What interesting timing Google has. On a day when many Apple TV pre-order customers are eagerly plugging in their little black cubes and exploring what Apple’s brand of TV-Internet convergence has to offer, Google launches a dedicated site for their own Google TV. While we’ve previously covered the coming of Google TV, details about the forthcoming product have been notoriously scarce. Flash-forward a month and finally, the veil is being lifted on the internet giant’s plans for your living room.
“Your TV just got smarter.” A great tagline and not a bad way to summarize what Google TV will do for the average couch potato. Let’s explore exactly what Google is bringing to the table, shall we?
Befitting a search engine behemoth like Google, a universal search will allow you to query for content across your apps, channels and the entire web simultaneously. Want to browse the web on your ginormous flat-panel? Not a problem for Google TV, as you can browse the entire web in a browser optimized for the ten-foot experience.
However, it sounds like web site owners will need to optimize their sites for the Google TV experience, something that’s in the works at some of the hottest properties across the web. A blog post by Google references some web content producers who are tuning up their sites to offer the best browsing experience on your TV.
○ Turner Broadcasting has been hard at work optimizing some of their most popular websites for viewing on Google TV, including TBS, TNT, CNN, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, available anytime through Google TV.
○ NBC Universal has collaborated with Google TV to bring CNBC Real-Time, an application that allows you to track your favorite stocks and access news feeds while enjoying the best financial news from CNBC directly on the TV screen.
○ HBO will bring access to hundreds of hours of programming to Google TV with HBO GO. Authenticated subscribers will soon be able to access all of their favorite HBO content on-demand in an enhanced website for Google TV.
○ NBA has built NBA Game Time, an application that lets you follow game scores in real-time and catch up on the latest highlights from your favorite team in HD.
Did I mention apps? Google TV comes loaded with some great apps right out of the box and their platform will allow app developers to start writing new ones as of next year. Netflix, Twitter, CNBC, Pandora, Napster, NBA Game Time, Amazon Video On Demand and Gallery are pre-loaded and expect more to release post-launch.
Want to use your smartphone to control your TV? Wish granted. Naturally, there will be Android-powered apps available to control your TV, but I’m also hearing that the iPhone will also be invited to play, with a native iOS app on its way shortly. Kudos to Google for including everyone in the fun.
As you can see in the image above, a customizable homepage will allow Google TV owners to customize a startup area with all of their favorite apps, channels and content for easy reference. A feature dubbed ‘Dual View’ will allow viewers to split their screen between TV content and web content so you can easily check scores on other games while you’re watching your favorite team in the split window. Or check for new tweets while you’re catching up on episodes of The Big Bang Theory.
One of the downsides I can already see is that Google TV only seems to offer DVR access and search results based on DVR recordings if you are a Dish Network customer. I can already imagine this element being clunky for Verizon FIOS or AT&T Uverse customers, however it remains to be seen exactly how integrated Google TV will feel with cable or fiber services.
Devices powered by Google TV will launch this month, so look for additional information in the next few weeks from Sony on its Internet TV and Blu-Ray player, and Logitech on its companion box, the Logitech Revue.
What do you think? Are you more likely to purchase an Apple TV than a Google TV-powered device? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.