Seven months ago, when I first heard about Chromecast, I assumed it would follow in the footsteps of Google's prior attempts at consumer products, becoming a laughable epic fail.
Before Chromecast, Google's consumer products tended to be "by Google engineers, for Google engineers" too complex and too many features for average mainstream consumers. Somehow the Chromecast team managed to avoid the pressure to satisfy engineers, developers, and Silicon Valley geeks first. They were able to leave features out, to make the device simpler with fewer features, which is never easy for any company, but has been especially challenging for Google.
Many of the failed projects, like Google TV and Nexus Q, were based on Android. While not an absolute failure, one could certainly argue that even the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 have not exactly been consumer hits, being more targeted to developers than average consumers. Chromecast is based on the Chrome operating system instead.
Regardless of the underlying OS, the important break away from prior Google consumer product attempts is that Chromecast puts non-technical every-day consumers first. So much so, that some of Google's usual early adopters, developers, have been critical of Chromecast and Google's new strategy.
It will be interesting to see if the success of Chromecast with consumers will be an outlier or a new trend. Either way, I was wrong about Chromecast and I really like what I see in this new approach to consumer products by the search giant.