Google TV's upgrade: Good incremental steps toward something better

Google TV's upgrade: Good incremental steps toward something better

Summary: Google said today that it will begin rolling out four major updates to the GoogleTV service that was launched earlier this year. That's a good thing.

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Google said today that it will begin rolling out four major updates to the GoogleTV service that was launched earlier this year. That's a good thing.

I'm a fan of what Google TV might become, though I wasn't initially blown away but what it looked like upon launch. I've been toying with a Logitech Revue unit and, while it was fun at the beginning, found it too limited and too clunky to give it a permanent spot next to the TV. (It's still there on a temporary basis.)

The four updates announced today are good first steps at making the service better - but still not enough to make it a must-have. The updates are:

A better Netflix app that allows users to search for movies to stream and even order DVDs to be mailed. One of my earliest beefs with Google TV's Netflix app was the limited capabilities. Before, I had to go to my PC and log into Netflix to surf for streaming movies and add them to my queue so they could sync to Google TV. Yeah, that got old fast. So this is definitely an improvement.

The Dual View feature, or what I call the picture-in-picture feature, now allows users to resize those windows for more seamless viewing and web surfing at the same time. Personally, this does nothing for me. I like Google TV to search for video programming, not to tweet or go on Facebook or check e-mail. More customization is always good, I suppose, if you're someone who's into watching and surfing at the same time.

An enhanced remote control for Android phones now allows for voice search. That's kind of cool. I didn't care much for the big bulky computer-like keyboard that came with the unit so I was quick to install the Android app - and it's worked like a charm. My biggest issue with it, however, was typing in searches. Now that the voice recognition technology on Android is better, this should make the Google TV experience better, as well.

Enhanced movie results is probably something that Google TV users will come to appreciate over time. This is basically enhancing the search capabilities on the platform by allowing users to dig deeper - such as researching actors and discovering more content to watch. Again, if it enhances the experience of using Google TV to allow for better movie watching, then go for it.

The Android remote control app is available now in the Android Marketplace but won't be at 100 percent until the Google TV unit is updated, as well.

Topics: Mobility, Google, Hardware

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12 comments
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  • What Am I Missing

    We purchased the Google TV when Logitech first announced it. The device arrived after it was available in stores for $299. Other than Netflix and a web browser, the device might as well be a boat anchor... if only it were a little heavier. Today we purchased an Xbox 360 with Kinect and a free game. The bundle was $299 at Target. To say there's no comparison in the two would certainly be the nicest thing you could say about Google TV. And I'm anything but a Microsoft fanboy. Talk about vaporware. Google TV takes the cake!
    wmundy
    • From what I've been hearing

      you're far from alone.
      John Zern
    • RE: Google TV's upgrade: Good incremental steps toward something better

      @wmundy
      You're missing the point then.

      Google TV is supposed to be able to type in a search... this search will go through your cable channels, internet sites, etc, for viewing content. If I type in Morgan Freeman, I should get a quick link to all TV shows and movies on my cable box with him in it, in addition to his IMDB profile from the internet, any YouTube videos featuring him, and any Web Videos or available Netflix movies or shows with him in it.

      It's supposed to make watching and finding content easier. It's NOT just a Netflix portal. If that's all you're using it for, you wasted your money.
      Droid101
      • RE: Google TV's upgrade: Good incremental steps toward something better

        @Droid101

        No, you are missing the point.

        Google TV is supposed to enable Google to add your TV and video watching habits to their database so they can target more adds and make more money from your profile. That is does something to help you with your watching is the price they are willing to pay.

        Are you willing to pay the price of more Google snooping?
        jorjitop
      • Google snooping?

        You mean Google might learn about my love of the show "Dexter"? Quick, call the Justice Department!
        Michael Alan Goff
  • Google TV is horrible Now.

    Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV have all blocked their programming from
    Google TV, as has Hulu. Why would anyone want to pay $300 for a "TV" box that is blocked from so much programming? You can get more channels from services like TVDevo.com . I've tried it. It's much easier to use and can show a lot of tv shows both live and on-demand.
    GoogleTV Might evolve into a better product in ther "Future", but right now it's just for Geeks who like to toy around with it, rather than watch TV and enjoy.
    kathyweig
  • RE: Google TV's upgrade: Good incremental steps toward something better

    @goff256 :-) LOL

    I love when people claim to be so paranoid over Google knowing some info on you. Hey @joritop, does Google have your home address, your credit card number, etc.? OKay, now I ask you - does any of your other service providers do? And you're worried about GOOGLE? Please, get over it.

    Google TV makes your TV watching smarter and more enhanced. That's it. And it works. I love mine. It's not a computer replacement, it's not going to change the world. It's going to change HOW your watch TV, not necessarily WHAT you watch on TV.

    Do you honestly enjoy searching for a show on your standard cable\satellite box with that awful remote? I didn't think so. What takes you 5 minutes on the standard box takes you 2 seconds on Google TV.

    Hey, you know what - if you don't like it, don't buy one. More for us to enjoy.
    ddevito@...
    • RE: Google TV's upgrade: Good incremental steps toward something better

      @ddevito@...
      I think you and I may be the only ones in this comment thread who actually have Google TV. My Revue has already changed our family viewing habits.

      It certainly is a work-in-progress. I still switch back to my Roku for Hulu plus or to search for streaming content on Netflix. But notice, in this first software update, Revue will overtake Roku in the power of its Netflix app (ordering DVDs). And it is only a matter of $ negotiations before Hulu plus and all the networks are available on Google TV.

      Roku is a great box. Over the last two years it has revolutionized our viewing habits. But GoogTV has built another revolution on top of that. Roku can only keep up with GoogTV by becoming the same thing.

      My prediction. All the naysayers here will have GoogTV or something equivalent within two years. They will have missed the fun of being part of an important revolution in our daily lives. And, they will deny ever having spoken against something which, by then, will seem obvious to everyone.

      Keith
      keith.manning@...
      • RE: Google TV's upgrade: Good incremental steps toward something better

        @keith.manning@...
        Although I don't have one (yet) I agree with you, after years of not having a DVR once i got it i can't imagine living without it!
        WardChristman
      • RE: Google TV's upgrade: Good incremental steps toward something better

        @keith.manning@... Completly agree with you an it there loads of rivals to Google TV heading to the market, so far none of them have a full browser yet.
        Knowles2
  • RE: Google TV's upgrade: Good incremental steps toward something better

    I like the Google TV product I just got mine from DISH Network where I work. I first used this equipment there and I liked it. The features like this thing searches my DVR viewing schedule by program title or actor name, etc. It also searches the web. It can automatically schedule programs. I love the voice activated remote and the preloaded apps are great too. I think this product is great and I think that it's going to get even better with more apps out.
    Joe1DISH
  • RE: Google TV's upgrade: Good incremental steps toward something better

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