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Google to Host Hackathon for New Chromecast Apps


Get ready for more Chromecast app support following a Google hackathon and developers kit.

After months of stagnation and the disconcerting loss of a handy app, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is finally giving its popular Chromecast device the attention it deserves.

This week, HBO Go (NYSE:TWX) became the latest addition to the Chromecast fold. Joining the likes of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), YouTube, Hulu Plus, Google Play, and Pandora (NYSE:P), the HBO Go app allows subscribers to stream the premium channel's content to their TVs via Android and iOS (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices as well as Google Chrome.

The move not only makes good on Google's promise of increased support, but also narrows the list of major media players without an official Chromecast app. Although it appeared that Google had backed away from the $35 dongle after a celebrated launch, a recent announcement suggests that the media device will get even more support in the next month or so.

According to an email the company sent to developers, Google will be hosting a two-day hackathon at its Mountain View headquarters next month where folks will be able to test-drive the official Chromecast developers kit and create new apps for the device. "Our engineers will be available to share changes from the developer preview, discuss best practices, and answer any questions," the email read.

Among the invited is ROM Manager and ClockworkMod Recovery creator Koushik Dutta who, if you'll recall, developed the AirCast app which allowed Chromecast users to beam videos stored on their Android devices, Dropbox, or Google Drive accounts directly to their TVs. Unfortunately, with an update, Google effectively closed the exploited hole in the Chromecast software that allowed Dutta's app to work properly. However, with a couple days of tinkering alongside Google engineers, hopefully Dutta and his developer cohorts will deliver better local media support that users have been clamoring for.

Google's Chromecast has already turned heads with its dead-simple interface, unique control scheme, and a rock-bottom price. But if support and versatility continue to grow, it will further support the notion that Google "cracked the code" that Steve Jobs and Apple never could. (See: Apple Inc. Still Can't Seem to Crack That 'Code')

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