Google TV

Earlier today in the office we got into a bit of a discussion regarding the announcement of Google TV. What I have included below is the full email chain/discussion regarding this as I personally found it quite interesting with some fun ideas chucked round. May not be so interesting if you’re not an Helpdesk Engineer so feel free to skip over our rambles should you wish…

Please remember not all views expressed are necessarily my own, and everyone has given permission for this to be used this way…

From: Luke
To: Alex; John; Chris
Subject: Google on your TV

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/22/20100907/ttc-oukin-uk-google-television-fe50bdd.html

From: Chris
To: Luke; Alex; John
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

Interesting stuff.

From: Alex
To: Chris; Luke; John
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

Some nit-picks and some comments…

Bad mis-understanding – “The Mountain View, California-based company plans to make Chrome, which competes with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox, the centre of an operating system that would offer an alternative to Microsoft Windows.” – A browser to replace an operating system? They mean Android not Chrome…

“Schmidt declined to comment on Google’s plans for a social network of its own, and while he said there were plans to expand in music, he would not elaborate.” – Google had a social network – Orkut – it’s been a bit of a flop…

It’s an interesting idea – but the articles I was reading about this last night suggested that the TV companies were a lot less behind the idea than this article suggests… http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/21/google-tv-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know/

My biggest concern really is what’s the point? I rarely browse the internet on the TV (and I have the ability through the Wii and Playstation) – if I want to check a site I use my phone, my pc, my pc from my phone – so it doesn’t’ interrupt what I’m watching it’s going to need a lot more before I’m sold… (and the same goes for Apple TV too – I can stream everything I need to the Playstation which also plays games, DVDs, and Blu-rays…)

From: John
To: Alex; Chris; Luke
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

Your wrong about Chrome – they do plan on superseding android with a new OS with that name – Like how Vista superseded XP. It would essentially be Android 3.

And the points is that Joe average is a sheep that will jump on the bandwagon of any device with sufficient publicity. Fanboyism and quality aside, Apple would not have had a successes with the Iphone if everyday schmucks weren’t willing to part with silly amounts of money to buy into the brand.

I don’t heart google, but Apple taught us not to mock the underdog.

From: Chris
To: Alex; Luke; John
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

They don’t mean Android. They mean Chrome. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Chrome_OS

From: Alex
To: John; Chris; Luke
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

Yeah… I mis-read the Engadget article, saw the word Android, thought “That would be fun to type!”, Deleted where I’d put Chrome OS and put in Android instead (it is still fun to type!)

I disagree with your take on Joe Average – that sounds a bit more like Joe Techie who will go out and buy the latest gadget on the market because it’s a new gadget. In my experience Joe Average tends to be warier of new technologies until they’ve had a chance to settle down (e.g. the iPhone didn’t really take off till it’s second generation – true this was in conjunction with price cuts but also after a large amount of word of mouth playing with them in shops – I wouldn’t be surprised if when we get iPad gen 2 we get a larger number of iPad knockoffs as the buzz builds. To continue the phone comparison – the Android phones are only really beginning to take off with the likes of the Droid, Nexus, and whatever the thing that Johns got leading the way in a new wave of touchscreen smart phones..).

When Apple TV launched it was a bit of a flop, I don’t know how the market will react to the re-launched version (and yes you’re having to buy separate hardware which puts this in a slightly different ball court), but I don’t see a TV coming with GoogleTV features built in will be that much of a deal-breaker– a nice bonus maybe but not something worth paying out more for….

I could go on but I don’t think you want me to rant about remotes…. 😉

From: Luke
To: Alex; Chris; John
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

I think google/apple are getting in now because some firms for the last 10 years have been developing technology that will allow you to watch any TV station in the world & they envisage this now through the www. You basically have 1 device for TV/PC/Interactive.

