It may not make a major impact on the world’s Internet consumption right now, but as they say, every little bit helps. Google has now announced that they will be temporarily reducing the quality and speed of its Chromecast and smart displays, at least when it comes to the Ambient Mode. This means that the photo quality and slideshow speed, if you’re using that mode, will be lessened in order to contribute to efforts to ease the strain on the global bandwidth brought on by stay-at-home policies in many countries around the world.
This temporary change will be rolling out over the next few days for those who are using Chromecast’s Ambient Mode. This mode actually lets you turn your smart displays into a photo slideshow machine when you’re not using it. What will be affected with the lowering of bandwidth is the photo quality and the slideshow speed. The adjustment will not have a major effect since it’s not really video streaming like with Netflix or YouTube or even the recently announced change for Nest cameras.
What’s not clear though is if users will be able to manually adjust the default settings, just like with the other services that have decided to lower the quality fo their videos. The settings for the ambient mode slideshow speed can be anywhere from every 5 seconds to 10 minutes so it can be manually adjusted in normal times. Now that it will be slowed down, we don’t know if users can still adjust it. There’s no settings for image quality as of now.
While this will probably not have a significant effect on the global bandwidth at this time as compared to what YouTube has done, Android Police shares that a Lenovo Smart Display, which has a similar Ambient Mode to Nest Hub displays can use 200MB per day even when you’re not using it and it’s just rotating images every minute. Reducing the frequency to just every five minutes brings usage down to just 50MB/day. So it does make a slight difference.
Google says you probably will not notice the change anyway so there will not be any complaints about this (hopefully). The Chromecast change will roll out over the next few days.