It looks like Google is preparing to revamp and reboot Google TV. And it’s really no surprise as v1.0 hasn’t managed to do really anything of note. But what does Google need to change for Google TV to become a powerful force?
Google TV 1.0 to 2.0
After months of rumors Google TV was finally unveiled a year ago, in May 2010. Using its own Android operating system and Chrome Web browser, and partnering with several hardware manufacturers, Google was hoping to control the future of Web television.
Things didn’t quite pan out that way. Content partners weren’t convinced, and nor were reviewers. And sales of the Logitech set-top box couldn’t match the hype or ambition. Even the new Apple TV did better than Google TV.
There was speculation last week that Google would be seeking to reboot Google TV, and Ina Fried at All Things Digital claims v2.0 is definitely on its way. It’ll likely be shown in brief at the Google I/O conference next week and be ready for release before the holiday season.
The big question is what Google needs to do to turn Google TV from an also-ran into a must-buy?
Improving the hardware will be a must, as will removing the various technical issues that bugged users. The keyboard should probably go, to be replaced with a less-clunky way of interacting with the software.
The whole experience of using Google TV needs to be made much more user-friendly, and the promised “TV-centric version of the Android Market” with lots of third-party apps will help shake things up immensely.
That just leaves content, which is wholly reliant on the big networks and online video content providers such as Hulu coming on board rather than shutting up shop and blocking the platform as it has done so far. That’s a huge problem, one which Google will struggle to solve anytime soon.
There are certain things Google can and likely will do to improve Google TV in the eyes of consumers, manufacturers, and the networks. But the problem the company faces is it’s not completely in control of its own destiny.
Like the rest of the connected TV platforms that are here or are emerging, Google TV needs content to make it worthwhile. And that isn’t something that is easy to come by, at least without paying for the privilege.