Internet giant Google Inc. has released an update to its Google TV service that should address some key issues hampering its smart TV platform.
Following are the updates that Google hopes will boost the demand for its smart TV service.
Google has made the interface of Google TV much simpler, with a new customizable home screen that gets you to your favorite content quickly. Further, the user can now see, within All Apps, all of the shortcuts, similar to an Android phone or tablet.
Improved Content Search
Google said it has improved search across the board for content from Live TV, Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO and more. It has also launched a new app called TV & Movies that lets users browse through 80,000 movies and TV episodes, across cable or satellite, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and many other sites.
If you've opted in to recommendations, we can better predict what you want to watch next, Mario Queiroz, Vice President Product Management wrote in a blog post.
Google has now integrated YouTube more closely with Google TV search, thereby allowing users to turn virtually any topic into a channel.
Google is bringing Android apps to Google TV. Initially, the number of apps won't be large - apps requiring a touch screen, GPS or telephony won't show up. However, 50 developers have seeded the Market with cool and useful apps for the TV, Queiroz explained in the blog post.
Google officially launched Google TV on Oct. 6, 2010, with devices from Sony and Logitech. However, the platform didn't quite catch people's attention due to higher prices and its complex interface. Due to that declining demand, Logitech slashed the price of its Revue set-top box to $99 from $249. Sony cut the prices on its Google TV-powered HDTVs.
In addition, Google TV has not been embraced by content providers, except Dish Network. NBC, ABC, CBS and Hulu have blocked Google TV-enabled devices from accessing their web content and since November, Viacom also blocked Google TV devices from accessing any programs offered by its subsidiaries.
If Google TV has to succeed, it definitely needs to get the support of content providers as the TV - whether it is current or next generation - is all about content and convenience.
In fact, Google itself admits the failure of Google TV.
The initial version of Google TV wasn't perfect, but launching it gave us the opportunity to learn. These are still early days, and we're working hard to move forward with each update, Queiroz wrote in a blog post.
The latest software update will be coming to Sony devices starting early next week and Logitech devices soon thereafter.