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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Google TV: Friend or Foe

Google recently made a big announcement about Google TV. The new service Google offers is similar to Apple TV, except with Google. Sony or Logitech will build the device (more on that later) and Google will give the software. This combination will allow television users to have apps, internet access, and many other features that have previously been denied from the living room screen. All of this is part of the big evolution from static unilateral viewing to dynamic content and social media, and the television set is simply next in line. But is Google's new product "Google" enough to really make an impact, or at least more of an impact than Apple TV did, and what will it mean for the future?

Personally, I am not sure what to think of all of this. *gasp* Did Tyler Romeo just say he was unsure of a product made by Google? I must admit I am a little conservative with the idea. Television has always been for watching shows and computers have always been for dynamic content, or at least in my generation. Google hopes to bring the computer to the TV by putting apps on your television, but wouldn't it make more sense to bring the TV to the computer with TV tuners and software that would interact with them? It has the same effect, except now you do not need a separate computer, and everything is in the same place. Either way, Google is not going to change their mind now. They have deals with many companies and have a lot riding on Google TV, so I can only imagine what the future has in store.

Google TV is definitely going to make a big impact on consumer television, which is not as much as I can say for Apple TV. Similar to how Microsoft bundled their operating system with various computer manufacturers, Google is not making the hardware in this deal. You can get a Google-powered Sony TV, or an add-on box from Logitech, and there are probably more to come. This key marketing strategy that Apple somehow never seems to comprehend is definitely going to add to a larger impact. Furthermore, Google's software seems to have more functionality, a lot more functionality. Other than the obvious built-in TV show search engine (what did we expect from a search engine company), the end-user gets full Internet capabilities and a sea of apps, many of which are specifically made for Google TV due to agreements between Google and media companies.

And I have to give mention to the fact that Google TV will, like Android, be open. Many people see this fact as somewhat trivial, but it makes a big difference. The gap between complete secrecy, getting a box in the mail knowing it will just work, and open-source, where many eyes even outside of Google will see the code and keep the user's best interest in mind, is quite significant. We can expect a plethora of opportunities to open up with an open platform. Now all we need to do is wait. Currently, Google, Sony, and Logitech all have their own sign-up lists for email updates. Google says we can expect Google TV to launch as early as next month.

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