Google TV gaining Android Market, simpler interface with new update

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Google on Friday announced that it will issue a major update for its Google TV platform to some devices starting early next week, adding more applications from the Android Market as well as a simpler interface.



The company admitted in a post to its official blog that the first version of Google TV "wasn't perfect," though it promised to improve the software with future updates. Next week's updates are said by Google to focus on four areas of user feedback:

Keep it simple: Google says its interface is now much simpler. The new customizable home screen allows users to access to content quickly. And within "all apps," users can see all of their shortcuts, similar to an Android phone or tablet.

Make it easy to find something worth watching: Google says it has improved search across the board for content from Live TV, Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, and more. There?s also an app called ?TV & Movies? that allows users tobrowse through 80,000 movies and TV episodes across cable or satellite, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and many other sites. Those who have opted in to recommendations can receive better predictions.

Make YouTube better on TV: Google will also launch a new YouTube experience specifically built for Google TV. And the search giant will integrate YouTube more closely with Google TV search, so users can turn virtually any topic -- mountain biking, cooking, etc. -- into a channel.

Bring more apps to TV: Google is are opening up its set-top box to creators large and small through Android Market. Android developers can now bring existing mobile apps or entirely new ones to TV. Initially, the number of apps won?t be large -- apps requiring a touch screen, GPS, or telephony won?t show up -- but 50 developers have seeded the Market.

Google TV was first unveiled in May of 2010 as an extension of the company's Android mobile operating system to set-top boxes made by third-party hardware manufacturers. Next week's update will be available to Sony devices, while Logitech boxes will receive the update "soon thereafter."



When it hit the market last November, Google TV was widely panned for being too confusing and complex for users. David Pogue of The New York Times referred to it as "an enormous step in the wrong direction."







Google TV arrived around the same time Apple launched its own revision of the Apple TV, a diminutive $99 device that is powered by the iOS operating system found on the iPhone and iPad. Rather than add native support for iOS applications, Apple has allowed developers to utilize its AirPlay feature to wirelessly stream content, including games and videos, to an Apple TV.



The redesigned and lower priced Apple TV found immediate success and boosted sales of the platform for Apple. Conversely, this july Logitech said that "very modest sales of its $249 Google TV-based Revue were exceeded by returns of the product from unhappy customers, prompting the company to slash its price by 66 percent to match the Apple TV under $100.



While Apple has famously referred to its Apple TV as a hobby, rumors have persisted that the company plans to release a full-fledged high-definition television set in the coming years. Those claims picked up steam this week with the release of the authorized biography of Steve Jobs, in which the Apple co-founder said he felt he had "finally cracked" the development of a simple user interface for a television set.



Adding to those rumors, The New York Times reported on Thursday that Apple is expected to release an HDTV with Siri voice recognition technology by the year 2013. Another report this week claimed that while Apple is still working on its television set, a bigger hurdle remains in securing content deals to provide TV shows and movies to the anticipated product.
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Comments

  • tharsmantharsman Posts: 5member
    Yay, android apps!! So, next year when Android 5 is announced Google will say there is no need for special TV apps and say we are ok with using Android Phone apps horizontally?
  • kermit262kermit262 Posts: 24member
    I wonder if the rumors of an Apple television set will hurt sales of Apple TV.
  • hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 732member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kermit262 View Post


    I wonder if the rumors of an Apple television set will hurt sales of Apple TV.



    At $100, I doubt it. Even if someone were to buy an AppleTV and then want to get an Apple television set if it comes out, that AppleTV unit could be used on a secondary TV, most likely the one it is currently hooked up to.
  • libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 977member
    Apple should have added the App Store to ATV 6 months ago or more! :roll eyes:



    Apple's interim saving grace, hands-down, is AirPlay Mirroring -- TRULY the KILLER FEATURE!
  • anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 16,756member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kermit262 View Post


    I wonder if the rumors of an Apple television set will hurt sales of Apple TV.



    1) AppleTV is a rounding error in Apple's financials. Won't matter in the least. Just a low-cost experiment for Apple to learn about this business and work on getting agreements with content providers, I imagine.



