When I decide I want to watch something, I don’t care where I get it. It can be from Amazon, Google, Apple, Netflix – I really do not care. I’m loyal only to the place that has what I want to watch when I want to watch it. Since the early days of Hulu vs Netflix vs Amazon, finding the content you really wanted to watch meant jumping between apps to see who paid the most for the streaming rights. That’s annoying. Luckily, the new Chromecast solves that problem for you.
The new Chromecast app does what Google does best: search. Instead of searching within streaming apps yourself, Chromecast does it for you. Once you search, Google shows you everywhere you can watch your desired content. Netflix? Google Play? Amazon? Up to you. It’s exactly what Chromecast needed to do to be interesting again.
Imagine this: you want to buy a red panda onesie for a costume party you’re going to (true life – me a few weeks ago). You know it’s difficult to find a red panda onesie that will arrive on time, so what do you do? You go to Amazon and you search. You don’t care what merchant your awesome, new costume comes from or what warehouse it’s in. You care that you can get what you want in time. So, why should getting your digital content be any different than getting your red panda onesie?
Looks like Google’s got my back on this. The company (which is invested in you buying content from their own Play Store) now aggregates all options to watch a particular piece of content. It’s what Amazon is all about as well. Sure, Amazon makes their own stuff, but they’ll show you the cheapest, fastest places to get your content first. It’s why you go to Amazon all the time whenever you need anything. Google is hoping that you do the same with Chromecast.
What Google needs to do, however, is break people of the habit of going to Netflix and Hulu to browse. They need to show people that the Chromecast app is a better first stop when you’re trying to decide what to watch. Functionally, Chromecast has a huge advantage over Netflix and Hulu – Chromecast aggregates content from both of those place and more. Unfortunately, changing public behavior is the hardest thing you can do.
Google will need to convince people like my mom and roommate to open an app on their phone instead of using a myriad of other devices to open Netflix. There are tons of streaming options out there, but Chromecast caught on because of how universal it was. With the new Chromecast’s biggest differentiation being an “all in one search and browsing” solution comes the challenge of forcing people to change their already habitual routine. Chromecast’s biggest win is also its Achilles heel. I know it’s awesome and that it works great for me, but will more people adopt it and actually start using their phones like remotes? Chromecast is betting on it.