Google TV - Strike Two

After my last scathing review, I am happy to say that a number of things have changed, however, I still feel that Google TV is seriously missing focus.

At the very core of Google TV is an internet-connected device that interfaces with my set-top box and can overlay information on my TV. They clearly do not understand what a fantastic idea they have and the potential for greatness! The internet connected device can automatically get any information AND make intelligent judgements. The interfacing with my set-top box means it can ACT on the information and intelligent judgements. The ability to overlay information means it can display information the information without having to change an input or obscure the TV.

Given these three core facts, Google TV should be a full GUIDE REPLACEMENT. As good as my current guide is (I do like it), it’s just a LIST. It does not know me, it does not recommend anything for me. This is where Google TV should fit in.

Google TV SHOULD:

  • allow me to rate shows
  • know my favorite/hated shows
  • change my guide based on my favorite/hated shows
  • display a "what’s on" considering my favorite/hated shows
  • display a schedule of just my favorite shows or hide hated shows
  • notify me when a new episode of my favorite show is on
  • allow me to search channels for the next showing a show (new or syndication)

Do you see where I’m going with this one? This device has the ability to know my guide, has the ability to know what I want to watch, and has the ability to help me watch what I want to watch; yet does NONE of it.

There’s a third-party app called TV Show Favs which helps, but it’s a weakly developed app which was designed for the phone. With the app, I can mark my favorite shows, but the phone-only widget (not designed for Google TV so it looks non-proportioned) only shows the next new episode on the main channel, nothing about syndication.

In fact, there was one function I loved in Google TV 2.1 that they REMOVED for 3.x; the ability to search for a show. Open up the search bar, type in “Family Guy” and it would tell you when the next showing is. Now with the updated “TV & Movies” app, they are more interested in selling you an Amazon Instant Download subscription.

The only favoring allowed in Google TV is for channels. I could not give less of a shit which channel something is on as long as I have it. Does it matter that Seinfeld is on TBS or my local affiliate? NO! I want to watch the show, so tune to it. Other than your teenage daughter watching MTV all day, is anyone loyal to a channel? Does anyone wonder “Hey, what’s on my favorite channel?” or do they wonder “Hey, what channel has something I like on?”

Currently, Google TV feels like a touchscreen-less and plan-less phone with a new remote that my girlfriend has to learn. I see no benefit to the common user. I spent fifteen minutes showing my girlfriend how to use the device, when I realize all I was teaching her was how to do the same thing she normally does, with a bigger remote. Where was the benefit? Where was the enhancement?

Google, you are in a tough position. You need to be able to make a device my parents can use while at the same time allowing me the freedom to change and modify it as I see fit. Good luck.


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