Sony was one of the early adopters of Google TV along with Logitech, but they haven’t said so far how well it has been working out for them. Perhaps they are still optimistic about the whole deal, and hope that demand will catch-up soon once Google gets more serious about Google TV, because it looks like they keep sending updates for their Blu-Ray player, which comes with Google TV.
The new updates include Chrome enhancements, making it faster and more up to date with HTML5 specs, and now the owners of Sony’s Blu-Ray player can also watch Blu-Ray movies in 3D. Sony has just announced that their 3D channel has had 10 million views so far, so it seems a lot of people will be excited about this Google TV update.
I have to say, I didn’t like how Google released a pretty buggy Google TV 1.0 software, and they didn’t take the interface too seriously either, and they treated it more like it was more for computer than a TV. I’m still not sure whether they will be successful with Google TV 2.0, because while it’s more intuitive as an interface, I don’t think they’ve gotten the input methods right yet. If it’s significantly harder for a user to change what they are watching than it is to change channels, then it can’t really succeed with the mainstream population, who is used to flip channels until they get something interesting or what they are searching for.
Built-in search, the way Google TV has it, could help with this. But they could make it easier and simpler, say through voice commands, which is a technology Google already has. They just need to implement it and ask the manufacturers to put mics in their TV’s and set top boxes.
Of course that’s not the only way they can improve the usability of Google TV. They can also do it through building apps for Android phones and tablets that allow you to interact with the TV’s interface directly. Something like that would like the difference between how we browsed the web on dumbphones and featurephones pre-touchscreen era, with arrow keys, and how slow that was, and how we do it now by just touching what we want to interact with directly on the phone, which is a lot faster.
Google TV 2.0 won’t have this, and it won’t have ICS either, but I’m hoping that by Google TV 3.0, Google will have figured things out and with the help of Motorola in the set top market, and with the help of other TV companies, they can push for Google TV to become something everyone wants.