Google Developing An Open Alternative To AirPlay

google-airplay-alternativeGoogle wants to open up its AirPlay-like technology to device manufactures and software vendors. The technology, currently used in the YouTube app on Google TV, will enable devices to send video, images and audio wirelessly to large screen televisions (just like Apple’s proprietary AirPlay system)

Apple introduced AirPlay in iOS 4.2 as a way to stream or broadcast music, photos, videos and audio to the Apple TV (and other devices like speakers), and has since then expanded it to the Mac as well. It has been one of the major selling points of the $99 Apple TV.

GigaOm has details of Google’s plans:

Google took a page from Apple’s playbook when it rolled out its own AirPlay-like remote control feature for YouTube on Google TV last week. The company has since launched a dedicated micro-site to promote the feature, showing how serious it is taking second screen control. But it is not stopping there. [Google product manager Timbo] Drayson told me that Google is “actively working with other companies” to turn this into an open standard, which could be used on other platforms and for other apps as well.

The protocol would facilitate two-way communication instead of AirPlay which, currently, sends data (video, audio etc.) only in one way. Google hopes that this would spawn a new category of apps that act as a second screen to the TV, augmenting live TV with additional relevant information.

Apple does have a licensing program for AirPlay, but it has thwarted down on unofficial attempts to tap into the encrypted standard. From a developer or accessory manufacturer standpoint, supporting Google’s standard would be much easier than supporting AirPlay, at least financially.

While you may see third party iOS apps adopting the standard once it comes out, you still won’t be able to mirror your iOS device’s screens onto your TV, a widely used feature of AirPlay.

Google’s newest version of Android, 4.2, does support Miracast, another open alternative to AirPlay, but the standard works only with devices that support Wi-Fi direct. We expect Google’s solution to support a much wider set of devices using conventional Wi-Fi networks.

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