Google TV: Stop Surfing, Start Searching

Google started with smarter searches. Then, with Android, it turned its attention to smart phones. Now, with Google TV, it's looking to smarten up the third and ultimate category of electronic rectangular screens. What does Google TV mean for the idiot box?

It's no surprise that Google thinks the Web is special because the Web is searchable. Indeed, the company spends enormous resources refining its algorithm to make the Internet more searchable every day. So Google would like to bring that searchability to television. And hey, while they're at it, Google would like to put the Internet on TV, too. The result is Google TV, a box, QWERTY keyboard and mouse that turns your 30-inch screen into an entertainment hub for television channels, websites via Google Chrome and apps via Google Android.

Tubes on the tube? Cool idea. The ultimate utility here probably lies beyond YouTube and BuzzFeed time sucks. Designers and artists and professionals for whom a large screen improves their productivity by orders of magnitude will benefit from a box that lets them work on Web-based projects on a 30-inch, rather than 12-inch, screen.

Google TV could make it easier to work at home, but it could also make it easier to, you know, not work. Scrolling through cable listings is, it turns out, a pretty rotten way to find what you want to watch on the telly. That's why they call it channel surfing. It's aimless, rudderless. Why not make channel searching as easy as Web searching? That's what Google TV wants to do. Type a word into the search box, and it returns TV shows, Internet pages, apps, music. That kind of innovation is simple enough for older folks to intuit and useful enough for younger kids to spend a few extra bucks.

We won't know how well the hardware/software will run until some critic takes it for a test drive. But I'm rooting for this idea to work.


Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In