April 27, 2012

Google TV Doesn't Make Sense Yet, But It Will

Google TV hasn't taken off. Not because it's a bad product. Despite some early hardware limitations and software glitches, Google TV has grown into a great product. But it's crippled by the big networks' refusal to stream content to it. Most content from Hulu and network sites like Fox, NBC, and CBS won't be viewable. So, if people aren't buying, why is Google continuing to work on it?

Google TV's YouTube App Update

In fact, Google has just updated its YouTube app. This update brings better, smoother buffering as well as personalized recommendations and a +1 button. on the whole, this update brings the Google TV app closer to the experience you get on the desktop or mobile device.

The Game Plan

Right now, Google TV is just a cool little box you buy for your TV with a few cool apps. It's got some integration with your Google Account, like giving you access to your playlists and favorites, letting you rent movies on your desktop and watching them on your TV, and even having some limited access to the apps on the Play Store. You also have access to other Google services like Search and Gmail.

But it's still lacking the true deep integration with Google+ (or Google Drive). Not to mention the Play Store still lacks a truly comprehensive collection of movies, music, and apps that would make people feel like Google TV can be the one device to rule their living room. Google can't expect to sell many devices until these problems are fixed. But we also know that Google is fixing them.

Not only are they continually adding to their music and movie collections, with this update, they are taking small steps toward making Google TV a more social way to experience the boob tube. Google TV will also need to build out its app library before it's truly complete.

The initial vision is already being realized. You start a movie on your phone on the bus from work, and as soon as you're home, you pick it right up on your TV. But what if you would also pick up a game of Angry Birds on your phone and pick it up at the same place on your TV? What if all of your apps and games--not just movies and music--were seamlessly available across your devices, on all screen sizes, from a 4-inch phone to a 72-inch TV. That's Google's long-term vision. And if Google successfully realizes this vision, Google TV will truly become an indispensable device.