For Christmas I decided to treat my husband, also a search marketer, to a Logitech Revue with Google TV. Honestly, my curiosity as a search marketer was getting the best of me. What is Google TV like, and do I need to consider it in my search marketing plans?
After playing with our Logitech Revue for about a week now, I'm not seeing much for search marketers to be concerned about -- yet. While Google TV does boast a Chrome browser, its results are essentially the same as computer-based viewing. As for Google searches, Google Instant and Google Suggest both work the same way as computer-based viewing, even providing local results just as you might see on your computer. So really, to a search marketer, there's not much difference, if any, from computer-based searches to Google TV searches today.
Only two weeks ago, Google requested that Logitech halt all production of the Revue product, although Logitech denies that Google initiated the stoppage. Why would Google, or Logitech for that matter, stop production of Google TV? Additionally, Google recently pulled out of the Consumer Electronics Show, where the company was expected to make a big splash with the new Google TV product.
According to speculation, after initial lukewarm reviews for the product, Google decided to upgrade the software. Additionally, Google has faced some challenges to make Google TV everything it originally intended. Not long after Google TV's launch, major networks (including CBS, ABC and NBC) blocked their content from Google TV access. I tested this myself last night, going to the CBS.com website to watch Sunday night's episode of "CSI: Miami." Sure enough, the video would not load via Google TV, instead showing the message: "The video you have requested is not available on this device."
Future of Google TV
But I wouldn't count Google TV out just yet. Greg Sterling over at Search Engine Land anticipates, and I wholeheartedly agree with him, that the company's main goal with product is really to deliver content and advertising via a medium that's new for for Google. Additionally, with a greater push on personalized TV, Google could easily use its knowledge of your search habits, personal demographics and social graph to serve highly targeted advertisements to viewers -- essentially an extension of the highly successful AdWords model, which currently generates approximately 95% of Google's revenue. The device is just the mechanism -- the conduit -- to serve the ads. Just as the iPod is the conduit to sell the music for Apple, so is Google TV the conduit to serve ads on television.
I also expect that Google will, in future, likely allow advertisers to opt in or out of having search ads display on Google TV, similar to how advertisers can opt in/opt out on mobile devices today.
Furthermore, I fully expect that Google will attempt to provide all of the video content it can through its Google TV searches. For search marketers, that puts renewed importance on the indexing of video content. So be ready. If you don't have a video XML Sitemap yet, create one and register it with Google Webmaster Tools.
While Google TV has a lot of potential in the future, like search on mobile phones, it is only scratching the surface of that potential today. Consider TV (via Google TV) an extension of search to another device, as it has been with mobile, until specific applications, such as ads for Google TV, are offered -- or there is greater adoption of the medium. Until then, search marketers can prepare for Google TV in much the same way that they prepare for search on all other devices.