Today marks five years since Google first launched the Chromecast back in 2013.
The Chromecast allowed users to play content on their TV without needing using your remote or connecting a laptop to your TV.
Google first launched the 1st gen Chromecast in July 2013, then the 2nd gen and Chromecast Audio in September 2015 and then most recently, they launched the 4K-enabled Chromecast Ultra in November 2016.
And since then, it has become around 55 million units across all its models, including the 1st & 2nd gen video Chromecast, Chromecast Audio and Chromecast Ultra.
To celebrate the Chromecast’s 5th birthday, Google has posted an article on their blog where they talk to Googler Majd Bakar, who was the first Chromecast engineer along with his wife, Carla Hindie, and find out what the inspiration behind the Chromecast was.
You can find it pasted below or at the source link.
How did Chromecast come into fruition?
Majd: This is back around 2008 or so. Carla was always looking for new stuff to watch, and I noticed how she went about starting a movie. She would go to her laptop to pick a movie using a streaming service, add it to her queue, and then close the laptop. Then, she’d open the movie on her gaming device. I used to watch her and think, “This is really hard … Why do you do that?”
Carla: Basically, back then TV interfaces were hard to use. The search was difficult and very slow.
Majd: I said, “Okay. Let’s build an interface where everything happens on the phone, and only the video plays on the large screen. And let’s make the hardware device that enables this experience as small and as hidden as possible.”
Do you think it’s true that some of the best tech ideas come from non-tech people?
Majd: I think great ideas can come from anybody—you don’t need to be a tech person to think of the next best gadget. What’s important is creating a product that actually solves a problem that people encounter, and makes a positive difference in their lives. People outside of tech also want solutions that are simple and easy to use, rather than complex—so their ideas may result in better products with more mass appeal.
How long did it take to create Chromecast?
Majd: I joined Google in 2011 to create products that would change how people used their TVs. I pitched this idea and everyone got excited about it. It was 2012 when we really got started, and we launched Chromecast in July 2013.
How did you feel when the product finally launched?
Majd: The first time I brought a beta Chromecast home, it was in late 2012. I plugged it into my TV and showed Carla.
Carla: He actually wanted me to set it up so that he could see if it was going to be easy for everyone. I’m a huge complainer if there’s anything I don’t get quickly, and I don’t like reading manuals. So he gave it to me and said, “Here, you set it up.” And it was very easy. It was a big, exciting evening in our house.
Majd: We sat down and watched YouTube, because the first thing we had working on Chromecast was YouTube. So I said, “Okay, let’s watch a couple of YouTube videos.” We watched YouTube videos for three and a half hours until 1 a.m. At the end of it, she said, “You’ve been working on this for a year, and I had no idea what a big difference this small device would make.”
What’s your favourite Chromecast feature?
Carla: I like that we can actually go into anybody’s house who has a Chromecast, log into their network and use it.
Majd: Yeah, I think that’s really one of the most powerful features that we have. To me, the ease of use is what I like. We had an advertisement that said it was so easy for everyone to use. The first time I saw that ad, I had tears in my eyes.
And on Chromecast’s birthday, how does it feel?
Majd: I am very proud of the team. I feel lucky to be able to work on something like this—it’s very humbling to pitch something and see it from the beginning. When we started, we were three people, and now we have hundreds of people working on Chromecast and other hardware products for the home. That is a huge effort. We, as a team, made an impact in this space.
Thanks to Majd and Carla sharing the story of Chromecast—and thanks, Chromecast, for letting all of us stream with ease.