Sunday, May 23, 2010

Is Google TV The Future?

Last week Google introduced Google TV, and frankly, I can't wait. Why? Because it looks like Goggle TV will finally deliver on the promise of interactive television. If you've ever struggled with the sad attempts of your local cable company to implement interactive TV, your wait is finally over by the looks of it.

Set-tops boxes are so lame in that they're still running 1990's technology, complete with it's limitations. Doesn't it upset you that you can only get a 28 character or so description about a program? Don't you ever wish that you could find out more about the program you're watching without having to resort to going online with your computer? Don't you wish that you could watch all the video now on your computer on your big screen TV without having to be a nerd to hook everything up? Hopefully, this is what Google TV will do for us.

Watch this video explanation and then read Greg Sterling's Google TV FAQ from the Search Enginland website.

What is Google TV and when will it be available?
Google says that Google TV is an “open platform” that unites TV programming and the internet. It supports Flash and makes the “full internet” available in the living room on TVs. It will be available through set-top boxes and directly through “integrated” TV sets (the only one of which right now will be from Sony).
The search and browse capabilities, which integrate web and TV content side by side in results were impressive.

Will I have to buy a new TV?
No. Google TV is intended to work with existing TVs. Sony’s forthcoming TV doesn’t require a set-top box. However Logitech’s box will be available for existing sets.

Who are the partners involved at launch?
The initial group of companies involved in GTV include Intel (chip), Sony (TV), Logitech (set-top box), Best Buy (retailer), DISH Network (content provider with unique integration).
How will these devices be branded?
The branding of Google TV and related hardware devices will be highly analogous to the way Android handsets are presented (i.e., XX brand “with Google”). GTV is built on the Android platform (not ChromeOS).

Will it replace cable TV?
This is an interesting question to consider and one that will take time to answer. Users won’t need a cable TV subscription (though they will need WiFi in the home) to access GTV. So it’s at least possible that the web content and video, Netflix and Hulu that GTV offers via the internet could well substitute for a cable subscription.

Will Google TV “track” or collect data about me like online sites?
Google said that there will be the same privacy options (e.g., “incognito”) and controls for Google TV as there are via Chrome online (the TV browser is Chrome). But yes there will be tracking and data collection, partly for personalization and partly for ad ROI accountability and targeting.

What will it cost?
This is a critical question that Google and its partners declined to answer repeatedly.

Is it something I’ll want?
If Google TV performs and delivers as the demo, claims and screens suggest it will be a very desirable consumer product.

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