Google TV is Google’s joint project with Intel and Sony to create a new way of accessing Web content on your television. With technology that runs on Intel’s Atom chips (currently used for the Android operating system for Google’s smartphones), Google TV will initially be operated via a set-top box.
Let’s take a look at some pertinent questions about Google TV, for some of which enough information is available to craft an answer, and for some of which we’ll have to wait to find out:
1. How much will Google TV cost?
In its initial form as a set-top box that is linked to existing boxes (like the box for your cable TV, satellite TV, DVR, etc.), the speculation is that it’ll likely run over $200, perhaps $289 or $299.
2. Will Google TV be based on proprietary or open source software?
Open source. Device and television makers are expected to have broad access to it.
3. Will Google TV have the field to itself?
No way. There are plenty of competitors and potential competitors who won’t let Google TV dominate the television/Internet market without a fight. Attempts to make this concept work go back at least as far as WebTV, and the present and possible future rivals who’ll try to grab their piece of the pie include video game systems like XBox and PlayStation, Roku, Boxee, Yahoo, Microsoft, TiVo, and Apple TV.
4. What Internet content will be available on Google TV?
Expect to be able to access YouTube videos, television shows from Hulu, the Picasa photo site, and social networking sites like Twitter. But there will be a lot more, as one of the things holding back previous efforts to get people to browse the Web on their television has been the limitations on what material is available.
5. What else will be available on Google TV?
Everything you could watch on a regular TV, of course. This isn’t just for the Internet; your TV will still function as a TV.
Plus Google TV will have thousands of apps, all your favorites like Google Maps and Google Live, and plenty of new ones being developed by open source third parties.
6. Will Google TV succeed?
Well, naturally that’s the $64,000 question. The main issue it’ll have to overcome is that so far people have found most Internet activities to be far more comfortable working on a keyboard with a monitor up close to their face, while television viewing tends to be from 10 feet or so away, or even farther for a big screen. Google has tabbed Logitech to design a remote with a mini-keyboard that it hopes will be user-friendly enough to become as second nature for people to use as a standard remote, but this will still be a significant hurdle to overcome.
And even if it is possible to get people comfortable using their television to browse the Web, Google TV will have to do a better job of it than its aforementioned rivals, or it may still not be successful.
Craig Agranoff, “Google TV is Coming and It Won’t Be Anything Like WebTV.” Rev2.org
Nick Bilton, “Google and Partners Seek TV Foothold.” New York Times.
Ian Paul, “Google TV: Five Burning Questions.” PC World.
Christina Warren, “More Google TV Details Emerge.” Mashable/Tech
“Report: Google Working With Intel, Sony on TV Project.” Wired.