When Google takes on a new major market, pretty much every technology buff in the world takes note. There’s a reason that Google’s such a massive company–they tend to take the right steps to make new technology accessible to the masses, and even when they make a major misstep (Google Buzz, anyone?) they do so in a business-savvy way. At best, their products are revolutionary, and at worst, they still introduce some cool new ideas.
Google TV is shaping up to be the former. Here’s a look at Google TV, and why it might succeed where many other companies have failed.
The Hardware Problem – Early entries into this whole “web TV” concept have been inhibited by bad hardware-software integration. That’s why Windows hasn’t been able to successfully introduce the Internet to every set-top box and DVD player by now; there’s been too big of a deficit between what hardware manufacturers are offering and what web TV creators want to do.
Google has optimized Google TV for Dish network, but they’re keeping their software flexible so that DVD players and other devices can take advantage of it. It’s not ultra-powerful–it’s based on Google Android, and provides a simple way for TV users to search and display websites on their televisions. Unlike other offerings from companies like Apple, Google TV will support Flash, and will basically give you a fully functioning web browser on your television.
The question is, how much will consumers want an Internet browser on their television sets?
Integration – Google’s answered that question by making their Google TV software an integrated part of the TV viewing experience, rather than making it a standalone product.
When you’re watching a baseball game, you can use Google TV to display Twitter feeds from ESPN announcers and players, for instance. You can easily search for information about the players without losing the live game. This sets Google TV apart from its competitors, and it certainly looks like Google TV will be part of a television viewing experience, not an alternative.
This could be a major strength of the software. Obviously, it’s going to be difficult to gauge the effectiveness and usefulness of Google TV until it’s finally released, but previous attempts at browsing on the TV have taken a very different approach: they’ve assumed that television viewers want a full web experience, not an augmentation to their TV viewing experience. Google provides both, and that may prove to make a big difference. Expect Google TV to be successful. It might not revolutionize TV, but it’s certainly bringing in some cool features that could provide a valuable stepping stone to a total merger of the Internet and the television.
What do you think of Google TV? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.