In the modern era why should you be subject to just watching a TV station that broadcasts in your home country. Like you say TV companies don’t like it but like everyone else eventually they will have to adapt.
Just look at TV scheduling & TV advertising. Sky + (& now IPlayer etc) have literally done away with TV schedules & therefore advertising revenue for TV stations has greatly reduced. There is no such thing to some TV watchers as prime time anymore. TV companies held off on this technology for years because controlling schedules was key for them. But now the internet has made them have to adapt & concede.

It’s a brave new world! & we are all along for the ride

I agree with you I can’t see google/apple TVs themselves taking off but Sony, Panasonic etc could develop/incorporate the idea into their TVs (I’m guessing google/apple will then take a cut of sales). We can all download/stream TV shows that aren’t yet showing in the UK or are never going to & TV companies like the Music companies are already losing money because of illegal downloading/streaming of TV shows so I think they’ll come round.

Imagine if you’re the company/TV that has the streaming rights from the TV companies to broadcast their station though.

From: Alex
To: Luke; Chris; John
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

You raise some interesting points – I think the idea behind Apple is more renting a show and then streaming it directly to your TV – which seems a nice idea until you take into account the costs of constantly paying for something (I see network execs rubbing their hands).

I think you raise a very good point about the limitations of TV – I know that I download a lot of TV because I couldn’t be bothered to fiddle around with the schedules/it wasn’t available here for months – I’m wary about doing this with films as your don’t get the same experience but with TV then there isn’t the same kind of issue.

It would be nice to see iPlayer and the like integrated more into TVs (I know that my Gran finds this great as there is always something available that she would like to watch) and streaming seems to be the way forward – I’m still going to be wary of Google/Apple starting to charge for on demand streaming as honestly, Id rather buy a DVD and watch it when I want, as many times as I want.

From: John
To: Alex; Luke; Chris
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

I’d like to disagree about the core market comments. History has proven that fads such as this aren’t confined to techies and gadget lovers. One of the first people in this office to have an Iphone was Marie [ed – one of our old managers] for example. It is all about brand awareness and status.
It’s been the same with games consoles (pre-ps2, games were for nerds. Nowadays, even grandmas and business execs play wiis), apple computers, laptops, hell – even duluxe coffee makers. If its expensive, it makes people feel important or special, and when people have disposable income, then they will rarely buy what they NEED. Additionally, the average consumer is a sheep who will do and buy what they are told to. Hence my comment ‘joe average’.

Give apple a few years and people won’t really care about the brand any more (ala Microsoft) – they will all be rolling with the latest fortissimo implant which allows them to browse the internet, watch tv, make calls, take photos, listen to music and all the while having a sensuous caffine buzz 😉

Unrelated to the subject, but relevant to my argument, I am willing to make a bet now, that in 5 years every iphone adopter in this office will shun the hardware for a different product.

From: Chris
To: John; Alex; Luke
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

The new Apple iChip.

You get it implanted in your brain, and then you basically have all the functionality of an iPhone, but without the device. I can’t wait for the future!

From: Alex
To: Chris; John; Luke
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

Initially I refer you to this… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_of_the_Killer_App

From: Alex
To: John; Luke; Chris
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

As an iPhone adapter in the office, and speaking personally for myself, I don’t feel any loyalty to Apple, or Microsoft, or Google or etc…. I have an iPhone as, to me, it’s the best handset that I can use/afford at this time – in 5 years time I may still be on an iPhone (will will be for at least another 1 and a half years), or I may be on another device that provides the functionality I want form within my pocket…

I don’t think that fads (even the technology ones) are restricted to gadget lovers etc but I feel it still requires to get to the 2nd Generation before it will really pick up and become the norm instead of a niche market – sticking with the iPhone as an example Marie [ed – old manager again] picked up an iPhone 3G (Generation 2) at the time when iPhone became really huge (partly due to the decisions being made regarding cost, and the extra functionality the phone within the handset itself – then again I try and use my old iPhone 3G nowadays and I’ll complain about how slow it is…). To give another example, when the BBC player first launched it was very slow, clunky but became a brand leader after a re-vamp and inclusion in the set-top boxes for Virgin, Sky, Freeview and the like. I think one of the biggest problems with Google TV (of GTV for ease of reference) IS going to be the question of what is the point? Why do I need this? And while you will get the people who go out and get it because they can, I think a lot of Joe Average will still be sitting there asking that question – in the same way it was asked of Apple TV on first launch – while it’s only slightly related my parents have never had a need or a want to stream anything to the TV, and if they want the internet they’ll just get out their laptops…

