Google logo Google TV arrived last fall to lukewarm reviews. Its remote control was big and complicated, its software was clunky and confusing, and it didn’t live up to the promise of Internet-connected TV’s — that they would allow us to cut the cable cord and watch whatever we wanted whenever we wanted.
Now Google is trying again. On Friday, it will introduce the second version of its Google TV software. The hardware, which is made by Sony and Logitech, will stay the same for now. New devices, including from Samsung and Vizio, are scheduled to arrive next year.
Google TV upgrade focuses on content-discovery features. It’s been a long while since anyone have heard anything about Google TV, but the platform just got its big promised upgrade to Android 3.1, complete with an overhauled UI and support for apps from Android Market. Google says the new, more realistic goal for its TV efforts is to complement traditional TV services like cable and satellite with alternative internet viewing options, and to that end the company is bundling in a new TV and Movies app that functions as an integrated program guide with the ability to aggregate content from multiple sources, including live TV, HBO Go, Netflix, and YouTube.
The YouTube app itself has been updated to feature dynamic “channels” that begin playing related videos as soon as you type in a search term — think Pandora for YouTube. These content-discovery features are the main focus of this version; Google told us that the apps and Market element will take time to build into marquee features.