Google announced yesterday Google TV, which is partially about television and partly about Android and partly about Google crawling out of your computer devices and into your living room. (Did anyone else get a little creeped out by the “average American spends five hours per day in front of [the television]” statistic?) Basically the idea is that Google TV will put a browser on your television, a browser that can let you both explore the Internet from the comfort of your giant TV. Google TV will also give you a way to explore the huge amount of traditional and online consumable multimedia content in one place, so you can enjoy Autotune the News and the actual news on a giant TV screen.
The official Web site’s at http://www.google.com/tv/ but there’s not much to see there yet — you can sign up for updates and see a short video. The video has a little bit of that “late night infomercial let’s make up problems” vibe (I don’t have to reschedule my dinner to watch a television program — timeshifting television is what TiVo is for — and there are already plenty of ways to watch NetFlix on your television) but I like the idea of being able to search through many video/music/image repositories at once. Yes, I am nerdy enough to like the idea of watching an Enron documentary on NetFlix and then searching the C-SPAN video archives for actual Enron footage, and then going to YouTube and watching Enron commercials from ten years ago.
On the other hand, Google TV will also feature a full Web browser. You know, there are some things I don’t like about my television, but I don’t have to worry about it crashing or getting hacked. I don’t have to worry that my TV isn’t compatible with some Web site’s plugin. Not that there are any intrinsic security issues with Chrome, but more complexity equals more problems, and I kind of like my TV being simple.
Google is teaming up with Sony and Logitech to get the Google TV platform onto hardware. Sony is touting a Sony Internet TV product, while Logitech has a page but not many details about a set-top box, so you can try Google TV without having to buy a whole new television.
If you’re a developer you might be interested in the Google TV developer’s overview and “style guide”, but I didn’t see much more documentation.
For more details on the Google TV announcement and some interesting perspectives, you might like the following articles: