Google TV: Its success will come from search - and partnerships

Google TV: Its success will come from search - and partnerships

Summary: Google TV is powerful because it harnesses the power of partnerships and search technology to take it beyond what Yahoo or Apple has attempted.


If Google TV is such a game changer - and I absolutely think that it is - then why is Apple TV still a "hobby?" The short answer to that question is that Apple TV is a product while Google TV is a platform.

Google TV is the name of the technology, but when it comes time to bring the experience to your living room, that technology will be the foundation for a product that has a different brand name on it - perhaps Sony or Logitech or DishNetwork.

Also: Google I/O: Introducing Android Froyo and Google TV

During a press conference at Google I/O today, the company - flanked by CEOs of their Google TV partner companies - noted that the TV ecosystem is ready for a new way to surf. The traditional on-screen guide offered by the cable and satellite guys is outdated. The content we're watching - whether on TV or the Web - is vast and scattered. And, in a DVR age, the time schedule really doesn't matter either.

Google, through the use of search, is allowing users to jump right in to a viewing experience that should have a relatively low learning curve. A search box is pretty easy to understand and Google is harnessing the power of the results to give users what they want. If you want to watch an episode of South Park, for example, you type in the show's name and get a lineup that includes actual TV airings of that show - whether it's on Comedy Central now or a CW affiliate later tonight - as well as the places where you can find it on the web, likely on

In some ways, it's unfair to compare Google TV to Apple TV because they do very different things. Apple TV is more an an extension of iTunes, bringing that content - music, photos, purchased videos (but not rented ones) from iTunes on the Mac/PC to the living room screen. Aside from YouTube, it wasn't bringing any Web content into the device. And it certainly wasn't bringing third-party apps into the Apple TV experience.

I've argued in the past that Apple's exclusive agreement with AT&T on the iPhone allowed others - Google, Palm, RIM and others - to innovate and develop competitive products. The same could be said about TV. Apple continues to sit on Apple TV and snub it, slowing its advancement and downplaying it as a hobby.

TV, with its 4 billion or so viewers, is hardly a hobby. Between content and advertising, viewer loyalty and even the celebrity element, TV is a big business that's bursting at the seams, eager for a "new way" to watch.

Yahoo is already ahead of the curve with its Yahoo Connected TV but it's not quite an apples-to-apples experience with what Google is offering. Yahoo is using widgets to bring in Web content - but things like Yahoo News headlines and Flickr images - into the TV experience.  I like what Yahoo is trying to do but you have to recognize the significance of allowing users to search for Web-based video content and bring it directly into the TV viewing experience.

As for the partnerships, both Google and Yahoo are on the right track by building the technology that powers something that their partners - as well as developers - can harness and expand on. Google has already proven, through Android, that that model can work.

If Apple is at all serious about being a player in Web-enabled television content, it's got its work cut out for it.

Google TV is slated to become available in Fall 2010. Pricing details have not yet been released.

See more Google I/O coverage:

Topics: Google, Hardware, Mobility

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  • Video content hosts & owners to develop Google TV apps

    Video content hosts & owners will be moving to create Google TV android apps to enhance discovery of their content.

    I think Google TV will be seen as a monumental inflection point in the realization of "TV convergence."

    Android developers are going to have a field day employing dynamic querying of TV metadata and calling related internet content to deliver highly personalized & contextualized extended viewer engagement opportunities.
  • Why do we insist on following Apple's euphamisms?

    Just because Apple calls it a "hobby" doesn't mean that we have to jump right on board. A rose by any other name smells as sweet. An abject failure by any other name (hobby) still stinks as bad and boy does AppleTV ever stink!!!
    • RE: Google TV: Its success will come from search - and partnerships

      @NonZealot I live overseas and I will tell you that my family and I love our Apple TV. Even though we love our host country, Apple TV makes it easier for us to keep up with the programs we love. I am not a Apple Kool Aid drinker by any means but, this and my Ipod are to Apple Devices I can really stand behind.
      • RE: Google TV: Its success will come from search - and partnerships

        And I like my Zune. Does that mean that Zune is a success?
  • Google's "Cue Cat"?

    [i] TV is a big business that?s bursting at the seams, eager for a ?new way? to watch.[/i]

    What does that mean? The features you mention (search for programs) is becoming pretty standard with any cable/fios box out there, so how does this add anything different to that equation?

    Too many people have tried to define TV beyond what people actually use a TV fior: watching TV. I've been hearing how "TV is dead" because of the internet, now you're saying the opposite, that people just want to do everything but watch it?

    I have the strong feeling this will fade to the same realm that AppleTv has found itself in.
  • You forgot to mention that it doesn't work.

    You saw the demo, yesterday, right? "Switch to the other box!"

    The voice search capability is pretty cool, but I think I'll stick with the awesome Windows 7 Media Center.
  • RE: Google TV: Its success will come from search - and partnerships

    If this is browser based and just a tweak to make it surf easier using your remote, then its a lame attempt, if you are just bringing me a browser site to my tv what's the point, I would like to see better the Vuze HD network on my TV than a bunch of dirty browser applications on my TV. I will watch closely to Microsoft next move on the three screens strategy now that they have annunced to extend Silverlight platform to devices, I think thats what you should call a platform <img border="0" src="" alt="happy">
  • RE: Google TV: Its success will come from search - and partnerships

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