What Google TV should be, but won’t

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So, all of the Google TV / Logitech device leaks, videos, demos and all, make me think that new Google TV won’t really make any difference. Not in this form.
Primarily because it’s just re-hashing of currently available technologies, with a pinch of on-screen information thrown in. Yes, it’s nice that you can do a “channel-wide search” for your show, and get back results from multiple channels, along with info on the show, web video sources and such.
And, as usual, Google is concentrating on one technical aspect of the TV viewing experience — the search. Which is understandable, because they’re good at it. Well, normally search is not a part of everyday experience of “average” TV viewer. By “average” I mean not a geek, just your regular coach potato, whose peak of technological capabilities maxes out at cable company-provided DVR.
How often would that coach potato “search” for things? I mean after already getting used to favorite show showing up at a certain time on a certain channel? Almost never.
So, that aspect is pretty much a smal slice of a real life TV viewing experience.
Tivo got it almost right with their new “Tivo Search”. Lookie here:

So, all Google has to do, is to top this. Which wouldn’t be very hard — Tivo boxes are horribly slow while doing this (which is clear from the above video), Tivo generally has a number of bugs as soon as anything beyond regular cable connection or cable card is connected (I’ll have to write a whole epos on my fight with cable adapter) and almost anyone who’d do this type of search and make it fast and reliable would win the remainder of Tivo’s customer base. And by building it into a TV it’d be even better.

But, it still won’t change the TV viewing landscape. What would? A universal DVR.

Google is big enough to be able to coerce Hollywood executives into allowing this. Heck, register as a cable/satellite provider, if you have to, with monthly packages and all. And offer people a hybrid device. A DVR that never sleeps and records every channel every time. Let favorite shows be downloaded into the device automatically. Make any channel a Video On Demand channel. Given the current base of Amazon/Netflix streamers, all of those customers would be yours in a heartbeat, Google. They will pay the monthly fee, and wait in line for an invite code. Encrypt the video if you have to, so the paranoid tendencies of the Hollywood types would be somewhat sedated.

As a cable provider, you will be able to offer Hollywood more information about the viewers. Heck, given how good Google is with numbers and mathematics, it’d be able to accurately predict which shows user will like. And allow rating of commercials (because not all of them suck). Link relevant shows together, make a click-through with life video an easy thing.

Then you’ll have a Google TV worthy of a customer swoon. For now? Meh…

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