Google today announced a new Chromecast feature that lets you turn your TV screen into a backdrop. To turn on this functionality, you’ll need to download the new version of the app directly from Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Backdrop is essentially a screensaver for your TV. It lets you show photo albums from Google+, artwork from galleries and museums from the Google Cultural Institute, news and lifestyle images from various publications (U.S. only), and even satellite imagery of some of the hardest-to-reach places on Earth from Google Maps.


To get started, open the Chromecast app on your phone or tablet and select “Backdrop” from the left menu. All you have to do is choose the topics for the type of content you want, and you’re good to go.

Yet the app does more than that: If you’re moved by a picture you see on your TV, you can learn more about it by tapping on the card in the Backdrop section to find out more. Better yet, you can fire up the Google app on your Android or iOS device, tap the microphone icon and just ask “What’s on my Chromecast?”

This is a great addition to Chromecast and all, though we can’t help but point out this runs contrary to Google’s renewable energy initiatives. Sigh.