Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

Summary: Google's vision for next-gen TV isn't so crazy if it can leverage Motorola Mobility with a different approach

SHARE:
28

Google has never been the one to provide original content - from video and news to music and images. Google has always been about indexing that content, making it readily available to the masses and then incorporating advertising to turn it into a gold mine.

That's why, when Google chairman Eric Schmidt makes a bold statement about Google TV's future, I try to keep an open mind.

Related: Google's Schmidt delusional on TV again: 5 ways to end the madness

Sure, Google TV as we know it today is non-starter. The idea of bringing a keyboard and a browser to the living room is a deal-breaker - and Google should have known it, given the repeated failures of others who tried to bring the PC to the TV in earlier years. (Disclosure: I have the Logitech Revue in my living room and, aside from the Netflix and Pandora apps, it's pretty much a brick.)

But who's to say what Google TV might look like five years from now. The power of Google TV is the technology, not the actual device - and certainly not the content. And with Google now in the set-top business - thanks to that acquisition of Motorola Mobility - it's not hard to imagine that Google TV technology could make its way into homes everywhere. It's also not hard to imagine the cable guys - who want to be more than just the dumb pipe of the Internet - getting on-board with a premium service that delivers videos from Hulu, YouTube or Netflix to the customer.

Remember when TiVo was the enemy because it allowed viewers to fast-forward past commercials? It wasn't until the DVR technology started showing up in the set-top boxes that the TiVo-like concept went mainstream. Today, every cable and satellite company offers a DVR.

In many ways, TiVo and Google face similar challenges: Viewers don't understand the concept and Hollywood is scared of it. But if Google can educate viewers by offering them what they do understand - YouTube and Netflix, for example - as an introduction to Google TV, they might stand a chance on that front. Convincing Hollywood is a bigger challenge but maybe the answer is to partner with the cable and satellite guys on the hardware side and let them deal with Hollywood negotiations, something that they're old hands at.

For Google, this isn't about controlling the content - that's not what Google does. It wants to be the technology that brings it all together and presents it nice and neat in front of the user (in this case, the viewer) - a preface to selling and delivering advertisers to those same users. That's the business model and Google TV should be no exception.

Finally, it's important to remember that the target audience with the Google TV concept is not an old guy like me, the Al Bundy type who wants to be a coach potato with a remote on an NFL Sunday. It's the up-and-coming generations, those who will use on-screen interactive features to share their thoughts about their favorite shows on social media, engage in a video trash talk session during halftime or check out some friends' favorite clips.

It's not so crazy to imagine that sort of behavior when you consider that today's teens - with all that texting and Facebooking and YouTubing they do - will be full-fledged adult consumers by then.

Hmmm. Maybe Schmidt is on to something here.

Related:

Topics: Mobility, Google, Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

28 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

    Googles intensions are evil, they pretend that they only want to provide a platform/technology. If that is the case, where will they shove their dirty ads

    Its better to have many service providers controlling the tv content rather than big corporates like apple/MS/Google controlling the tv. Let them build the hardware or platform, but never grant them the power to control the content.

    With companies like google involved in drug sales, there is always a possibilty of abuse. We dont want these idiots shoving content down our throat..
    owlnet
    • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

      Wait, you're saying TV right now doesn't have ads? I wasn't aware of this.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

        @goff256
        Exactly. Marketing and advertising is a huge part of the US economic engine and owlnet's attitude is a little short sighted.
        hoaxoner
      • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

        Owlnet's attitude is that Google can do no right.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • You are right, but it's not the same thing that will occur with Google.

        Advertising won't be avoidable if people expect "free" programming and/or free Google/Microsoft/Apple content.

        However, the difference lies in how Google and other internet content providers manage your TV viewing.

        Right now, you get an ad with no input from you about what advertising you prefer to see.

        With Google, your ads will be served with Google spying on your specific viewing preferences. A lot of the invasive advertising that I get on my internet browsing, indicates that somebody has "followed" my browsing habits and my e-mail contents, etc. So, why put up with the same spying and invasion through your TV?
        adornoe
      • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

        @Michael Alan Goff Thank you for sharing! <a href="http://www.uggsdiscounts.org">discount ugg</a> <a href="http://www.uggsdiscounts.org">discounted uggs</a> <a href="http://www.uggsdiscounts.org">uggs discount</a>
        3shao
    • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

      @owlnet Everything has ads. Most things that you watch are completely driven off of ads. I mean look even at movies, you pay to see a movie and you watch ads before and after the movie, and even during the movie ads are incorporated.
      Jimster480
    • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

      @owlnet

      "Its better to have many service providers controlling the tv content rather than big corporates like apple/MS/Google controlling the tv."

      Doesn't Comcast control a lot of content and also build the pipeline. I would worry about them before Google.
      Anti Fanboy
  • What cable company would EVER buy a STB with &quot;Google inside?&quot;

    GoogleTV makes cable providers even more of a "dumb pipe" rather than less. All those features you mention are great for Google but what value do they add to the providers themselves, who in their minds are doing all the [expensive] work?

    The providers [b]hate[/b] YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix. They want to decrease usage, not increase it. So the last thing they want to do is put a Google layer over the content they spend a lot of money to provide-granted, at a nice, fat monthly subscription fee.

