Google’s TV software platform will begin to undergo a series of significant improvements. The first over-the-air updates begin Oct. 30 and run through
the week. They will highlight TV-optimized Android Apps, an improved YouTube experience and features that make it easier to search and discover content. The updates will come to Sony devices first,
followed by Logitech add-on consoles.
Company engineers had to rethink the platform to move the device from a clumsy Internet-connected TV into advanced computing architecture. The first implementation failed to overlay search on the existing TV architecture that now appears more as a platform inviting third-party application developers to create apps. “Ad-supported Android apps will move into Android Market,” said a Google spokesperson.
The update is intended to simplify the Google TV software, which allows viewers to access the Internet and most of its content. Search results should deliver faster load times and become more detailed under the new TV & Movies app. It allows viewers to browse for HD video content equipped with filters to target choices pulled from content on YouTube, Amazon, Netflix and other cable and satellite programming.
Viewers can now use most Android Apps in Android Market to support TV updates. About 30 apps at launch should become available for the big screen. The increase in app development will turn the TV from a device into a platform. About 50 developers have seeded the Market apps for the TV, about 80,000 movies and TV episodes.
Viewers should find the TV-optimized Android app for YouTube an improvement compared with the previous version. Today, consumers cannot access YouTube rental movies, but it seems inevitable that will occur in subsequent releases.
In an effort to attract major advertisers, movie studios and television networks like ABC and CBS, which have blocked content, Google will broaden partnerships from Sony and Logitech to device manufacturers Samsung, Vizio and beyond. The company said it plans to announce additional hardware and chipset partnerships for the device in 2012.
Google isn’t the only search-centric company to make its way into the living room.
Microsoft recently launched a search framework, Bing, in its Xbox 360 Live platform to help users find content across movie and television programming supported by the console. It links into Kinect to offer verbal search options.