Soon, the Google Cast extension will do nothing but add an extra button to your Chrome toolbar. Beginning with Chrome 51, Google Cast is built directly into the desktop browser and Chrome OS. And in addition to no longer requiring a separate extension for casting, Google is also adding the ability to mirror a Chrome tab directly into Google Hangouts with version 52…

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The Google Cast extension will continue to work, but users will now notice that there is a “Cast…” option in the Chrome Tools menu. Cast is also available by right clicking anywhere in a tab and selecting the option from the menu that pops up. Doing so will open a dropdown that asks whether you want to send just the current tab or your entire desktop and to what Cast device.

unnamedInterestingly, Google has also removed the option to set resolution, bitrate, quality, etc. when mirroring a tab to a device. Chrome now automatically adjusts quality, frame rate, and resolution based upon your content and the quality of the network. There are some minimum system requirements for Mac and PC, but all Chromebooks are capable of Casting from Chrome.

One new feature coming with Chrome 52 (currently in the beta channel) is the ability to Cast a tab into a video Hangout (via AP) . Users have to first Enable Cloud Services from the dropdown menu and schedule an Hangout ahead of time in Google Calendar (or be signed in with an Apps domain for more options). Afterwards, you just follow the same steps as Casting to a regular device. Read more about how to cast to a Hangout in Chrome 52 on Google’s support site.

Chrome 52 should be rolling out to the stable channel shortly, while the rest of the Cast features are available now (or, at least, they should be — one of our stable Chrome 51 devices isn’t showing the aforementioned Cast… option yet).

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