We’ve been following the development of the upcoming ChromeOS Screencast feature for quite some time. It was known internally as ‘Projector’ for many months, but Google looks to have changed the name as the new feature/app readies itself for prime time. We took the whole thing for a spin on camera and after using Screencast for just a little while, I’m convinced that this will become a very, very useful feature for Chromebook users in the near future.
A proper renaming
Since the inception of this feature, I’ve wondered about the name ‘Projector’. That naming conjures up visuals of lecture halls or classrooms, and the actual feature set of Screencast doesn’t seem aimed at that setting at all. Instead, Screencast seems more like a massive addition to the already-fantastic ChromeOS screen capture tool.
Using the same screen recording interface, Screencast simply adds on a bunch of extra abilities for users to do things like annotate the screen (the annotation tool has a few colors you can select with a right-click or long press on the icon) and leverage the front-facing webcam on their Chromebooks to put a floating selfie video in any corner of the ensuing recording. I can quickly recall quite a few scenarios where I needed to send some sort of visual design queues to a coworker and Screencast would have been wildly helpful in those situations.
More features after the recording is finished
Probably most impressive is the post-recording results you get. Saved in the Screencast UI, these files are also synced to your Google Drive account automatically and after a bit of processing on the video portion, are totally sharable as well. For the time being, the shared URL you get can only be viewed on a Chromebook with Screencast installed, but we fully expect that to change as this feature rolls out to users in the Stable Channel of ChromeOS. It is a cloud-based file, after all, so it only makes sense that anyone running the Chrome browser should be able to view the end result.
That finished file contains the video you recorded (along with any annotations you added) and a super-handy transcription that Google auto-generates for you. This transcription is broken into time stamps and simply clicking any of those sections takes you to that exact section of the recording, making it very simple for end-users to move around your recording and find exactly what they need with ease. You can even search the transcription with the search bar up top. It’s really nothing short of fantastic.
I could see this feature becoming a very standard tool that is used in education, work, and by casual users as well. Any time you want to make a conversational, instructional video from a Chromebook, Screencast will be the tool you’ll use to do it with ease. And then sharing it out to whoever needs it will be super-simple, too. The use cases for this app are numerous, and we’re all very excited to see how people use it in the future as it rolls out to the Stable Channel in what should be the next few versions of ChromeOS.