Skip to main content

Google lowering Chromecast Ambient Mode quality temporarily to save bandwidth

Google is set to lower the quality of Chromecast Ambient Mode slideshow quality temporarily to ease the pressure on internet infrastructure.

We’ve seen Google reduce quality on quite a few of its products now including Nest video, YouTube video defaults, Hangouts, plus a few more. The Chromecast Ambient Mode photo slideshow mode is the latest product to get a quality dip as the internet reels from increased usage due to global COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown (via Android Police).

In a dedicated support post, the Chromecast team confirmed that the rotation speed of Ambient Mode on Chromecast devices and even smart displays will slow and the resolution of images will decrease over the coming days to help ease internal home internet speeds as well as overall network strain.

As many of you know, a lot has changed in the last few weeks due to the impact of COVID-19. With schools and businesses being closed, many people are trying to juggle learning and working remotely, balancing job demands with personal time, and keeping in touch with friends and family virtually.

Amid these changes, we’re all straining local internet resources and causing slower internet connections, which are resulting in dropped video calls and frozen screens. To answer the global call to prioritize internet bandwidth for learning and working, in the next few days we’ll be making changes to lighten internet usage and keep people connected.

We are changing the rotation speed of Ambient Mode photo slideshows on Chromecast and Displays, and slightly reducing the resolution of the images in those slideshows. These changes may not be noticeable, but we hope they will help improve internet speeds in your household and community. When internet resources are less inundated, we’ll return this setting back to its previous state.

Google notes that you shouldn’t notice any major difference in quality when the Chromecast Ambient mode is active. However, there is no information on whether you will be able to manually adjust settings back to default or otherwise.

It’s not entirely clear what actual change this might have on bandwidth usage, as the images are not being streamed in the same way that video is online. Even if the gain is only minor, with millions of people running Ambient Mode concurrently, even a minor dip in quality could add up to quite a significant data saving.

More on Google:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel



Avatar for Damien Wilde Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter @iamdamienwilde. Email

Damien Wilde's favorite gear