Google Play Services Prepare to Let You Stream Apps to Your Chromebook

Earlier today, version 21.21.12 of Google Play services began rolling out to users. The last beta was version 21.18.14, so we would expect there to be a bunch of changes under the hood. While we didn’t spot many interesting changes at a glance, we did find other evidence that Google will soon allow users to stream apps from their phones to a connected Chromebook.

An APK teardown can often predict features that might arrive in a future update of an app, but it’s possible that one of the features we mention here may not in a future release. Indeed, these features are currently not implemented in the live version and can be checked out at any time by the developers in a future version.

The following channels explicitly state that you’ll be able to stream apps to your Chromebook, but they don’t provide any details on how the feature works:

Stream apps to your Chromebook
Apps

The feature is not yet available on my Pixel 4 running the latest version of Google Play Services. However, we expected this feature to land thanks to Chromium code cheats in February. At that time, we learned that Google was preparing to extend Chrome OS’s new Phone Hub feature with app streaming. Going forward, Chromebooks will add a System Web Application (SWA) that will sync video and two-way data to WebRTC. The feature is believed to be exclusive to Pixel phones, although we couldn’t find any information on the availability of the devices from a preliminary review of the latest version of Play Services.

One feature that has been enabled in this release is a toggle to disable discovery of Cast devices. Enabling this option will prevent the discovery of nearby Cast devices. Google Play Services can discover Cast devices connected to the network, but until now you couldn’t turn this off.

We will continue to dig into this release for more features.


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