A new experimental feature for Google Chromebooks ties the company’s Google Drive and Chromecast device together: You can stream videos stored on Drive directly to a Chromecast. Google evangelist François Beaufort shared the news on his Google+ page, noting that your Chromebook must be on the Developer channel of Chrome OS for this to work. You’ll also need the Google Cast extension installed or enabled.
I tested the feature on my Chromebook Pixel earlier this morning because I wanted to make sure it works with the Chromecast similar to how other cloud services do. When you watch [company]Netflix[/company] or [company]Google[/company] Play video on a Chromecast, for example, you only start the stream from a mobile device or Chromecast. Google’s small dongle then gets the video stream directly over Wi-Fi and not from the local device.
The good news is: It works as expected. I bought and ripped a backup of the Beatles Anthology DVDs last year, which I store on Google Drive. In the Chrome OS video player, I saw an option to watch the movie on my Chromecast which sent the video to one of my televisions. I then closed the lid of my Pixel to place it in sleep mode and the movie continued on the television without a hiccup.
This may not sound a like a big deal for low-end Chrome OS devices, it’s significant.
Prior to this, any similar Chromecasting would require the Chromebook to transcode the video and stream it directly to a Chromecast. That’s not a big deal for a device like the Chromebook Pixel but on lesser hardware, it’s not a good experience as the cheaper chipsets can’t keep up. By streaming directly from Google Drive, however, the performance of a Chromebook doesn’t matter as Google Drive is handling the video, just as Netflix does for its content.