Integration is the future of technology. Just take a look at our cell phones. Remember when they just made calls? Now we can use them to listen to music, search the web, unlock our cars…open development and app markets provide new functions daily, and we love it. We all want this anti-entropic trend to continue to the point that all the specialized gadgets we own get mashed together into one perfect technological singularity: it’ll make calls, play music and videos, surf the web, scan and print, interface with any object we come across, and create, out of thin air, bags of Blazin’ Buffalo Ranch Doritos™.
The latest news in integration is Google TV. Now, you might hear Google TV and think gee, that sounds a lot like Apple TV/Roku/a million other products that already exist, and you’d be right. Nobody’s saying that Google is particularly original. In fact, Google has a pretty solid history of using other people’s ideas:
Yahoo!: “Hey, check out our search engine! It responds to user queries by returning page results in order to facilitate easy navigation on the internet! We’ll call it Yahoo!”
Google: “Yahoo, you say? Sounds good, but how about this idea: a search engine that responds to user queries by returning page results in order to facilitate easy navigation on the internet! We’ll call it ‘Google’”.
Yahoo!: “That’s what we just said.”
Google: “Shut up and give us your market share.”
The key is that Google always improves on whatever technology and ideas are out there. Google as a search engine is tops because of its page-ranking innovations. Google TV, likewise, is an improvement on the basic concept of Apple TV, that is, videos downloaded online and played on your television.
Google TV will be integrating web browsing into your TV set…so if you’re dying to watch some high-quality television—maybe the latest episode of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey”—Google TV might show you upcoming episodes, but could also guide you to BravoTV.com where you can watch streaming content, or take you to Netflix for instant episodes, or guide you to YouTube for related clips. You could have all the Real Housewives you could ever want. The Google TV platform is based on Android 2.1, and will run the Chrome browser (with Flash…Google will not hesitate to tell you how much it loves Flash).
Google has been crowing non-stop about how “open” it is to compete with Apple, and sure enough the whole system looks to be much more open than previous products like Apple TV, which was mostly limited to the iTunes Store and YouTube. Google TV will, in theory, allow access to sites like Hulu and Netflix, but it remains to be seen whether those sites will themselves allow it. After all, everybody has their own hardware to push. Right, Netflix?
Yet with all this talk of “open-ness”, there was one announcement that bothered me…Google TV will be directly integrated into Sony televisions and will be available as external hardware for other sets, which is fine, but apparently those external Google TV boxes will be sold exclusively at Best Buy. Does that seem like a bad sign for consumers to anybody else?
via (for more technical details and less nonsense): Engadget