GoogleTV Merges the Web and TV (WebTV 2.0?)
As anticipated, and demonstrated today (streaming live on YouTube), Google announced their GoogleTV product. Although there were some persistent live demo problems with their remote, the product did offer improvement over some traditional search and presentation formats.
Search is the Key: The search engine blends the web and live TV into one seamless interface. When a search word is entered, hits from Netflix, YouTube, and all of the available live TV channels are found. The selection process allows you to flip from web to TV and back to the web with the “same’ remote. What was missing was the DLNA discovery feature which would have also listed the stored content you already have on your DVR , your NAS drive, phone or PC.
What about the Remote: Once again, the remote needs a keyboard to enter text data. In the past, this has been a limiting factor of the “lean back” experience. As their live demo showed, remotes have their limitations. Using your standard TV remote without text keys is a pain. Google may have the answer by using Android with “Speech Search”. Using an Android phone, you can speak your search term into the phone and the results will come up on the TV screen. Very helpful for those who are not into typing.
Music, Games, Social Networks: Because they are using the TV as a web monitor, all of the content and applications which were limited to your PC (or phone) are now available for the TV. The demo included looking at your photos stored on a Flicker account on your TV. What is presumed is that with DLNA (Windows7) content on any device in the home will also be available for viewing.
A Few New Features: Speech search (which is great), and Translated Captions are the key new features. Aside from them, the other features have been demonstrated and sold by this author for the past 4 years. Some have even been available longer. Several companies have used their middleware to allow the Netflix, Amazon and web browsing on TV via a Set Top Box. Photos, Music and content sharing have been available using DLNA devices. DLNA has also allowed Nokia phones to act as a controller for the content being displayed on your TV. What was not presented was a key DLNA feature which allows the user to print from the TV. This would be a key selling feature if there were an ad which involved a printed coupon for a special discount.
Using the Google Name to Sell the Features: The best-selling feature is the Google trademark on the product. Using their name to bring the idea of the Connected TV into the mainstream. It also opens up new opportunities for ads and ad revenue for Google. Much of the demonstration showed how existing web content can be displayed on the TV. This means that Google is moving from the laptop in the home office to the TV in the living room. Not a bad move.
New Devices Needed: Bringing out key Sony, Best Buy and Dish Network spokesmen at the end of the demo shows that Google is keenly aware that they need the cooperation of the entire TV broadcast eco-system to pull this off. New TVs need to be built with embedded features and functionality to accept the Google Chrome and Android programs which make up GoogleTV. And traditional broadcasters as well as OTT services need to embrace the technology for the consumer to get a better entertainment experience.
All in all a tremendous amount of buzz created for the Connected TV world.
Keep pushing forward.
[You may contact Jeff directly for consulting and full-time employment opportunities.]