The Future of Google TV is..

Google TV is going to be very interesting. It is far  from a certainty that it will be more than Apple TV in terms of consumer sales.   From a first glance the Marketplace is the most important and interesting element of the announcement.  As a development platform, Android creates the potential for untold  unique and interesting applications that could capture users imagination.  Early on, I don’t think TV oriented apps will have the most impact. If  I understood the announcement, in the beginning of 2011, there will be an Android Marketplace. The money and the opportunity won’t be in TV apps. It will be in gaming and social apps. The low hanging fruit will be in taking apps that work on facebook and Iphone/Pad and moving them (if they haven’t already) to the Android platform and upsizing them to take advantage of working on a big screen.

The Google TV box could be a very cool and hopefully inexpensive gaming console. That is where the money will be.

What about TV ?

The success of Google TV will come down to one thing….PageRank.  Can you imagine the white hat and black hat SEO battles that will take place as video content providers try to get to the top of the TV Search Listings on Google TV ?  Like Google said, there are 4 billion TVs and growing and the US TV Ad market is $70 BILLION. There is a lot at stake if Google TV takes off. How Google does its PageRank for this product  will have a bigger impact on the success of the product in the TV market than anything else it does.

If you search for “House” on your Google TV and it returns a Youtube Video of some kid doing a parody of the Fox tv show House, you can bet the shit is going to hit the fan. Not that Fox or any big media company will sue Google. I don’t think they will. What will happen is that they will “turn off” the Google TV Chrome Browser, just as they did to Boxee.  They will fight and possibly sue over what meta data is used to determine search results. It will be a mess.  That would kill the product because if it doesn’t work with the TV shows you want to watch, why buy it ?

On the flipside if the best Google offers users is what they showed in today’s demo,  returning 5 or fewer results from a search with content from the cable/sat provider showing first and possibly consuming all 5 results, every internet content creator is going to scream loud and long at Google for putting them at a disadvantage.  No one is going to be able to find your video if you show traditional TV shows first and  dont show more than 5 results. They aren’t going to be satisfied with referrals or Google Suggestions as their only access to Google TV users. They are going to claim that this is all  just a ruse to get them to advertise and that Google sold out to big media.

Even if Google lets the user decide how to rank results, it creates too much risk for TV content providers and their distributors. More mess.

On the other other side, if traditional TV makes it to the top, Google TV is the best thing to ever happen to Cable , Satellite and Telco TV providers. Why ? Google just solved their biggest problems, their user interface and programming guide. Not only that, if Google TV is what big content providers and distributors consider to be a good partner, they just off loaded much of the future R&D for the set top box to Google and its partners and developers. Should cable and companies adopt Android on their set top boxes ? They will watch and decide. Even better for the TV Providers, maximum utility from the  Google TV comes from having a TV subscription. They may actually gain subscribers as a result of this product. Which is exactly why Charlie Ergen had Dish Network participate. Its win win win for Dish Network

Google TV isn’t the answer. It’s the question.  I’m sure Apple, Microsoft and even Facebook have an opinion on the announcement. Their response will be even more interesting.

The Future of TV is….. TV. But Google sure sped up the timeline today.

53 thoughts on “The Future of Google TV is..

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  3. No I don’t think that Google Tv is going to be a gaming box. But the Google’s Tv will certainly make an effect on world.

    Comment by mindnheart -

  4. I have an apple TV, it is absolute rubbish and I hope google tv is alot better. However i’m not too worried about the money i spent, because i got my free apple tv using You can also get other great stuff such as a free computer or a free laptop from Hopefully when Google Tv is out it will be available on there too!

    Comment by freeblee -

  5. Google should just stay a search engine

    Comment by ptesone -

  6. Putting web content on TV is like putting TV content on the radio. What’s the point?

    People listen to the radio when they want to be entertained without looking at a picture. People watch TV when they don’t want to have to be interactive.

    Comment by openivo -

  7. Hey thanks!! 🙂 Gotta say I’m envious now– I’d love to be there! Definitely would like to hear your thoughts on it after!

    Comment by bucfanpaka -

  8. Interesting thoughts, actually. Thanks for getting back to me quickly. Being a lifelong member of the entertainment industry, I’m able to see where your opinion is coming from as well. And it’s not necessarily a matter of who’s right, in this case, as I believe we both are. Apple has played the part of David before with much success.

