Google Links Mobile to TV For YouTube Videos
November 13, 2012

Google Links Mobile to TV For YouTube Videos

Enid Burns for — Your Universe Online

Want to search YouTube for videos on your Android phone or tablet, but watch those videos on your TV? There's an app for that. Google created an app that lets users find video on their devices, then touch the TV icon to be able to watch those videos on their sets through Google TV.

Google product manager Timbo Drayson posted about the new feature on the Google TV blog on Tuesday. He said the idea has been two years in the making, beginning roadwork for it in 2010.

"We're making it even easier to play videos from your phone or tablet on your TV, with a YouTube app update for Android and Google TV that automatically pairs your devices on the same WiFi. Just find a video on your YouTube app for Android - like the latest video from GoPro or H+ The Digital Series - click the TV icon that appears, and the video will play instantly on your Google TV," the post explains.

Users continue to use the phone to control the video. "Like a remote control, you can pause, scroll or skip to the next video with your mobile device as it plays on your TV," Drayson says in the post.

The cloud makes this pairing a multi-tasking powerhouse. "Since your devices are connected in the cloud, you can also do things like find the next video to watch from your tablet or browse around the web on your phone, all while the video plays on TV," Drayson writes.

It is also possible to connect multiple devices to the TV. Two mobile phones, or a family tablet can all connect to create playlists and control video. It essentially turns a phone or tablet into a remote control. Mobile devices with touch screens could be more preferable to users for navigating video content sites such as YouTube.

In many cases the search means a combination of typing in queries and scrolling through results before selecting the right video. This is more easily done on a phone that a user is accustomed to carrying out such actions, rather than a remote with a keyboard and limited input. An additional benefit to using a mobile device as a remote is that users can continue searching and select more videos for the playlist while a video is playing.

The service is offered through apps for Google TV and Android devices. While Google has been working on this for two years, competing apps are looking to do the same.

"A growing number of applications, including Zeebox, IntoNow and Shazam, seek to harness mobile phones and tablets in the living room to provide content that supplements the programs playing on TV," said Dawn C. Chimielewski in an LA Times article.

Google TV has been around for a few years, but has remained relatively calm in the field. Reports in February said the Google TV platform, which turns an HDTV into a web device, has been slow to take off. Adding services such as the current YouTube update that allows users to seamlessly send content from a mobile device to Google TV could drive adoption.