    Finally, your Tivo reference is a good one. What happened when every cable provider started offering DVR services? Tivo usage plummeted? A 3rd party can never compete with the cable providers when they chose to start bundling it.
    matthew_maurice
    • The Google channel

      @matthew_maurice
      With unlimited access to STB technology, google could be setting themselves up a (first?) truly interactive internet TV channel. They could filter/format internet content, add or control the advertising, and deliver the content to cable providers just like any other network. The major difference being that, with STB access, they could also deliver from the end user. I don't see any reason the cable providers wouldn't want to partner with a new (very) premium Google channel. They could do everything Netflix, Youtube, Hula, Facebook, Twitter et al do now, and make it seamless.
      HooNoze
      • But where would Google get the content.

        @HooNoze

        Google is in the business of making content (from software to books) and information a commodity with no value. The only value Google wants anyone to be able to extract from original works is by linking the content to their ad engines.

        So why would Hulu, Netflix, CBS, NBC, Fox, WB, ... want to partner with that?
        Bruizer
      • Google content

        @Bruizer
        It's the cable companies that wouldn't have a problem with Google as a partner. To some extent the others like Netflix would be competitors. But I don't see any reason why google couldn't both use existing internet content like Youtube, Facebook etc, and partner with content creators. For content creators, Google would just be another distribution channel - much like a current TV station except interactive. Google would insert the advertising, and even do interactive ads. This would still be in keeping with Google's business model of collecting ad revenue from content they don't own, although they would have to pay licensing fees.

        The biggest problem I see for Google in that scenario is that more and more TV's are being equiped with built-in internet access. Because of internet access, they also have the ability to self-update as new internet services become available, and a camera and do 2-way video communication etc. This may tend to reduce the value of a google STB. The "internet experience" may become a major selling feature of future televisions. If this is true then Google STB's may only be a short term solution.
        HooNoze
      • What Google Channel?

        @HooNoze <i>"They could filter/format internet content, add or control the advertising, and deliver the content to cable providers just like any other network."</i> But as Bruizer asks, who's going to give them the content? The Cable companies already have their ties with the production arms via the "channels." TW, Comcast, and all the rest already have the content, and they <b>are</b> the STB market. They're not going to let Google get between them and their subscribers under any circumstance. And without all the shows GoogleTV has nothing to offer, except YouTube.
        matthew_maurice
      • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

        @matthew_maurice
        Google could license content exactly the same way netflix does right now, and also provide a more interactive TV service. The STB's already do 2-way communication. Google wouldn't have to eliminate everybody else, just create their own interactive specialty channel with their own interface to social networking sites, youtube etc. The cable companies are the STB customers, but google TV could be marketed as another premium service. I think they could do it. I'm just not so sure it really is a good longterm solution.
        HooNoze
    • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

      @matthew_maurice

      Not entirely true. Google beat AOL/TimeWarner.

      TiVo was axed by a trick more than anything. Cablecard was a scam orchestrated by cable companies. Cablecards were slow to get out, the readers were years late on top of that, and then, the cable company had the audacity to "bundle" the price of their STB into the rate, but charge you extra for a cable card. TiVo was poisoned because they made the mistake of sitting down at the same table as the cable companies.
      tkejlboom
  • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

    Problem is Google has really screwed up the last couple of products/services they offered. Its a trend with them. When Google shows they can build something of quality then the people might get interested.
    LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
  • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

    <I> Its the up-and-coming generations, those who will use on-screen interactive features to share their thoughts about their favorite shows on social media, engage in a video trash talk session during halftime or check out some friends favorite clips. Its not so crazy to imagine that sort of behavior when you consider that todays teens - with all that texting and Facebooking and YouTubing they do - will be full-fledged adult consumers by then.</I><br><br>Silly. The TVs in our homes are shared viewing experience, so while the teenager is engadged in a video trash-talking session with friends (how personal) it means I don't get to continue viewing my shows. I've argued in the past that Google have this all backwards, and as we are seeing now with Logitec and other manufacturers they will fail, or remain in that very small niche space.<br><br>In five years from now every household will have iPads and other tablet devices that's connected to our home network, TVs and other home appliances (Airplay, DLNA, wifi, bluetooth). If a teenager wants to do trash-talking with friends (via video or social app), he/she can do so on their own personal iPads without disturbing the rest of the family viewing the show. Want to search for the next show or movie to cue up next but without stopping the current movie from playing? Grab the iPad from the coffee table. Want to share a funny clip or photo with the rest of the family? Just send it to the TV from the iPad or iPhone via Airplay. Want to control the shows the kids are watching in the next room, grab the iPad and launch the Remote App.
    dave95.
    • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

      @dave95. Good thoughts - I agree this is more the way it will/should look. One shared device (the TV) and other devices with additional features/control (tablets, phones, whatever). Much like kids now who watch TV while texting or other activities.
      guy20
    • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

      @dave95.

      I agree somewhat except for using overpriced tablets and phones to do what you are stating. I have a $300 XBOX 360 which is a world class gaming platform, and with my $150 Kinect, I voice control my entire experience, including searching for movies on netflix, etc.

      Using phones, tablets and apps for stuff like this is a decade old concept and it is really no different than a using a keyboard and mouse except that those cost a fraction of a tablet or phone.
      omdguy
  • RE: Google TV 2016: Maybe Schmidt is on to something with his bold predictions

    I still don't understand the whole "No keyboard in the livingroom" sentiment. I've had a keyboard and mouse in my living room for 4 yeras now. Many of my friends see this, and connect their computers with keyboards and mice as well. I don't really know anyone who DOESN'T have this setup these days.
    Droid101