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Google reportedly working on open alternative to AirPlay

Just such a wireless streaming feature could help Google's Android compete better with iPad and iPhone, GigaOm reports.

With AirPlay, you can "push" music directly from your iPhone to an Apple TV.
Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

Google is again taking aim at Apple in the mobile space, setting its sites on developing an AirPlay challenger.

The Web giant is working on an alternative to Apple's wireless feature and hopes to attract the interest of device and software vendors with the effort, according to a GigaOm report. A Google representative declined to comment specifically on its plans for the features, saying "Stay tuned to see this feature coming to more devices and screens in the future."

Google offered an early taste of what it has planned with the debut last week of a new feature for YouTube designed to make streaming to the television easier than it has ever been on Android. The updated app now presents a new button making it possible to stream from devices to the television with a single tap, replacing a seven-step procedure that even YouTube executives found confusing.

However, Google product manager Timbo Drayson hinted that more functionality is in the offing.

"We really want to move the whole industry forward," he told GigaOm.

Since introducing the YouTube pairing feature in 2010, the company noticed that users who had paired their devices to the screen spent significantly more time watching YouTube videos. More time watching YouTube means more money for Google, of course, and the Google TV division has worked to make pairing easier over time.

iPads and iPhones have the ability to beam content to Apple TVs, perhaps a key reason why the Apple TV is the best-selling video-streaming box. Inclusion of just such a feature could help devices running Google's Android operating system compete better with Apple's iOS.

However, AirPlay challengers already exist. The Wi-Fi Alliance, a not-for-profit industry association of hundreds of companies, in September launched Miracast, an industry-standard technology that will let users wirelessly transmit video and images from one device to another. The protocol was included in Google's Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which was released earlier this month.

Updated at 7:05 p.m. PT with Google comment.