Chromecast in the Courtroom

Lately, I’ve been playing a lot with my Chromecast and Nexus Player, trying to figure out how to make them more than media consumption devices. The biggest boost has been by showing Android games on the television for the family to cheer about.

Chromecast

Viva la revolución!

When Google announced Chromecast, and then followed up by opening the Google Cast API, I believed (and here) this new device was going to revolutionize the way lawyers presented media. To my knowledge, that hasn’t happened.

One of the chief reasons is that Google took forever to open the Google Cast API to developers. This delayed any significant use. Additionally, Google hasn’t even fully integrated Google Cast API in its most relevant apps. Slides is an excellent candidate for Cast compatibility, but we’re not seeing any new push of features.

Developers’ refusal reluctance to build apps for Android is a second, smaller hindrance to full-fledged revolution. Once again, an app like TrialPad, which is currently only available for iOS, is a perfect candidate for Google Cast compatibility.

There are some possibilities

Screen mirroring

Setting aside compatibility issues, it’s still possible for lawyers to use their Chromecast devices in the courtroom using the mirroring feature.

Android L Cast Screen

For the uninitiated, mirroring is the process of displaying your device’s screen on another device, such as a projector or television. The audience sees exactly what you’re seeing.

Google opened up the mirroring function in Chromecast for compatible devices. Screen mirroring also works with Nexus Player.

cast_screen

Check whether your device has Miracast functionality to use this feature. (Another reason to upgrade your phone or tablet.)

Mirroring will enable you to display your screen to an audience and showcase particular items. I’ve used mirroring to hover on Google Earth sites, display presentations, and show off games or other apps during presentations. Mirroring isn’t a perfect solution, but it works for about ninety percent of my scenarios.

I will admit, I wish Google Earth had a full screen option, which would remove the navigation buttons from the bottom of the screen. I also recommend that you use a larger-screen device, at least for convenience. While you can pinch, zoom, and pan on a 5 inch screen, I much prefer my 10 inch tablet when I display Google Earth. Some users also report stuttering or other tidbits of slowness. That generally hasn’t been my experience thanks to several Chromecast updates. But peak performance depends heavily on your device and internet connection. Finally, don’t forget to turn off notifications, since those may appear as you’re using your device.

Mirroring isn’t the perfect solution, but at least it’s a possibility.

Cast a tab

“Tab casting” is a feature in Google Chrome that will allow you to display the contents of a browser tab on Chromecast. This is where I use Google Slides to give presentations, since it’s easy to use, speedy, and looks nice, too. Note that you can cast any browser material, including movies and media. So the possibilities are enormous.

Chromecast in the courtroom

First, I should start by saying that I don’t expect a lot of attorneys to jump on this Chromecast bandwagon. The reality is that if you’re going to use technology, you’re going to want to make sure it works. Since looks are everything in most trials, fumbling around with poor technology resources is catastrophic.

But I don’t think you should fear too much, especially if you’re prepared. The key aspect for implementation of Chromecast in court and in any presentation I do is my investment in a wireless access point. Personally, I opted for one of Verizon’s Jetpack devices, which gives me access anywhere. Verizon has the best coverage, so I rarely worry about connectivity and I don’t have to rely on the courtroom or hotel internet for access.

I scope out the venue ahead of time to check connectivity and resources. If it’s going to work, then I’ll jump in with my Chromecast plan. If not, there are a hundred other tried and true options. But preparation is the key.

The next step is to create an environment where I can use my device efficiently. This is where a larger screen comes in handy, but your small screen will work. Prepare your presentation so that you can access materials quickly from the desktop — folders are very helpful. I place all of my documents and materials in one folder.

If you’re captivating in your presentation, audiences will understand and give you leeway when you have to “grab” new material. I’ve also found that there’s a sense of connection between you and the audience when they get to see portions of your desktop. This is sacred ground for most people. We highly covet our device personalizations, but revealing that to others has a connectivity. They will forgive you when you know what you’re talking about and explain what you’re doing. Often, you won’t even have to take those measures.

Finally, if you’re going to use your Chromecast, then have confidence that everything will work out fine. I was petrified the first time with a million “what if” questions. In reality, I should have worried more about my final product that the technology.

Resources

Here’s are two suggestions for resources, if you’re looking to venture into the Chromecast area:

  1. Check out the Chromecast tag on this blog. If I’ve blogged about Chromecast, it’s under this tag.
  2. Check out the Chromecast Google+ community. There are 55,000+ members of this group who will help with any issue, plus you can usually find an interesting article or two to make Chromecast more fun.

2 Responses to Chromecast in the Courtroom

  1. It is a shame they aren’t using Chromecast to its fullest potential – I would definitely agree that if they were, it would definitely revolutionize how we present in court. Here’s hoping things change soon, as the Chromecast sounds very interesting, but I would like there to be more uses for it before I get it!

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.