Google TV's Refresh

3:30 PM Is it too late for Google to right the wrongs that graced its first integrated TV play?

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

October 28, 2011

2 Min Read
Google TV's Refresh

3:30 PM -- The original Google TV was met with some brutal reviews, and now the folks in Mountain View, Calif., have launched an upgrade that includes access to the Android Market (starting with a few apps -- touch screen, GPS and telephony apps need not apply) and the promise of a simplified interface. (See Google TV Still Not Ready for Prime Time .)

"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," Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) VP of Product Management Mario Queriroz and Director of Engineering Vincent Dureau noted in a blog post about the update on Friday.

I'm sure all of those customers who bought the original product are thrilled to learn that they were merely pawns in the learning process of the almighty Google. The late Steve Jobs strove for perfection at Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL); Google is apparently OK with holding on to hope that its first shot was merely good enough. But it clearly wasn't anywhere near good enough, and Google and its partners, including Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), Logitech Ltd. and even Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH), paid a price price for that. (See Dish Still Serving Google TV .)

As the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression, and there were very few who were impressed with the first Google TV. One might think that another key addition in this release, aimed at making "it easy to find something worth watching," would have been a priority the first go-round.

I won't go as far as saying Google already blew it and it's in an unrecoverable position here, but I will be surprised if I learn that this new update does anything to spark sales, though current users will surely welcome the addition and be comforted that Google didn't just leave them twisting in the wind.

And let's not forget that Google TV isn't just about selling to consumers. In addition to Dish, Google's been eager to get the cable MSOs on board now that it's clear that the device is not a tool for so-called cord-cutters but an attempt to complement, enhance and personalize the TV viewing experience. Cable's nowhere near perfect, either, but Google's much-maligned first attempt at TV certainly did not help its cause. (See Google TV Guns for Cable Deals .)

And it makes me start to wonder if Google will indeed need to leverage Motorola Mobility LLC 's cable assets and pull with operators to actually move the needle at the MSO level. (See Will Google Be Good for Cable?)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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