    2) Let's see what GoogleTV Mark II does: I vaguely recall that there was (don't hold me to it!) Zune II too......
  • rwindmannrwindmann Posts: 28member
    It would be great if you could use Google TV to go to a site and watch video without it BEING BLOCKED. How awesome would that be?



    And something else that started happening about a week ago, when you use chrome to go to google.com and search for something, clicking on any of the results yielded nothing, just sat there. But using a google tv, using google chrome, bing.com works just fine when google.com doesn't.



    When Logitech marked it down to $99.00, I ran out and got one, and put a Tivo on the back for DVR functionality and to use as an air TV tuner. The combo is great, and tv and dvr works fine, it's a really sweet setup. And because harmony is built in, the tv, theater system, blue ray are all integrated. Finally, all the remotes are gone, just one sweet keyboard on the coffee table.



    Now if GOOGLE CAN GET THE INTERNET TO WORK, things would be just PEACHY.
  • johnsharringtonjohnsharrington Posts: 32member
    I have owned the Sony Blu-Ray + Google TV unit roughly since launch last year. It is one of the worst consumer electronic devices I have ever owned. It feels like an early prototype barely adequate for testing. The hardware itself is over-sized and ugly. The remote is difficult to navigate, impossible to use in the dark, and the cursor controls are essentially unusable. It's shocking to me that Google & Sony would approve the release of such a product with their names on it.



    A major refresh is obviously needed although I'm doubtful this will be enough.



    **It's worth noting that I did not pay for this as it was a gift from Google. Otherwise it never would have made it to my living room.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,152member
    I must be very frustrating for Google's (cough) R&D department these days waiting for new ideas from Apple.
  • ikolikol Posts: 369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    At $100, I doubt it. Even if someone were to buy an AppleTV and then want to get an Apple television set if it comes out, that AppleTV unit could be used on a secondary TV, most likely the one it is currently hooked up to.



    Well one thing is for certain- if said AppleTV comes out the current ATV will cease to get Apple updates and be rendered obsolete.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I haven't seen the HW, namely the remote control, but that will need to be simpler for this to work. Hopefully they are taking some cues from the Apple HDTV rumours and using their voice system to allow you to talk to your TV.



    As for the new UI, I have many problems with it.
    This whole this is just wrong. Even the View All button is wrong. WE don't need more nesting on a TV but fluid movement of the items as you move from one to another.



    I have no faith the rest of the UI will be cleaned up to be easier than other items on the market.
  • sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,495member
    Good luck with WebTV 3.0, Google.



    You're going to need it.
  • ikolikol Posts: 369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by johnsharrington View Post


    I have owned the Sony Blu-Ray + Google TV unit roughly since launch last year. It is one of the worst consumer electronic devices I have ever owned. It feels like an early prototype barely adequate for testing. The hardware itself is over-sized and ugly. The remote is difficult to navigate, impossible to use in the dark, and the cursor controls are essentially unusable. It's shocking to me that Google & Sony would approve the release of such a product with their names on it.



    A major refresh is obviously needed although I'm doubtful this will be enough.



    **It's worth noting that I did not pay for this as it was a gift from Google. Otherwise it never would have made it to my living room.



    Are you allowed to surf the Internet on GoogleTv unlike the restriction Apple imposes on ATV owners?
  • ikolikol Posts: 369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    1) AppleTV is a rounding error in Apple's financials. Won't matter in the least. Just a low-cost experiment for Apple to learn about this business and work on getting agreements with content providers, I imagine.



    2) Let's see what GoogleTV Mark II does: I vaguely recall that there was (don't hold me to it!) Zune II too......



    Remember- AppleTV1 wasn't much of a kickass product either.
  • johnsharringtonjohnsharrington Posts: 32member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iKol View Post


    Well one thing is for certain- if said AppleTV comes out the current ATV will cease to get Apple updates and be rendered obsolete.