From: John
To: Alex; Luke; Chris
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

It’s a fair point but Apple didn’t really launch their full campaign for the iphone until after it provided 3g functionality for faster internet access. As with any new product, you can’t go all-in without seeing everybody elses hand (bit of poker there for you Chris) and Apple very much stuck to this philosophy.

You have reiterated my own comments with regards to generations – new technology is niche until it becomes mainstream (ps2, apple computers etc). When it hits the mainstream, adverts saturate the highstreet and more people adopt (not adapt – sorry ;)) then their ‘neighbours’ see this and become either envious or left out. They will then buy it, not because they need it, but because they too want the status. And so the train begins until the next fad launches.

From: Chris
To: John; Alex; Luke
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

I agree with John on this.

From: Luke
To: Chris; John; Alex
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

In a nutshell…..keeping up with the Jones’…..it’s how Western society works…but then this is whole different debate

From: Alex
To: Luke; Chris; John
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

I’m not disagreeing with John – but I will don’t see the point in the extra technology – there are already devices that do this and most people have them – the only new feature mentioned is the inclusion of a web browser. While it is a nice idea to have any channel from anywhere streamed to your TV surely the existing technologies can be updated to allow for this rendering the Google boxes un-needed…

Plus another thing that might be worth taking into account is Googles shady history with Privacy – do you really want something that can monitor whatever you do with your TV sending reports back to a mega-corporation? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Google#Privacy

From: John
To: Chris; Alex; Luke
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

Thanks.

It’s not a coincidence that the ipad doesn’t have a front-facing camera at this time for example. Keep the costs down (yeah, right), test the water, get a few beta testers (I mean techies) on board, get the competition copying you, then gazump them with a better product that was always the intended device.

I think that Google are a little unfocused though. Instead of trying to innovate, they are merely copying established brands right now (phone os, music service, social network etc) and as such they are not making an impact –
They are brandishing a shotgun from long range.
They need to get the support of the consumer, and when they are at arms length they can open fire – hence what apple has done with the ipod/mac/phone/pad.

As for tv browsing (back on topic), I never do it as it’s not up to PC specs yet. However if it is refined I may be swayed out of convenience of not needing to leave my armchair.

From: Alex
To: John; Chris; Luke
Subject: RE: Google on your TV

I think Google is having a bit of an identity crisis – they’re known for being a Search engine which is a good place to start but their struggling to find the ways to move forward – after all the problems they’ve had with Adwords and the like. This shoots themselves the foot a bit though – as to the lay person they are just a search engine and there’s no point to the other devices.

That said – they do seem to be trying to crack the corporate market with Google Mail, Calendar, Docs, etc – though could never see the point of Wave…

The only time I’ve browsed the internet from a TV is to show YouTube videos on a big screen – to be fair its using a gaming controller so not fully ideally designed for this but I still find it easier to reach for a laptop/tablet/slate device and use that – whilst carrying on watching my episode of .

What would interest me is a more Augmented reality take on this – say you’re watching a film, select an actor and it loads up their IMDB page to the side letting you see what other work they’ve done etc.

The discussion above was also forwarded to my Friend matt to see what he had to say. These are his thoughts…

From: Matt
To: Alex
Subject: RE: GoogleTV

IMO Google are slowly but surely losing their grip, and this is not the way they need to be expanding. As an ad-seller it kind of makes sense for them to have a presence on TV screens, but WebTV has failed before because people still think of their TVs as a one way device. There was a good article on The Register (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/03/apple_tv/) last week about why Apple TV has consistently failed to take off, and why it’s unlikely to change anytime soon…

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