    Without going into a lecture about the entertainment industry in general, and gaming specifically, I have to say wait until I decide to post opinions based on my experiences at E3 next week 🙂 Or not, your choice….

    Comment by Matches Malone -

  9. The Wii from the beginning has seemed to especially target groups like older gamers and women– they advertised themselves as aa system everyone can pick up and play, and that is fun to play with in groups. And of course, Nintendo has always gone more the family-friendly route and kept things comparatively clean. Gaming is becoming more mainstream, with the average age increasing, and I think they wanted to widen the net even more. Things were great for the Wii at first but now sales are really sliding… shovelware is part of the problem, but I think the nontraditionals are just falling out a bit and the more traditional/hardcore console gamers tend to go with the power and libraries of the 360 and PS3.

    There is no question that the DS/DSi dominates the handheld market– and the 3DS will be very interesting, can’t wait to see how that will go– and I don’t really think it will be a major threat myself I admit (most gamers online do seem to agree on this), but Apple seems to be willing to play David to Nintendo’s Goliath, haha.

    I totally understand where you are coming from in thinking it a bad thing. I admit my own views are biased because I am a lifelong gamer myself and though I’m big on new gadgets and tech, I focus more on the gaming world and how much progress has been made, the amount of entertainment $$$ being pumped into the industry, and how more mainstream it is becoming.

    Comment by bucfanpaka -

  10. Well, Rebecca, I have to believe that the convergence you speak of is ultimately, a bad thing. However, I do see the technology going there. Why do you believe the Wii targets non traditional gamers, and furthermore, why do you believe Apple is a competitor that they have to worry about?

    Comment by Matches Malone -

  11. While it may not have the developer support or power for hundred million dollar masterpieces like Red Dead Redemption, I do think there is a niche for it in gaming. I have to admit my first thought was that it would be great for them to partner with Nintendo somehow (despite the conflict cause by Sony already being a partner) and integrate it with the Wii in some way to boost their sliding sales… plus, in so doing they could gang up against a common competitor, Apple; Apple now going after the handheld gaming market Nintendo dominates. (As an aside, Hulu looks to be joining Netflix in going on the 360; these types of partnerships seem to be a smart move – )

    But anyways, it will be your casual gamers they would want to target, with simple and addictive games; particularly, things that could be played while still watching video could go over well. Go after the Wii’s target audience– nontraditional gamers– and in addition, they may want to develop a controller similar to the Wiimote to use for everything. I just don’t see people wanting to really use a mouse and keyboard while vegging out in front of the TV watching video. But what about a motion sensing control where you can just point and click on links and letters to type (not like there will be all THAT much typing involved)?

    Comment by bucfanpaka -

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  14. Steve Jobs on why Google TV will fail (and why others have failed)

    Comment by ianbell330 -

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  23. I wonder what happened to microsoft’s WebTV and Ultimate TV businesses.

    Comment by toddq1381 -

  24. I’m interested, Everett, even if Mark isn’t. I have to believe that Apple is more ahead of the curve than Google on this as well….

    Comment by Matches Malone -

  25. I agree with some of your assessments, but think that the big impact of GTV will be bringing the idea of streaming internet content onto televisions into the mainstream. Boxee and Roku and Apple TV and whoever else don’t fail to perform because they are bad services, they fail because they were never able to show the average TV watcher why streaming content is a better alternative to Cable/Telco monopolies.

    Google has the brand recognition and the consumer trust to make it work not in conjunction with, but despite what the cable companies want. I elaborate more on my blog if you’re interested.

    Comment by Everett Steele -

  26. For better and worse younger viewers are already abandoning TV for content distributed on the internet (based on my personal observation). It might fail, but I look forward to the Google TV experience. Google seems to think they have a good product.

    Wes Sprinkle

    Comment by wessprinkle -

  27. nice article….thanks

    Comment by griyamobilkita -

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  29. Sorry to hear about the fine! I hope you get the marketing payback for it. Doubtful you will get LeBron though. Good luck next season.

