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Google shifting "troubled" TV initiative to You Tube

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Interesting story in the SF Chronicle about Google's efforts to get something going with their TV initiative by putting it under Salar Kamangar and the You Tube group.

Quote:
Google Inc. is shifting its troubled Google TV initiative to its YouTube division, The Chronicle has learned.

Some industry sources speculated that the move was a response to the surprisingly negative reaction to the new Internet television service among major media companies.

The article goes on to describe the trouble Google has been having with lining up cooperative content partners, and how they apparently believe that whatever strategic partnerships have been going on over at You Tube will help out.

Not sure what to make of this, beyond being struck by how Google TV is already being described as "troubled", which is never a good sign. It appears as if Google shipped GTV without actual content deals in place, just expecting the content providers to be fine with it, and they got cut off at the knees.

People often accuse Apple of being arrogant and blame that on why they can't negotiate better content deals, but I think Google is discovering that the TV people are quick to pull the trigger on reprisals.

At any rate, I can't tell if this is just an internal adjustment to get different employees involved, or if they have some idea about combining You Tube and Google TV into some kind of aggregator for everything-- which seems like kind of works the idea that you need a Google TV to manage your consumption.

Thought?
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post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
What the hell, guess I'll talk to myself.

Here's a clip of panelists on the Engadget Show attempting to use the Google TV Twitter client. It appears to be a complete mess (and it's not like the Engadget people are some kind of Android haters with an axe to grind).

You see stuff like that, you see stuff like what's described in my original post, and I think Google is in real danger here of having their television initiative become broadly perceived as "sucking", which is a tough thing to bounce back from. I have no doubt they can improve things in the future, but will that be enough? The comments on the You Tube video are pretty dismissive, there doesn't even seem to be any Android fans rushing in to explain why it's unfair or inaccurate.

A credible set top box is a big win for Android, but this doesn't look to be it. It also makes you wonder if Google is actually any good, at all, at doing consumer facing software that requires anything more than basic email or search UI. Android was basically an off the shelf purchase, but if Google TV is an example of how they do it in house, they're going to have a tough time competing.

Before Android was released, I was publicly wondering why anyone expected Google to bring forth a great phone OS, because their interfaces were typically pretty lackluster. Text lists of options, mostly, and not even very intuitive for that. Of course, Andy Ruben brought some un-Google ideas to the table, but I get the feeling he didn't have much to do with GTV. Turf wars?
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post #3 of 12
I really haven't paid attention or have much clue what Google TV is, but I've seen a commercial a few times over the last several weeks for "the first TV powered by google"

The ad rather prominently showed this enormous fricking remote control, about the size of an iPad, only thicker and made of cheap grey plastic, which looked like it must have close to 100 buttons on it.

Really? This is going to be successful?? Does anyone know the ad I'm talking about?
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post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Here's a clip of panelists on the Engadget Show attempting to use the Google TV Twitter client. It appears to be a complete mess (and it's not like the Engadget people are some kind of Android haters with an axe to grind).

Yeah, if that app is representative of a 'Google' TV experience, its gonna suck hard.

Why is that Google reminds me so much of MS circa 2000?
post #5 of 12
Ahhh, found the ad:

http://www.youtube.com/user/sonyelec...y%20commercial

OK, the remote isn't as big as I thought, but it's still ugly, incredibly awkward looking, and has a million buttons (I assume a lot of it is a keyboard).

I mean, really??? THIS is going to be successful?
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post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

Yeah, if that app is representative of a 'Google' TV experience, its gonna suck hard.

Why is that Google reminds me so much of MS circa 2000?

It's interesting, isn't it? Search is sort of their Windows/Office, an entrenched incumbent that's going to be a cash cow for the foreseeable future. They've had some success piggy backing on that, where I guess in this analogy GMail is their IE. And both of them are selling to someone other than the end user-- MS to IT people, Google to advertisers.

One difference is that Google's stuff actually works pretty well, but they share Microsoft's obliviousness to style, nuance, and all the the little things that make a user experience more pleasant and appealing. I assume that that's because they are both (or perhaps in the case of MS were) engineering dominated companies, with a culture that privileges smart coding solutions over whatever fuzzy-headed bullshit regular people might think they need.

I think Android is a total anomaly within their system, and only because they bought it and Ruben at one go. I think Google TV is a better representation of what they're about when it comes to consumer facing products-- hopelessly geeky, complex, trying to do far to much. Look at Wave and Buzz, both flat out failures.

Like MS, Google doesn't actually have to care all that much if it's living room initiatives don't do that well, since their advertising business doesn't depend on it. But, like MS, they may find themselves sidelined by changing markets at some point, if they can't find a way to connect with the average user of the coming wave of ubiquitous appliances. They're making a lot of enemies, at the moment, and if those enemies start using different search engines, location services and the like and Google can't sustain their own platforms, then they're screwed.
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post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

What the hell, guess I'll talk to myself.

Here's a clip of panelists on the Engadget Show attempting to use the Google TV Twitter client. It appears to be a complete mess (and it's not like the Engadget people are some kind of Android haters with an axe to grind).

Wow. What a disaster.

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post #8 of 12
Google still hasn't got a team together that really understands consumer product development. They are so screwed.

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post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder View Post

Ahhh, found the ad:

http://www.youtube.com/user/sonyelec...y%20commercial

OK, the remote isn't as big as I thought, but it's still ugly, incredibly awkward looking, and has a million buttons (I assume a lot of it is a keyboard).

I mean, really??? THIS is going to be successful?

The polar opposite of Apple, no? How many buttons are on that thing?

Yeah it reminds me of this. Sony looks clueless.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Google famously hires really, really smart people, and prides themselves on the high quality intellect available to them.

The problem lies in a very narrow definition of "smart", which allows for near autistic levels of cluelessness regarding what the average person wants and needs while still passing muster as "Google material."

I can easily imagine the engineers (and honestly is there anyone else over there?) at Google considering those funky as remotes as a big win, putting the power of the internet into the hands of the couch bound. I'm sure they'd be mystified by the idea of it being "too complex", since every function is immediately obvious to even the lowliest Google drone.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Google famously hires really, really smart people, and prides themselves on the high quality intellect available to them.

The problem lies in a very narrow definition of "smart", which allows for near autistic levels of cluelessness regarding what the average person wants and needs while still passing muster as "Google material."

I can easily imagine the engineers (and honestly is there anyone else over there?) at Google considering those funky as remotes as a big win, putting the power of the internet into the hands of the couch bound. I'm sure they'd be mystified by the idea of it being "too complex", since every function is immediately obvious to even the lowliest Google drone.

MS has a lot of smart people too.

They've just lost focus and vision. That may be changing though. I'm fairly impressed with Win Phone 7.

Google just strikes me as MS 10 years ago.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

MS has a lot of smart people too.

They've just lost focus and vision. That may be changing though. I'm fairly impressed with Win Phone 7.

Google just strikes me as MS 10 years ago.

Yeah, but Google's made a public fetish of hiring the smartest of the smart, which may have repercussions for finding anyone in the organization who has any intuitive sense of making things work for normal people. I seem to recall reading a post from a former designer who fled in terror because everything is so data driven-- something about needing to provide reams of user response information before settling on a particular shade of blue.

It makes me wonder what we can expect from the Chrome OS. Is Ruben in charge of that? If not, will his team be allowed to Android-fy it? If not, is it going to be some weird parallel universe of idea of "user friendly"?
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