Google TV: Apple, Time to Take Notes
The Google I/O developer conference continued this morning with the official announcement of Google TV, the search giant’s much anticipated foray into the televisual and attempt at revolutionizing the format. Trying to create revolutions has become something of Google’s MO, what with the hype machine driving the releases of Google Wave and the Nexus One superphone, and if you bought into that hype you might be a bit wary about buying into this latest of Google paradigm shifts. All the same, Google has clearly invested some serious thought into how to answer the now age-old question of “How do you rightly combine the computer screen with the TV screen?” And in a way that makes one wonder where the competition has been all this time.
Google and their partners have worked on a suite of hardware and software — from set-top boxes, to apps, to TVs — that will work together to make channel surfing a thing of the past and do away with those necessarily evil guide menus that most of us have gotten used to. Centering on search (this is Google after all), customers will be able to search for their preferred content via a universal search bar, save it, and come back to it whenever they please. Making use of the Android platform, the extensibility of the experience to different devices is pretty clear and only depends of developers’ imaginations as to how you might use your Android smartphone or even computer as a part of watching TV. To get a clearer idea of what I’m talking about, check out the video below.
While this doesn’t necessarily break new ground in the whole TV/internet thing, it does make an soundish argument for why you might want to go with Google when this technology is released. Google has been cagey with specifics, but they have been working with Sony, Logitech, Dish Network, and Intel to bring the product into the mainstream.
The next question is: Where is Apple on this?
Mac users may be wondering why, with the Apple TV now three years old, Apple hasn’t shown more love to the television market. The New York Times called the product “something of a half-hearted attempt” during the event, and Steve Jobs has been quoted saying the whole category was a hobby less than 2 years ago. It’s time to step things up; Apple, although quite the opposite of Google in terms of openness, can still make a strong product out of their set-top novelty by creating a robust connection with the iPhone, iPad, and App Store. Working together with these and other companies, they can very well create an TV experience that can go toe-to-toe with the Google.
Now, whether or not you want Apple, Google, or even a company like Boxee taking over your television screen, there really has got to be a way of getting rid of those guides the right way. It’s about time.