Google unveiled the final version of Google TV 2.0 today, and it looks pretty sweet. It's definitely a lot cleaner and more intuitive than before, so it looks like they've learned some lessons there. I think Google TV 2.0 devices will start becoming more popular than last time, especially if this time they are priced right, which means $100 or $150 at most. But there are a few things that are still missing.
Google TV still doesn't have a lot of content, although they've started getting a few more partnerships, like the one with HBO. We might see more of them coming in the form of apps soon. Also, Google is still trying to buy Hulu, which by itself would turn Google TV into a killer product. The networks which own Hulu, are still not sure whether they should sell it or not, and they've even ended the bidding that went for it earlier. But Google is going to offer them probably twice as much money, and who knows what kind of other deals. If Google bought Hulu, it would make Google TV an international hit as well, if they bring Hulu to the international market.
Google has a huge opportunity here to act before Apple (they did since last year actually), and try to transform Android into a competitive platform against PS3, Xbox and Wii. If they can sell set-top boxes for $150 with the quad-core Tegra 3 in them, which has almost console-like quality graphics, a lot of people would use Google TV as a console, too. Google TV 2.0 already has gamepad support, but they need to actually push for this themselves, and promote it to people. They need to make it a killer feature of Google TV devices.
It's too bad Google had to go with Intel Atom first, because now those console-like games that are built with native code on Android, won't be easily port it to current Google TV devices, and we'll have to wait until there are some ARM-based ones available.
Google needs to stop thinking about using keyboards to control the TV. I mean what are they even thinking? Why did they ever thought that would be a good idea? It should be common sense that it wouldn't be. They could use 3 other much better and modern ways to interact with the TV.
I. Virtual apps
Yes, they do have a remote app, but they are still thinking about this the wrong way. Why would you use a virtual replica of a remote, when it's worse than a physical remote in reality, because you have to look at it and at the screen at the same time, to see what you are doing. This is why they need to let you see the whole Google TV interface inside an app on your phone or tablet. Then you just tap the app/channel you want on your phone, and you're set. Much faster interaction than with a keyboard or virtual remote app. Using a virtual remote now feels like the pre-iPhone days when you were moving around the phone's interface with directional buttons.
II. Voice commands
Google has had voice technology for years, but they haven't done that much with it. Apple is most likely going to use Siri in their new upcoming TV. Why can't Google let you interact with your TV through voice, too? It can't be hard to implement, and I think it would be really useful, too.
III. Kinect-style interaction
We've all seen Minority report, and we know that is the future. Microsoft has already started working hard on this with Kinect. I know Google hired the tech lead from Kinect, so when are we going to see that type of interaction in Google TV? It better be soon. If nothing else, it would still be useful for playing simple games like Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja on your TV.
As I said, I think the new Google TV 2.0 will do much better than the first one, which shouldn't be too hard, but it would've still done much better if they had what I proposed above. It would be really sad and frustrating if Apple does some of these before Google and takes the lead on that market because of it, when Google actually had a huge 1.5 year head start, and they already had all the technologies to make it happen. They just … didn't.