    I don't agree that it would become obsolete. It will likely continue to support iTunes (movies, tv shows, etc), as well as Netflix & other functionality. They've sold at least 2 million 2nd generation Apple TV's (announced earlier in 2011) and will want to keep those customers in the Apple ecosystem.
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,034member
    1. Throw stuff at wall

    2. See what sticks

    3. Repeat until success
  • johnsharringtonjohnsharrington Posts: 32member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iKol View Post


    Are you allowed to surf the Internet on GoogleTv unlike the restriction Apple imposes on ATV owners?



    Yes- that's a good point. The problem is that the UI is so clunky it's difficult to actually "browse". Scrolling, clicking, etc are all very frustrating. Pages often do not render in a useful way and it can be difficult to navigate back. The scrolling is particularly clunky and it's often difficult to get the part of the site you want to view to fit within the frame. (on my 1080P 42 in LED)
  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I haven't seen the HW, namely the remote control, but that will need to be simpler for this to work. Hopefully they are taking some cues from the Apple HDTV rumours and using their voice system to allow you to talk to your TV.



    As for the new UI, I have many problems with it.
    This whole this is just wrong. Even the View All button is wrong. WE don't need more nesting on a TV but fluid movement of the items as you move from one to another.



    I have no faith the rest of the UI will be cleaned up to be easier than other items on the market.



    Completely agree, and I have the same feeling about Android on tablets. It looks like someone just took a bunch of icons of whatever functionality they figured ought to be accessible on a particular screen and dropped them from a few feet up. I mean, there's no sense of spatial logic whatsoever.



    This was my original suspicion regarding regarding a Google phone-- that Google had never shown any particular skill or interest in designing user friendly UIs, preferring geek-centric lists and nested menus. The acquisition of Danger and Rubin helped a lot on that count, but whenever Android strays from the phone it seems to revert to a more Google vision of stuff on a screen.



    I mean, look at any of Google's various properties-- you get part of the page with a list of clickable things, and then another part of a page with other stuff they thought should be in the vicinity, and then another part of the page with anything left over. It barely seems designed at all.



    Won't fly with a TV UI. Geeks and partisans will celebrate the "openness" and the "power" and the "customizability", but TV is the very last thing anyone wants to figure out, even less than phones or tablets. Any friction at all in the UI and you're back to Web TV and similar failed initiatives.



    I really think that Google fundamentally doesn't get this. They think leveraging the "power" of their search services means they'll make a product people want. That if I can search for any iteration of some old TV show across multiple web sites I'll think that's great.



    But I won't think it's great, I'll think it's a browser. I don't want You Tube parodies and clips and references when I want to watch something, I want to watch something. Right now, not after sifting through search results. Google is entirely staffed by web connected brains in vitrines that can't fathom why normal people would forgo a bucket of search results in favor of dead simple, even if dead simple misses a few options. I think maybe Rubin had a reasonable sense of this, but I get the feeling that he's not entirely steering Android anymore.
  • sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,172member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    1) AppleTV is a rounding error in Apple's financials. Won't matter in the least. Just a low-cost experiment for Apple to learn about this business and work on getting agreements with content providers, I imagine.



    I wouldn't count on that. That's what it is NOW. But what if Apple TV totally changes the content distribution model? That's a tough road to hoe, but when the iPod was released we all said "it's a freakin MP3 player?" So....
  • sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,172member
    Quote:

    Make YouTube better on TV: Google will also launch a new YouTube experience specifically built for Google TV. And the search giant will integrate YouTube more closely with Google TV search, so users can turn virtually any topic -- mountain biking, cooking, etc. -- into a channel.







    Hmmmm...can you say "potential future anti-trust violation?"
  • boogabooga Posts: 1,070member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post


    Apple should have added the App Store to ATV 6 months ago or more! :roll eyes:



    Apple's interim saving grace, hands-down, is AirPlay Mirroring -- TRULY the KILLER FEATURE!



    Yes! I've been wanting to do an App or two for my AppleTV ever since the $99 device came out. And yes, AirPlay mirroring is cool for home and insanely great for productivity/classroom situations.



    I wish it was more than a hobby for Apple. On the other hand, I'm skeptical of Apple diluting their focus with television too much. After all, they already make a rather nice 9" personal television...
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