Why Google TV is Not Ready for Prime Time

Having spent a couple of days at The Cable Show earlier this week I thought I’d take the opportunity to participate in a Hangout organized by the Google TV team. Entitled ‘Friends of Google TV’ I was keen to figure out what the company had to say about its second generation TV offering.  With the company finally getting approval for its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, I figured the session would be an opportunity for me to ask some questions like how they thought it would integrate with traditional broadcast and PayTV operators services.

Scheduled for 3pm PDT, I followed the GoogleTV G+ feed, waiting for the hangout to commence.  3pm came, and went.  3.10… 3.15… 3.20… at 3.23 a message saying that there had been a technical issue and that the hangout would start shortly.  Fair enough… technical glitches happen to everybody, but could they not have told us sooner?  It is, perhaps, worth mentioning that while I was waiting for the hangout to start I had mentioned to another attendee that I worked with companies in the PayTV industry in the public feed.

Just after 3.30 the hangout started – at least for the others waiting it did.  They must have missed my registration.  I sent a message to the team – indicating that I hadn’t been able to join [or that they hadn’t invited me] only to receive a message asking whether I’d added GoogleTV to my circles [I had, but added another one just to be sure], because they couldn’t find me.  Still nothing…

Then, at 4pm – the intended finish time of the 1 hour hangout, the hangout ended. What was scheduled to be a one hour hangout ended up being less than half that.

I’m actually really disappointed – on a number of levels.  I like the Google TV concept; it has the potential to provide an additional service that could add search functionality to programming delivered by subscribers’ PayTV service, as well as allowing them to search OTT content from third party providers.   But, from what I’ve seen, Google has a long way to go before it has a product that is ready for prime-time.  If, as it claims, it wants to be an active participant in the TV space – rather than a threat to existing services, it should be doing everything it can to win friends and influence people [I’m a potential customer, as well as a champion for GoogleTV].

So, come on Google – how about it? Let’s hangout a little… I want to be a friend of Google TV – if you’ll let me. Who knows, I could even help you start a conversation that’ll help you become a fully-fledged part of the TV community!

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