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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

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:50:19 PM
re: Google TV's Refresh

I think IP and the use of cloud-based UIs are going to help level the UI playing field for the cable guys and get them off those clunky, set-top resident grid-based monstrosities. 


The demos of Comcast's Xcalibur nav for IP-capable boxes shows a lot of promise; i'm looking forward to seeing TWC's new cloudy IPG in action, too.  And Rovi's TotalGuide, enabled by the Docsis Set-top Gateway or another type of IP connection, is very cool, at least in the demos I've seen.


But I also realize that some people will have trouble adjusting to a new guide, though here's hope that the new ones will be intuitive enough to avoid a lengthy learning curve.  Rovi's is interesting in that users can toggle back to the grid guide if their brains get hazy using TotalGuide, so there is a fallback for the just in case.


But I'm also interested in seeing what Apple comes up with... perhaps rumors of a Siri integration into the TV hold some truth.  JB




 
craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 4:50:19 PM
re: Google TV's Refresh

When it comes to user interfaces for TV, Silicon Valley can't get it right. Maybe it's because TV is not part of their DNA and they treat TV programs like PC files or windows. Cable hasn't done much better, for a multitude of reasons, but the new Comcast cloud-based XfinityTV guide looks like a step in the right direction.


The fact is, TV interfaces are really hard to figure out. Steve Jobs said he finally cracked it. Reportedly their top iPod designer is on the case. Let's see what the mighty Apple comes up with.   


 

pmicali1 12/5/2012 | 4:50:18 PM
re: Google TV's Refresh




I think you raise a great point about first adopters and rapid release of future iterations.  I constantly think about the importance of treating the first customers to buy your product well, but whereas Apple can get away with it (people will clamor for the marginal improvement the following year, often times with features that some could argue should have been included the first time around) I'm not sure Google can with its TV efforts.  It will be interesting to see the consumer response to this...




percosan 12/5/2012 | 4:50:18 PM
re: Google TV's Refresh

Jeff -


Your paragraph (below for completeness) is perfect. It sums up google and sadly the "internet generation" ... confusing haphazard, insufficient yet fequent releases with "rapid innovation". Even after a year ... there will be an attempt to paint this as a quick recovery.


 


-p


 


 


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 Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH), paid a price price for that. (See Dish Still Serving Google TV .)

marydavis 12/5/2012 | 4:50:16 PM
re: Google TV's Refresh

Fantastic!Thanks for that article.Google tv is actually one of the highlights of google features.With the myriad of functions and uses of google in terms of electronic information and communication,Government data request is inevitable.I have read that twice every year, Google has made it a point to release data about government inquiries. Most often, these inquiries are for private individual information or to get rid of specific pieces of content from the web. Google says there are two reasons for this discharge of data. First, to be as transparent as possible about the requests those are and are not fulfilled for and by the government. Second, it is a way to prove that the laws that govern electronic privacy need to be reformed.Article source: Government requests for user data on the rise, says Google

pmicali1 12/5/2012 | 4:50:15 PM
re: Google TV's Refresh

I've heard nothing but good things about the Roku and I agree about the wait and see attitude for Google's next efforts.  The initial launch was so shakey and I just never felt like it was a must have product.  Perhaps they've been able to figure out a way to greatly improve but I have yet to be convinced.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:50:15 PM
re: Google TV's Refresh

Given the early trials and tribulations of Google TV, I doubt I'd shell out any money for this refresh, or care to be first in line if/when it launches new hardware next year and hope that Google got it right this time.  But I can say that positive reviews of the Roku 2 did get me to spring for it this weekend, and I was surprised at how easy it was to install and have been happy with it here in the early going. The Roku and Google TV aren't apples-to-apples products, of course, but the Roku does offer quite a lot for the price. JB

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