Google announced several new features coming to the Chromecast this fall during its Google I/O 2014 keynote on Wednesday. Chromecast users will soon have access to a new homescreen called Backdrop and device mirroring will be possible in the future. Also, users will be also able to connect to a Chromecast even without being on the same Wi-Fi network, and Google recently revealed how it was able to do that.
Instead of relying on a connection through Wi-Fi, Google’s engineers are taking advantage of ultrasonic sounds that pass between the Chromecast and your phone, GigaOm said recently. The technology isn’t unheard of — apparently one of Google’s engineers had been publicly talking about his work on that sort of data transmission — but it is certainly a unique way to establish a connection. Also, keep in mind that your phone is basically only telling the Chromecast what to pull down from the cloud, so there’s not a lot of information passing between the two devices, which is what allows something like Ultrasonic sounds to work.
“The Chromecast streaming stick then plays a unique ultrasonic sound through the TV’s loudspeakers,” GigaOm explained. “That sound won’t be audible by human ears, but a mobile device in the same room will be able to pick it up and pair with the TV.” It will easily allow you to stop by a friend’s house and, if the Chromecast is set to allow it, stream your content right from your phone without having to worry about logging into his or her Wi-Fi network and messing with any other sort of credentials.
Google wasn’t clear on when exactly this update with hit the Chromecast but it did say we can expect more later this fall.