Google has been pretty busy in the first half of 2010, and one of their new products, dubbed Google TV, is an ambitious play into merging new media with mass media.
In the words of the internet giant: “Google TV is a new experience for television that combines the TV that you already know with the freedom and power of the Internet. With Google Chrome built in, you can access all of your favorite websites and easily move between television and the web.
But will Google TV succeed?
Firstly, almost every feature that you can find in Google TV is already present in TiVo, the popular digital video recorder platform. (Google TV will initially only be available in the US).
Baring the web browser interface, TiVo has had features like viewing photos and streaming music since 2003. The ability to view content from Amazon Video-On Demand, YouTube and Netflix, has also been a feature of TiVo’s for the last four years.
For the time being Google TV isn’t a real game changer, and TiVO aside, it faces massive competition from the powerful cable companies and the content that they have.
While the Internet giant may have partnered with the Dish Network to try and solve this very problem of getting access to content and viewers, this move is hardly the momentum they need to shift viewers to their platform. The balancing act for Google in this space is convincing the cable companies to partner with it to get access to their content and viewers. But what kind of economic model will this be based on?
Many companies have entered this space and failed miserably in the process. The likes of Apple andMicrosoft, with MSN TV and Apple TV – both failed. Another overlooked element in all of this is Hulu, which should not be underestimated. Rumour has it that Hulu, which offers hit TV shows on its site, is looking at introducing its own web-to-TV platform to deliver content to your TV via its platform.
Currently, Google has no relationship or agreement with Hulu for Google TV. Which means either more competition for Google TV, or perhaps, a tie-up of some sorts between the two.
For over two years, Google has spent considerable time developing the platform and ensuring that developers can easily develop third party applications on the Android Operating System (OS). But is this enough to ensure uptake of the product?
I think that the only way Google can truly succeed in this space is to get the basics right and ensure access to premium content which differentiates it from other competitors.
From a technological perspective, I have no doubt that the internet giant can overcome most obstacles thrown at it, but time will tell if this content-driven product can succeed.