Google TV, Usability Not Included
By DAVID POGUE November 17, 2010
Google Mail. Google Phone. Google Voice. Google News.
Holy cow. Is there any corner of our lives where Google doesn't want a toehold?
Not anymore. It's here, just in time for the holidays: Google TV!
Now, let's be clear: you can't swing by your local Couch-Potato Depot and ask for "a Google TV." (Well, you can, but they'll look at you funny.) Instead, Google TV is an operating system, based on the same Android software that's inside many app phones. Google hopes that other companies will build it into their TV sets, Blu-ray disc players and set-top boxes. The point of all this is to bring Web videos to your TV set.
Now, the idea of bringing the Web to your TV is not a new idea. It's been kicking around since the Internet was still in pull-ups.
But no matter how many times the industry tries to cram Web+TV down our throats, the masses just don't swallow. That's probably because when we sit down at the TV, we want to be passive, with brains turned off, and when we surf the Web, we're in a different mind-set: more active, more directed.
For some reason, though, this year, the tech industry is going Web+TV crazy. Maybe it's because they're all focusing on Web video, not the whole Internet enchilada (e-mail, browsing and so on). Already, you can get services like YouTube, Netflix on demand and Amazon movies through set-top boxes like Apple TV, Roku, Western Digital Live Hub, TiVo Premiere and many others.
But Google TV wants to reopen the case for the whole Internet on your TV. It offers access to Web video but also has a full-blown (well, mostly blown) Web browser built in.