    Comment by thirsty -

  30. Mr Swift2, if that is indeed your real name, a minor point here, but YouTube at least has realized that HTML5 is the way to go, and furthermore, from the conference I attended today, BluRay isn’t the greatest of all formats either. Please give us content producers a choice of how to deal with, and upload content quickly and efficiently 🙂

    Comment by Matches Malone -

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  32. Sorry for the typos above.

    Anyway just want to add that GoogleTV is never going to be a gaming box.

    Too much competition there. And pretty big hurdle between releasing a browser and some search software and becoming a successful game console.

    Comment by trip1ex -

  33. I don’t get the point. Do really want to search for our video more than we can now?

    I can already search by category and title and actor and director for video on my Tivo?

    Do I really want to search more than that? Do I want to search more than that enough to buy another box?

    I don’t see it.

    I don’t see Comcast or any cable company every partnering with them. Why give up money and control to Google? What in it for them?

    Also I don’t think it takes a Google to search through video. Video is already categorized at least the major commerical stuff is and it’s computer 101 to search the small descriptions of each show if you want to get to that level.

    And GTV isn’t going to mean Hulu on your TV as Boxee has proven. Not even sure most customers would want that grainy picture on their big screen TVs.

    CAble companies are going to thwart it further with their own subsidized boxes.

    I don’t see it taking off. Comcast and Direct TV don’t want this Google leech attached to their systems.

    Comment by trip1ex -

  34. “Google needs to strike that deal with Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner…”

    What makes you think the cables want the deal? What does Google bring them? AdSense? Compared to the money that regular ads + cable fees bring in? You’ve got to be kidding. I think you’re right on the sparse partners thing. Look at the conference stage: Sony TV, in its declining years. They’re a TV manufacturer. Where are the producers? At least Apple TV gets some support from ABC, etc.

    The other blunder was the stupidity over Flash and Web-M. This is just there to get the open source support. It’s the “first one is free” approach that a drug dealer uses, and it’s not a “free” play, it’s a “we are the new railroad” play. For one-tenth the amount they paid for that crappy old codec, they could have paid Firefox’s licensing fees in perpetuity, if being a sugar daddy is what they want. They don’t want it. This is a “in your face, Apple” play, and a monopoly play. Are they saying we need Flash on into the future? Why? Why not stabilize around a single codec, the best one, the industry standard that is in Blu-ray, in all the hardware decoders, etc.? It’s really Google making the play to be the new railroad, and getting the willing “open source” unpaid serfs to do their work for them.

    Comment by swift2 -

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  36. Yes, of course Mark is backpedaling. It’s what he does. The bigger issue is, either he was wrong before, or he’s wrong now. He can’t have it both ways.

    Oh, wait, forgot that I can’t talk to anyone else directly on your blog, Mark. Do you get the internet? I know you receive it, but do you get it? I want to know your definitive position, beyond the ‘computer as settop box is expensive’ reply you made to my comment on the related post.

    Is it your contention that in the future, everything will be one thing, and we’ll have a vat, full of this stuff, and the distributors, Google TV in the above case, will simply crank out what you order? Or is it more likely that The Law!!! will kick in, and you’ll get another YouTube like service? Oh, wait, Google already owns YouTube, which you stated was a bad investment, because of intellectual property laws being what they are. That’s what the DMCA was supposed to fix, and did a horrible job of, BTW.

    So, to review, what do you believe in? What are you going long on? Do you have any skin in the game? The game this time being Google TV? Will I ever get answers to these questions that will satisfy me? Probably not, and that’s the nature of the ‘net, that you don’t seem to understand.

    For a glimpse as to where I think this whole ‘net thing is going, there’s a relevant scene in Back to the Future II which you should probably watch again before you post another entry like the above, or reply to this comment.

    Comment by Matches Malone -

  37. “What will happen is that they will ‘turn off’ the Google TV Chrome Browser, just as they did to Boxee.”

    Not if Google TV has tens of millions of users. They wanted to kill Boxee *before* it became a gatekeeper with that kind of power. The guy that controls the set-top (or equivalent) knows more about the consumer than anyone else. In fact, he knows all of what everyone else knows combined.

    Question: Are you softening your view that the Internet won’t replace traditional cable delivery? I’m not trying to be a wisenheimer, but it seems that Google TV would not be very relevant, at least for many years, based on your recently-expressed position. How will this work technically if people are searching on the net, but getting their TV via traditional cable? Why do they need to search the net if the TV show they want in on the normal cable channel? I honestly think I may have missed something, but it seems like you may now be more bullish about Internet-based TV.

