Last Thursday Google TV was announced. I’d hoped for something good. The intersection of TV and the internet could create a fantastic viewer experience.
Sadly, the combined power of Google, Sony, and Intel (with bit parts for Logitech and Dish Network) will apparently deliver not much more than a better program guide.
That’s right. Google’s release material put quite an emphasis behind the idea that today’s TV program listings are too complicated. Then they promise Google TV will fix this tiny problem by creating a much bigger one: finding programs by searching the internet.
(I’m a better than average Internet searcher. But online search usually means wading through meaningless interfering hoo-hah to find what I really want. It’s hard to be excited about finding TV programs this way.)
YOUTUBE ON YOUR TV
Google does suggest some decent value in big screen access to YouTube, Hulu and other online video sources. This is an area of good interest. At the same time, my instincts are uneasy. Will consumers find it worth dropping $1000+ in equipment just for this? I just don’t know.
Apple might know this from their TV efforts. It is possible that real life usage of online video on a TV is insignificant. After all, the best programming is still on traditional TV where it is likely to remain for a very long time.
And that makes it concerning that there weren’t any network execs present – not even the barest rumor of network involvement. Traditional television is still the best, and perhaps the only, way to move the masses.
A DESPERATE SEARCH FOR AD REVENUE
The way I make sense of this announcement is to remember that Google desperately needs ad revenue growth. They own YouTube which is still searching for economic viability so perhaps they hope to take that from existing TV spending. And, they’ve been trying for several years to tap TVs dollars with an AdWords like scheme to sell TV. (It hasn’t worked.)
In truth, there’s a tremendous pitch to advertisers about the opportunity to deliver targeted TV ads on Google TV. But Google didn’t make that pitch last week. Probably because it will only become meaningful if consumers buy these TV’s.
For now, I see an attempt to use square technology to tap into a round ad revenue opportunity. But that’s just this announcement. Maybe Google has a deeper vision we don’t yet understand. Maybe the underlying Android system will let others do what Google didn’t. For Googles sake let’s hope so. Stay tuned…
Copyright 2010 – Doug Garnett