Google TV offers a ton of recommendations with regard to available content, in addition to apps. But it’s also going to offer a way to opt-out of those, based on recent reports, via an “apps-only” mode.
Now, at the surface, the mode seems like a common-sense addition. Not every user is going to want to be bombarded with new recommendations every time they open their smart home streaming device. Even if that is going to offer the easiest way to discover new content on the newly-rebranded platform. The goal, of course, is to ensure users aren’t spending more time looking for content than actually watching the content.
But the additional sections also put Android apps, featuring prominently on the new Google TV platform, as a secondary feature. Summarily, placing that below recommendations entirely.
An Android-centric fix is present
Google’s solution to the app problem and for those users who don’t want recommendations is simple. The company is including its apps-Only mode, as noted above. That will leave only the highlighted content segment — represented by the full-size image at the top of the display in the example image above — and a user’s apps visible.
The usual row of oval-shaped chips along the top of the UI, labeled Search, For You, Live, Movies, Shows, Apps, and Library, are also removed. The only chip remaining next to the Google TV branding is one that reads “Home.”
Below the highlighted content panel, a message will also be displayed. That reads “Apps only mode is enabled. You can adjust this in Settings > Accounts & Sign In.”
So users will need to go into their settings, tucked behind their profile picture at the top-right-hand side of the UI, to turn off apps-only mode.
What good is an apps-only mode on the Google TV platform?
Now, there’s no guarantee that entering into apps-only mode on Google TV will do anything to stave off the user data collection that typically goes into recommendations. So the ability to enter the mode doesn’t necessarily negate that. Users concerned about privacy and data collection will want to look for other settings on that front. Specifically on the Google Account management pages, also tucked behind their profile image in many Google apps.
As a result, the mode will likely serve a better purpose when it comes to managing what others see.
For example, it will help keep any guests — or children — from seeing recommendations. More succinctly, recommendations that might give away a bit too much about the device owner’s watch history. Or help keep them in apps that are approved for use instead of able to click on — and potentially make purchases — in other apps.