Chromecast should be more like Roku and less like Apple TV with big-name media partners next to smaller apps built by developers pushing the envelope of what a streamer can do,” argues Wired. ”It just needs to move more quickly — before the Chromecast becomes another Google TV.”