    Comment by jimmydada -

  38. The money will be in gaming, tCommerce, and social Apps on web, mobile and Google TV. Sure it will take some time – but you can bet – those developers are going to make a mad dash at the starting line when this opens up to try and get traction. It will eventually be a huge market.

    But time could be an issue. Late 2011 for the opening of the Google TV SDK’s and API’s? Yahoo is there already – shipping in a huge number of new Samsung and Sony TV’s. This means it’s going to become more of an STB play for Google. But who want’s yet-another-box and mess of wires? Many gaming devices are already connected anyway.

    I watched both days of the conference and have a take on the dog and pony show at

    Yahoo already has distribution partnerships with 5 of the top 10 TV manufacturers worldwide including Sony, Samsung, LG, VIZIO and HiSense.Not to mention a dev community of 7,000+. But they are not very ‘open’ – or so I have heard.

    Pagerank was removed from the Google Webmaster’s Toolbox – due to it being abused according to Google – so there are and will be new algorithm’s that will measure TV, I assume.

    How much of a say do you think TV content providers and their distributors will have in this? With the convergence, I can simply use Youtube rankings because the web is an integral part of my TV.

    In my opinion, Broadcast TV is going the way of the Recorded Music industry – without a doubt. And like the music Industry, it will revert to Live, to make the money. Which I wrote about here.

    And like the labels, the broadcasters are going to have real issues with funding new shows. Both the live and recorded music industry are trying to figure out how to bank new acts – because the labels are certainly backing off with lint forming in their formerly deep, well padded pockets.

    Comment by Expathos -


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  42. Mark,

    I cant find your email anywhere. How can I reach you concerning my startup so I can send you our ES and a short PPT? Have a great day. If would prefer not to respond with your info, send an email to Have a great day!

    Sam Hyatt

    Comment by prosportsangels -

  43. Remember the “necessity is the mother of invention” comment from my Future of TV blog comment? Tada.

    First of all, every time you’ve predicted doom for Google, the opposite has happened. Few lawsuits, minimal upheaval. Googs will do what it does, and that’s insinuate itself between information and the user. And the fretting will be minimal.

    As for the impact of Google TV, this has the potential to challenge the TV hegemony. By blurring the lines between TV and the Internet, Google TV has the potential to destroy classifications of content. No more “TV shows,” just “content.” No more “Web videos,” just “content.” And, once the distinctions are completely undermined, then direct distribution via the Internet becomes more viable. Google TV could replace Big TV as the aggregator, then it just becomes a matter of who offers the fattest pipes. What happens when I start to get real “Internet channels” to compete with TV channels? What happens when the first “HBO” of the Internet hits the scene?

    The future is in dumb pipes.

    Comment by sinisterx -

  44. @wcalvert,

    I don’t think you’ll need to learn Java. Just find someone else who knows it 😉

    Comment by Jeff Nabers -

  45. Interesting post. Thanks, Mark 🙂

    …As for indexing search results, don’t you think Google will just do their best job in getting people what they are searching for and what other people like? That seems to be the implied contract between Google and the searcher. And it’s what made Google so successful in the first place. I’m sure people won’t enjoy using it if their search results don’t give them what they’re searching for.

    Comment by Jeff Nabers -

  46. Google TV is the future of TV… with one major obstacle: if big cable doesn’t want to participate (which it won’t, for now), then it is not much more than Boxee v2, feeding off the scraps of content available online.

    That said, Google is the first company with any real heft to try and upend TV in the broadband era. It is conceivable that they could monetize well enough that the second-tier cable TV networks will defy their big cable masters and pursue Google TV in parallel with their existing cable distribution agreements.

    If that happens, it’s all over for big cable — they’ll just be the dumb pipes of their nightmares.

    Comment by rdgb2 -

  47. Great read, Mark. I look forward to seeing the kind of impact that Google TV has on advertising. I’m concerned that “television searches” will negatively impact advertising conversions made through google both online and offline.

    Also, the big issue with Apple TV seems to be the size of their catalog — I’m going to say that Google has an edge seeing as TV + YouTube/Google Video make a LOT of sense together.


