Google’s latest play to enter the living room is a $35 dongle

Google has continued its push to shake up the TV space by launching a small, cheap device for streaming internet content to users’ televisions, in the process taking on tech rival Apple and potentially even the entire television industry.

Called ‘Chromecast’, the device plugs into the back of any modern TV set and with the push of a button from the internet browser (Google’s Chrome, of course) of users’ smartphone, tablet or PC, content is streamed to the TV via WiFi. It’s compatible not only with Android devices but Apple’s as well, wherever the Chrome browser is used.

But the big story for Google, financially, is that by getting more of its internet content into living rooms, it stands to benefit from a major boost to its advertising business.

Chromecast is selling for US$35 (almost a third of the price of Apple TV) but currently is available in the United States only.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s head of Chrome and Android at Google, said that even at that price he expects both the search giant and its retail partners to make a profit. The product is currently sold out on both Amazon and Best Buy’s online stores.

“We have a multiplatform approach, and we go where the users are,” said Pichai. The launch sees movie and TV show streaming service Netflix become the first third-party on board to support the protocol, known as Cast. Netflix and Google’s YouTube together account for almost half of US internet traffic at peak times.

The spot below is Google’s introduction of the device to US audiences, and works hard to show Chromecast enabling TV-watching to become enjoyable and social.