Google Chromecast launches in UK

Google has today (19 March) launched its £30 answer to Apple TV, Chromecast, in the UK – a move that marketers could soon take advantage of by creating branded content apps.

Google Chromecast
Google Chromecast is now available in the UK, meaning marketers in the region can begin to create branded content apps to appear on the service.

The £30 HDMI plug-in allows users to turn their TVs in to internet-connected TVs and access services such as YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Netflix and the Google Chrome browser. Users control the service with their existing Android, iOS and Windows tablets and smartphones.

Chromecast, which launched in the US in July last year, also features other branded apps such as PostTV from the Washington Post and a Red Bull TV app.

Recently Google opened up Chromecast to developers with the release of the Google Cast Software Development Kit. To date more than 3,000 developers have signed up to bring their apps and websites to the service.

Chromecast is Google’s attempt to gain a foothold in the living room and places it in direct competition with the likes of Apple’s £99 TV product, Sky’s £9.99 Now TV box and the scores of more established players such as Freeview and Virgin.

In the US Google has sold more than 1 million Chromecasts, fewer than 20 per cent of the number of Apple TV boxes sold since July, according to research house IHS.

EMarketer estimates that the time UK consumers spend with digital media is set to overtake the time spent viewing TV for the first time in 2014, but Google will be hoping the marrying of the two will make Chromecast a compelling offer for consumers.

Google yesterday (18 March) in a separate announcement launched “Android Wear”, a platform for wearable technology that will bring features from its Google Now software – such as voice control and notifications – to devices beyond Google Glass, such as smart watches. Google says it is working with several manufacturers including HTC, Asus, LG, Motorola and Samsung to bring the software to their devices “later this year”.

In a co-ordinated announcement, LG announced its G Watch and Motorola unveiled its Moto 360 smart watch, both of which will feature Android Wear.