Google Inc. on Friday announced an update to the software for Google TV, a service designed to expand the company’s footprint into living rooms.
Google TV had such potential when it launched in October 2010. But for many users, the lack of Hulu — along with the awkwardness of the interface and lack of cooperation from TV networks and content providers — was a huge turnoff.
Now Google aims to fix that with a massive overhaul, upgrading Google TV with its Android operating system.
Google announced on its Google TV blog Friday that the platform will be upgraded to Android 3.1 (otherwise known as Honeycomb) for Sony devices Sunday, with the Logitech Revue set-top box getting its upgrade “soon thereafter.” Screen shots at link above.
The company said it simplified the Google TV software, which allows users to access the Internet and search for Web-video content through their TV screens. Google also said it improved the way people can simultaneously search for content on their live TV listings as well as Google’s YouTube video site, on-demand shows available on Amazon.com and Netflix.com, among others. Viewers can choose to limit their searches to just high-definition content.
Google has highlighted four key goals they’ve focused on to make the Google TV experience better.
- Keep it simple
- Make it easy to find something worth watching
- Make YouTube better on TV
- Bring more apps to TV
We’ll have to reserve judgment until we can install this software update on our Logitech Revue box, but for now, clearly this update has great potential. It makes perfect sense for Google — purveyor of Android, the Chrome browser, YouTube and by the way, the world’s search expert — to leverage these powerful capabilities in its TV set-top.
The hurdle Google needs to navigate is not so much a technical or software one, but a matter of negotiating and arm-twisting of content providers. Will the company gain cooperation from TV networks and movie studios, allowing their content to be searchable on the Google TV platform? That’s the key to Google TV’s success.