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It’s much too early to start commenting on Google TV, with the little that is really known about the details. As such, it’s quite unwise to do so. Hence why I will.

The Good

There’s something great about Google TV, and that’s probably what’s garnering all the enthusiasm right now: convergence is finally coming. Come on, we’ve been talking about it for years, and this seems to be the first really exciting example of it (IP telephony is another example. Not exciting).

So basically, the idea of a web enabled TV sounds great of course. And that’s what everybody’s excited about. And rightly so might I add.

The Bad

But of course, as you know, I’m a grumpy old man, and as such, I always poop the party. In this case, several things bother me.

  • Once more, Google gets to know what you do. One more area where they know your every single move. Yay.
  • For all the coolness of “search for a video on the internet and watch it”, the reality of it is that much of what’s available out there will look just awful on a half decent TV. And websites aren’t optimized for TVs. I think there’s years ahead before the content a web enabled TV adds to a TV is quite as exciting as the content normally available on your TV. I do think there’s probably a discrepancy between US and Europe in that regard (penetration of Netflix etc.)
  • True convergence to me should go much deeper. One day your TV will basically be wirelessly connected to your PC, as an additional screen, and your PC’s OS will know the difference and translate (re-format the interface if you will) as needed. And everything will go through your PC, whether satellite TV or web. Of course, there’s many years ahead before we get that and it’s really usable, and that’s just my preferred vision of a not too close future. Might as well never happen. But I wanted to share…


The Ugly

Well Google getting to access another area of your life really is very ugly too, but ok, I’ve already been there and there’s something else.

Is this all Google has left? Are they running out of innovative ideas? A TV, really?

Of course it’s a cool product and whatnot (at least conceptually, in practice it remains to be seriously tested). But how obvious is it?

I see a few people who think it’s not obvious and aren’t following.

Google is an advertising company. Coming (back) to TV strikes me of a very conservative move (even though it does have a very innovative twist in this case). If all of a sudden all Google can think of to increase it’s revenue stream is to get more via television, then it seems to me it has run out of ideas on how to monetize ads (which I personally might be thankful for, but still…). It’s coming back to the best bread winner for ad companies there ever was.

If this is a sign of where Google’s heading, then it might be an indication that the time of intense web innovation at Google is over.

Whether this is true, or even whether that is a bad thing remains to be seen. I welcome your thoughts on both points.


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