Thursday, May 23, 2024

Rivian’s Google Cast support might beat out Tesla’s built-in apps as the future of car entertainment

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Tesla has always been seen as the future of in-car entertainment. With its large center display and support for popular built-in apps like YouTube and Netflix, watching videos on the dash in a vehicle is now all but synonymous with Tesla.

That in-app focus may, over time, actually be a mistake, especially considering the announcement that Rivian just made. As part of Google I/O, the company has announced support for not only a native YouTube app but support for Google Cast as well.

Before we get to casting, let’s quickly talk about YouTube. This is where Rivian has gone down the same road as Tesla and added support for a native YouTube app as part of its built-in entertainment offerings. Just like the Tesla experience, you’ll be able to browse, search, and play content directly from the built-in app on your Rivian’s screen.

In addition to Google Cast, we’re excited to offer a native YouTube app in your Rivian’s center display in the coming months. Just head to the YouTube tab within the new Video Application in your center display to browse, search, and play content. As the world’s largest video library, YouTube offers an extensive music catalog, how-to videos and more. 

While that’s great, I think the even bigger news is that Rivian has announced support for Google Cast. This will allow you to connect to your Rivian just like you would with your phone and your Chromecast-enabled television and cast content from your phone or tablet to the center screen.

This won’t only work with YouTube but with any cast-enabled apps including Netflix, Hulu, and any streaming service or video app that supports Google Cast.

Coming soon, we’re introducing Google Cast and YouTube, seamlessly bringing your favorite entertainment right into your R1’s center display. Whether you’re charging or relaxing at a campsite, you’ll soon be able to stream high-definition video content, with high-quality sound, from cast-enabled apps on your iPhone or Android™ phone or tablet directly to your vehicle. And with a 15-inch touchscreen and immersive audio system, your Rivian is practically a home theater.

I think this is an even bigger deal than the built-in YouTube app. Google Cast is in a ton of apps, and instead of requiring a developer of an app to build a native experience inside the Rivian platform, companies can now simply ensure that their app includes support for Google Cast.

This opens up the screen on the Rivian to a lot of apps over time without the need for native apps to be built and will give owners even more options to enjoy their favorite content in their car without having to wait for a specific app to build something native for the vehicle.

Interior of a Rivian R1T
The interior of the Rivian R1T. Image source: Rivian

While native apps are great and certainly provide performance and experiential advantages, this one addition makes it possible to enjoy a ton of apps in your vehicle without having to do anything else. I wonder if things like Google Cast and AirPlay might eventually become the dominant way that people enjoy movies in their vehicles as opposed to native apps.

We’ll have to see when Google Cast rolls out to Rivian vehicles in the “coming months.” The update will be available for both the R1T and R1S and I’m sure the R2 when it starts rolling off the production line in 2026.

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