Google TV. By now if you are a) as into tech as I am and b) as into media as I am, you may be nauseated by the amount of Apple-esque hype that has surrounded Google TV. For those of you that have real lives, let me break down not just the features of the proposed Google TV but the potential impact of Google TV.
The moniker is the best clue. Google=access to their powerful search engine + TV results on the biggest screen in the house. Google TV will allow us to find not just the next time Glee comes on regular TV but episodes, clips, and images from Glee on the internet. The search results can then be bookmarked to watch later. There will also be a homepage where we can keep links to favorite episodes, series, pictures, videos, or channels. Think of it as a media start page in your browser.
For the Consumer:
By merging broadcast and webcast, Google TV will imitate the functionality of Microsoft’s Media Center. In addition, changes made on one’s Android phone or computer will be instantly reflected on Google TV. An Android phone could easily be used as a remote.
However, Window’s Media Center is very limited in what internet media it indexes and the ability to drill down to actual full length episodes requires a tutorial. The average user will never use that feature. Google TV promises to merge the functionality of Clicker.TV or Boxee with Media Center’s functionality and ease of use with regard to broadcast and media stored locally on your home computer network.
One can only hope that they come up with an interface as compelling as Boxee’s. Google’s YouTube XL just seems lame in comparison. And the Boxee remote iPhone app that I use sets the bar pretty high for that Android-phone-as-remote as well.
For Content Producers:
Attention Los Angeles and main stream media. Remember how paranoid the studios have been about digital rights management (DRM)? By disrespected their consumers and tight control of distribution channels, traditional content producers are in for a major shake up. Now, niche media producers like Revision3 or The Guild will enjoy equal access to potential audiences as How I Met Your Mother on CBS. That sucking sound you hear is power rushing out of Los Angeles and NYC.
For Advertisers and Content Distributors:
Google is primarily in the advertising business. That is how they pay for all the awesome services they provide for free. Google TV promises to be the biggest step forward to advertisers in the history of television. Advertising could be tailored to what the viewer watches in the same way that Gmail keys their advertising to keywords in your email. Imagine providing Google Analytics style feedback to advertisers. I’m not really crazy about yet another advertising channel joining broadcast commercials, junk mail, and spam but my brother and his car dealership would be crazy to ignore this.
If I were Comcast or Time-Warner, I would be all over incorporating this into my cable box so that I didn’t miss out on the revenue stream.
Summary and Conclusion:
As a tech guy, Google TV doesn’t promise anything more than I already enjoy with Windows Media Center and a Boxee plug-in. But for the average consumer, advertiser, media distributor, and content provider Google TV could be game changing.
Attention, Clicker, Boxee, Hulu, XBMC. There’s a gorilla about to enter the room.