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How to set up Chromecast's new Backdrop feature

Google released an update to its Chromecast app, enabling you to stream photos, weather and news on your TV.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Chromecast users will be happy to hear Google has enabled the Backdrop feature we first heard about in June at Google I/O.

For those unfamiliar, Backdrop uses a dormant Chromecast to display popular photos, or photos from your own Google+ albums, along with current news headlines and weather stats.

The update is slowly rolling out to Android users in typical Google fashion, while iOS users can grab the latest version of the Chromecast app in the App Store right now and immediately start using Backdrop.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Upon updating the app, the first time you launch it, you'll be asked if you want to use Backdrop.
  • Select Get Started, then, if prompted, select the Chromecast device(s) you'd like to enable the new feature on.
  • Once enabled, you can edit the content displayed on your TV by tapping on the gear icon in the top-right corner.
  • To access the Backdrop menu after initial setup, slide out the menu drawer and select Backdrop from the list of options.

From here you'll find options that allow you to display all photos from your Google+ account, or a specific album of your choosing.

You can also opt to have current news and weather displayed, as well as limit where displayed photos are curated from (e.g., satellite images, featured photos, art photos).

The new feature is a welcome addition to the Chromecast's capabilities and is a nice way to make use of the device when you're not streaming a movie.