    Comment by aybecker -

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  49. I think Google TV will be seen as a monumental inflection point in the realization of “TV convergence.” Android developers are going to have a field day employing dynamic querying of TV metadata and calling related internet content to deliver highly personalized & contextualized extended viewer engagement opportunities.

    Comment by r0macdonald -

  50. I don’t understand how this can be a good thing for cable and satellite providers in the long run. It definitely seems like a benefit in the short run but not the long run. I already read about people all the time dropping cable because there is plenty of content online. The easier it becomes to consume content online on the big screen the harder it comes for cable/sat providers to keep their subscribers. If I wasn’t a sports fan, I would definitely think about dropping DirecTv. Actually, you can get all the mlb content and nba content you need online so in reality only the NFL is keeping me from dropping DirecTV.

    The possibility of shutting down the chrome browser is a great point and that will be very interesting to see how it plays out.

    What I like the most is how much this could help the independent content provider. They can now get to your big screen directly with our a cable or network deal.

    Google TV SEOs will be a great new business to get into along with promoting new independent TV Shows.

    Comment by sportsblognet -

  51. Apple TV is great.

    If they could ever figure out how to handle live sports (live TV in general, but specifically sports for me), I would turn off my cable TV and only use Apple TV.

    Although I’m sad the film “Breaking Away” is not in their catalog.

    Comment by nathanielpark -

  52. I like seeing Google take the initiative here, but I still do not think they have enough partners to go mass-market. Intel should immediately be discounted because they work behind the scenes. No one cares about what processor a product uses as long as the product is fast (the iPad is proof of that), and Sony (the only mentioned TV manufacturer thus far)sells far less TVs than Samsung, Vizio, Panasonic and probably even Toshiba. Plus the price point on Sony TV’s is still too high to reach most people.

    DirecTV is an interesting play, but I suspect that few subscribers will even realize they can use the Google TV features, or really could care less. I would be curious to see the demographics for the typical DirecTV user. Do most of them live in rural areas for example? (most people that live in the city use cable, suburbs are mixed, etc). And if most of their subscribers are rural, do they have the internet? Are they familiar with Google that much or have an affinity to watch shows on Hulu or YouTube?

    Google needs to strike that deal with Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner etc to get into their set top boxes. TV manufacturers are not enough at this point. Studies show that peripherals, I.E. extra boxes etc typically do not sell well.

    I suspect this will be a good experiment, but that it will ultimately fail unless they announce more partnerships.

    Ian Bell

    Comment by ianbell330 -

  53. I’m glad you posted this, as I was in the process of writing you an email asking your opinion about the conference this morning

    What I think is most interesting is that Google figured out a very clever way of getting their advertising on TVs without going through the content provides. If it works, what a coup!

    I like what you said about being an inexpensive game unit, but the problem is that there aren’t very many good games. We’re talking maybe 20. And most of those would not translate well to a bigger screen experience (because of a lack of touch screen). The new Tegra 2 chipset from Nvidia is going to start going into Android based tablets this fall and paired with 1 gig of ram and a 1 ghz processor, the graphics look good (and so does the locally rendered HD video *cough* yesterdays Google video codec announcement).

    I can see a stripped down Google TV box (possibly integrated in your new Sony TV set) at the $100ish price point and then a more powerful box for $200-$300 with strong 3D video game capabilities.

    I was also thinking about the ad possibilities when you have an Android phone and a Google TV box. In the new Android 2.2, Google will have the ability to push information to your phone. Lets say you are watching a Dominos commercial on your tv (coming from a cable or satellite provider). Dominos pays Google to have a clickable pop-up ad on the tv screen. If the user selects it, that ad can have a location-based special display on the screen and a button that says call my local dominos for me. You click it and it pushes the phone number to your phone and you click send. If you have the Dominos app installed, then you build your pizza right on the screen or on your Android powered phone and you pay instantly with the credit card stored in your Google Checkout. Your recent orders could even be displayed when the commercial comes on, and you could one-click your way into having a pizza delivered to your house before the commercial even ends.

    This could be pushed into anything advertised on tv. Oxy-clean, blenders, vacuums, food, digital movie/video downloads, movie tickets, etc. Very exciting. Now to learn java so I can make money off of this somehow.

    Comment by wcalvert -

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