Google has cleaned up its own Smart TV platforms and apparently has big plans for the Google TV interface. A few days ago, the platform’s product manager gave an insight into the roadmap for 2022, which is unlikely to be well received by many users. All sorts of smart functions are to be added, but users just want to watch TV… One comment.
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Smart TVs are by no means a new development, but it feels like the big platform operators have only now really discovered them for themselves, despite long-standing products. No wonder, because the streaming of content has become established, and the necessary bandwidth and infrastructure are available in more and more countries and households. And linear television isn’t playing as big a role as it did a few years ago.
Google has been active in this area for a long time and already had a platform called “Google TV” in its portfolio in 2011. Not to be confused with today’s product. But the platform at the time was a terrific flop and was a very expensive trip into the television sector for both Google and technology partners such as Logitech. You can’t pinpoint the exact reasons for the flop, but it is probably also due to the fact that the interface was more like a mix of desktop and smartphone than optimized for the television and its limited operating options via remote control.
Then came the big restart with Android TV, which took a few years to get on the road to success. The interface was much more sophisticated and there was a focus on streaming and apps. The next reboot, if you will, came at the end of 2020 with Google TV, which is built on top of Android TV and focuses entirely on streaming platforms. Non-streaming Android apps can be run, but are quite well hidden. The supposedly right way, shot up the number of users.
Now fitness and smart home are coming
But this year, Google seems to want to go the way of using the television for more than just entertainment for the third time. The roadmap presented by the product manager speaks of more extensive smart home control and the integration of fitness functions. The third focus is live TV, which certainly nobody on television would object to. But who seriously wants fitness platforms on TV? From my point of view, it doesn’t go together, because every family member has different interests in fitness and training, but the television is a shared device.
Smart home controls via Google Assistant – certainly interesting for some users. But you shouldn’t put a real smart home interface on the TV, because there are other devices like smart displays for that. Many people just want to let the television shower them, sometimes with more and sometimes with less attention. Sit down, switch off, consume media. We (at least many in my environment) do not want more. And if you still want more, you can install apps from the Play Store.
Google would like the TV to be on all day and always available as an ambient device. Of course, if smart displays don’t spread as quickly as hoped, then you just take the television, which can be found in almost every household. But I don’t think that’s the right development. In the end, the user or buyer decides, but Google’s push in such things can sometimes mean that the important things slip into the background and the popularity of the platform could decrease again. Let’s hope not.