AirPlay is one of Apple’s greatest features for iOS and Mac. If you have speakers that are compatible with AirPlay or an Apple TV, you can automatically stream video or audio to another device, so instead of watching a movie on your smaller iPad screen you can see it on your big flat screen TV. Google wants to take Apple on with an open AirPlay alternative.
Google not only wants to compete with Apple in this area, but it’s hoping to one-up the tech giant. Google’s new system for Android devices would be similar, but with a few exceptions. It would do more than just mirror your screen — it would actually provide data on your tablet that would supplement what shows on the display, for a full “second-screen experience.”
A lot of companies have been trying to integrate the tablet into the television show viewing experience. Some networks have released applications that sync with the show you are watching to provide extra content and a deeper immersion with what’s playing on the big screen. In most cases we haven’t heard anything about the applications since their launch. People want to zone out while watching television, with the exception being live sports. These “second screen” attempts have yet to provide anything of value to the viewers. It’s going to be interesting to see how Google plays its cards on this one.
Things like AirPlay and FaceTime should be open. In FaceTime’s case, the company even promised to make it an open technology during its keynote. FaceTime isn’t an open standard at this point, and it looks like it never will be. AirPlay changed a lot of usage patterns for people, and it’s easily one of the best things about owning an iPhone right now. It’s not all that surprising that Google’s looking to take a bite out of the technology and reproduce it. It’s kind of what they do…