Reviewing the new Google Play Movies Second Screen Experience

Last night I sat down with Mrs H last night to watch Kingsman (an except film, highly recommended) on Google Chromecast. The film was pay per view, which was selected on my smartphone and then ‘transferred’ to Chromecast.

Kingsman - a great film, and the real life gadgets are almost as good as the fictional ones
Kingsman – a great film, and the real life gadgets are almost as good as the fictional ones

I noticed a new feature last night – while the film was playing I looked at my phone and the screen showed the characters and actors currently on the TV screen, as well as the music soundtrack. It was like Shazam on steroids!

How many times have you been watching TV and wondered who a specific actor was? If this happens to you regularly, you’ll love the experience.

The phone screen shows actors who are either speaking, and/ or visible on screen, as well as the soundtrack or music titles.

Broadcasters and marketers have promoted two screen experiences for some while. But most have felt gimmicky and one-off features. This was excellent though.


These types of features are the value-add features which will help separate the pay per view TV offerings. Although our main home television isn’t a smart TV, we still have the choice of renting or buying movies on Sky Box Office, BT TV and Google (as well as a Netflix subscription).

I prefer Google at the moment – not only is it the cheapest, but I find Chromecast to be high quality and has the latest films (which I’ve often watched before during a transatlantic journey and want to watch again with Mrs H on a real screen).

Product evolution

The actor recognition part of Google Movies is a good example of how Google constantly iterate their product development. Google are one of the best companies at releasing a new product, often quite revolutionary, with a fast time to market.

Google release products with minimal features and then release regular updates. Their products often travel a maturity curve of revolutionary and minimal; to full featured and expected functionality; and then regular and many smaller evolutionary updates with better-than-expected features. This last stage is what delights customers and keeps products ‘sticky’ (regularly used).

Many companies, especially more traditional ones, believe their customers require all three of these stages in the very first release. Google demonstrates what a truly Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can be – almost skeletal sometimes.

Traditional companies also have the challenge of reaching the second phase – the fully featured product, and then move on to a different new product. Google is exceptional in updating existing product to delight customers – whether it’s new features in Google search, maps, apps, and movies.

1 thought on “Reviewing the new Google Play Movies Second Screen Experience

  1. Great article! For those who live outside US like me, you can access Netflix, Hulu and similar media stations on your Chromecast by using UnoTelly or similar tools.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *