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Google 'completely overwhelmed' by Chromecast's popularity

Chromecast's Google guru excited for global future
Chromecast launches in the UK with iPlayer and Netflix support
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Google's Chromecast director of product management, Rishi Chandra, has told TechRadar that he is thrilled by the potential of his product as it finally makes its debut outside of the US.

The streaming dongle has been a big hit in the States and is now launching elsewhere, with hints that it will be headed to Australia soon as well. Chandra told us he simply 'couldn't wait any longer' to widen the device's reach.

"It's been nine months, but to be completely honest we were completely overwhelmed by its popularity in the US and we had to get the partnerships done in other countries in order to bring a great service," he explained.

Rishi Chandra at the London launch

Rishi Chandra at the London launch

One of the big unique selling points of Chromecast is the ability to 'cast' web pages and therefore potentially other video services.

It's a service that is currently in beta, and is actively blocked by some rivals: trying to watch the UK's Sky Go web service through casting works for the video in a small window but is blocked from going full-screen for instance.

"The main reason its labelled as beta is because it needs a good Wi-Fi connection to work properly," added Chandra.

"We're working hard to make it work better, but if your Wi-Fi connection is not good enough then it affects things."

User Interface

One minor fear for the Chromecast's more open approach - essentially using partner apps to provide content - is the lack of a unified user interface. Finding a film in YouTube is different from making one play in the Netflix app.

Chandra hopes that the ever-present 'cast' button assuages some of this - you know that if you press the cast button it will do what you expect.

"I don't want to tell our partners how to design their UI," he added. "I'm not going to say I'm cleverer than the guys at Netflix at giving people the experience that they want."

One thing that is exciting Chandra is what the world's developers can do with the Chromecast following Google's decision to offer out the SDK.

"I can't wait to see what people will do," he said. "I'm sure they will come up with features we haven't even thought of."

Patrick Goss
Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.