We need our internet connections more than ever as people around the world are working from home and many students are distance learning. All of this usage is starting to put a strain on local internet resources, though. To help prioritize internet bandwidth for learning and working, Google announced last week that they are making some changes to Chromecast and Nest smart displays that will lighten internet usage and keep people connected.
The update started rolling out last week and will change slideshow speed for Ambient Mode and reduce the resolution of the images in those slideshows. Google says you might not even notice the changes to your Chromecast or smart display, but the update will collectively improve internet speeds in your household and overall local network strain.
It’s not clear exactly how much internet usage this will save, but even a small percentage across the millions of Chromecasts and smart displays will make a difference. Every little bit helps and I personally don’t mind my Chromecast taking a dip in quality if that means my Meet video calls are uninterrupted. A report by Android Police found that even when idle, a smart display uses 200MB/day when it is set to rotate images every minute. Decreasing the slideshow frequency to refresh every five minutes could drop the idle usage to 50MB/day, saving about 4.5GB per month! So you can imagine what the total household bandwidth savings could be for even a single home that may have multiple smart displays and Chromecasts dispersed throughout all the rooms.
This announcement has come on the heels of other Google services getting a quality reduction, like Nest video and YouTube video default. Google hasn’t said whether or not users will be able to manually adjust the settings to revert back to default, but did say they will return the settings back to normal when internet resources are less inundated.