After a freshman flop, Google has announced it's releasing version 2.0 of its TV on Sunday, this time with some features that turn it into a little personal TV aggregator. Like most TV streaming boxes, the box doesn't let users cut the cable cord that they want. But the gadget does have some utility and a saving grace that others don't: Personalization, filtering the TV experience to best suit your tastes. Or at least that's the idea.
Google has incorporated the search we love into a box we didn't. Proto TV had Google search, but Google didn't think to amend it for the new medium. The remote had a Search button, but as Gadget Lab's Jon Phillips points out, it didn't deliver. "The results you received were anything but Googly in their depth and relevance, and weren’t aggregated across all of Google TV’s content sources," he writes. Kind of surprising for a company that's name is synonymous with search.
Version 2.0 cleans that mess up. For one, results are better, claims Phillips. But, the actual search process is better, too, allowing for a more customized experience, as The New York Times's Claire Cain Miller explains. "Say you want to watch a romantic comedy, but don’t want to search the TV listings, Netflix and Amazon separately," she writes. "Google will scan them all and offer personalized recommendations." It not only makes finding and watching more seamless, it removes the crap options from sight, making finding enjoyable programming, well, enjoyable.
Beyond these searching features, Google also uses Twitter to socialize the whole thing. Like Facebook, Google thinks you'll want to watch what your friends are watching. Instead of connecting the two services completely, Google scans Twitter for the shows people you follow are tweeting about. The TV then corresponds with those results in its filtered searches, showing the user shows that are making buzz. "Once you open up this canvas to other tools available on the web, we can ask, 'What are people tweeting about right now? What are people watching right now?" Rishi Chandra, director of product management told Phillips. Some TV watchers might not care what's trending, but it narrows down the choosing process.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.