Google Play Movies is getting second-screen smarts for Chromecast

Google’s Play Movies app for Android phones and tablets is getting an update that isn’t just bringing the company’s new material design philosophy to the app, but should also make using it with Chromecast a lot more interesting.

The update, which starts rolling out today and will be available to all users over the next few days, comes with a dedicated second-screen mode that will relay relevant information to the mobile device while you watch a movie on the TV screen.

Play Movies - Second Screen

For example, the app will show cards for the actors of a movie as soon as they appear on the screen, and other cards will tell you which song is playing as part of the soundtrack without the need to fire up Shazam. Similar cards are also available for some of the more popular TV shows on Google Play.

This kind of second-screen experience isn’t entirely new — Amazon is doing something similar with its Fire tablets, Fire TV and Amazon Prime Instant — but it is an interesting example of something  Chromecast VP Mario Queiroz mentioned when he was on stage at Gigaom’s Structure Connect conference last week: Now that many apps have basic media casting capabilities, the next step may be to build more advanced experiences that take advantage of both screens.