Is Google TV Destined to Fail? Businesses Should Hope Not.

Steve Jobs Thinks Google TV Will Fail, But is he Right?

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs thinks Google’s television efforts with Google TV are going to fail. At least that’s the impression he gave earlier in the week, speaking at All Things Digital’s D8 conference when an audience member asked him about TV.

Do you think Google TV is destined to fail, or does its outlook look better than its predecessors? Tell us what you think.

Google unveiled Google TV a couple weeks ago at its developer conference, Google I/O. The company brought along launch partners Intel, Adobe, Sony, Best Buy, Logitech, and DISH Network for the ride. Watching the presentation (though fraught with technical difficulties related to connectivity), I have to say they made a pretty convincing case for Google TV, despite the lack of mainstream success for other connected TV products.

Google TV is the platform, but will launch on Sony TVs and Blu-ray players, a Logitech set-top box, and integration through DISH Network’s HD DVR boxes. Jobs says nobody’s willing to buy another set-top box.

"The problem with innovation in the television industry is the go-to-market strategy – the television industry fundamentally has a subsidized business model that gives everybody a set-top box for free or for ten dollars a month and that pretty much squashes any opportunity for innovation because nobody’s willing to buy a set-top box. Ask TiVo. Ask Replay TV, Ask Roku. Ask Vudu. Ask us. Ask Google in a few months…Sony’s tried as well. Panasonic’s tried. They’ve all failed."

While Jobs’ comments appear to be a jab at Google (he certainly has every right to make jabs, considering how many Google took at Apple at I/O), but by this logic, it’s really Logitech’s product that would fail. Again, Google TV is the platform, which will no doubt be available on numerous devices after the initial launch (think about a Netflix streaming-like model, which is doing pretty well). With Sony as a partner, don’t be surprised to see Google TV make its way to the Playstation, for example (more on why Google and Sony partnered with one another here).

Sidenote: Watch our interview from Google I/O with Ashish Arora, the Vice President and General Manager of Logitech Digital Home, about Logitech’s role in Google TV here:

The point is that Google TV will be on a variety of different devices that people will either already have or buy for the whole package. Google TV will just be a feature. DISH Network subscribers will already have their DVR boxes awaiting integration. People will already be buying TVs (maybe Google TV as a feature of a Sony TV will be an extra incentive to buy that particular TV). People are already buying Blu-ray players.

Jobs talked about how there are no nationwide cable companies, but Dish Network is nationwide, and it is already making moves that could grow its user base significantly before Google TV even comes out. This week, they announced "Free HD for life" that is sure to attract some subscribers. The more subscribers Dish Network attracts, the more Google TV users there will be by default. Last week, Dish Network also announced plans to launch local broadcast channels in 29 new markets, making it the first and only pay-TV provider to offer local channels to consumers in every market nationwide, according to the company.

With regards to TV, Jobs also said, "I’m sure smarter people than us will figure this out." Watch the video here at All Things Digital to see Jobs’ entire response to the TV question (which is really more about Apple’s outlook for the space than Google’s product of course). They also have a clip of Jobs talking about Apple’s relationship with Google. The most memorable quote from that is, "Just because we’re competing with somebody doesn’t mean we have to be rude."

Google TV ‘s Success Would Have Big Implications for Businesses

Assuming that Google TV does not fail, and incurs wide adoption, businesses are going to have a lot of new opportunities to reach customers. It is true that people are spending more and more time online. They’re watching more online video. This would no doubt only be amplified if they were to get a "seamless" interface merging their TV watching and online video-watching experiences. Keep in mind, with Google TV, the web is just a button-push away from the same remote as the TV channels. That includes search.

Businesses are going to want to start thinking about optimizing their sites for the big screen, as well as for the mobile screen, if they are not already doing so (it’s probably a good idea anyway, because more and more people are already hooking up PCs to their TVs). A couple of other things to think about if Google TV really takes off include:

- Optimizing video content is going to be more important than ever – not just optimizing the content itself, in terms of quality, but making your videos visible in search results in Google and YouTube.

– Having an Android app will be more critical than it already is. Android apps will be accessible via Google TV. This is another way to get to viewers right in their living room.


There will be new advertising opportunities with Google TV. First of all, existing ones will be transported to the television by default (via the web). This makes online advertising in general not quite synonymous with television advertising, but it’s putting it in the same box (the idiot box, if you will).

As Danny Sullivan noted in an interview with WebProNews at Google I/O, Google TV puts Gogle into a place where people are spending hous of thier day and not getting a chance to see Google’s ads:

At Google I/O, Google VP, Engineering Vic Gundotra said that just like they’ve built ad formats for Android, they’ll probably do the same for Google TV too.

Is Jobs right about Google TV? Do you think it will fail? Share your thoughts.


Is Google TV Destined to Fail? Businesses Should Hope Not.
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  • http://www.LasVegasOkay.com Adsense Publisher

    That’s funny because if you ask me, I think mobile web will fail.

    Who the hell wants to create another version of your website just for mobile use?
    Who also wants to view a page on a tiny screen?
    I see portable bluetooth touchscreens as what we’re going to be using for internet through a phone.

    Most people who I talk to that have mobile websites have to do about 100 times more traffic to get the same income compared to their non-mobile version of the same site.

    The only time I really enjoy surfing the internet using my phone is when I plug my phone into my netbook and use my phone as a modem to connect to the internet.

    I think Google TV will be a big hit. Who wouldn’t surf using a bigger screen than your computer?
    Now I can understand that a lot of add-on boxes have failed so I don’t see this taking off till more people buy TV’s that have Google TV/Android already built into the TV, or even Cable companies embracing the technology and putting it into their Cable TV boxes. It’ll happen if Google does this right.

  • ACH

    I don’t understand why we can’t watch regular TV (including cable) on our laptops and computers. I already watch movies on hulu and netflix and most news channels (i.e. FOX, CNN) let you watch news snippets online….so why can’t I watch any programming I want on my laptop?

    Can someone (Google perhaps) not sidestep the cable companies and create a medium where we can just view any channel in the world on our laptops or eventually TV (They’d have to be configured to receive internet).

    Have you guys heard of Justin TV….it’s good but not great.

  • Guest

    Although not perfect (though it is improving quickly), you can sling live TV to any IP enabled device. Sling now makes a dongle that plugs into the USB port on your set-top-box that allows you to view live or recorded (DVR) TV on a phone, laptop or iPad. DISH actually has one set-top-box in market, the 922, that has this functionality built in. Works pretty good.

  • Guest


  • http://www.twitter.com/uklocalwebsites Daz

    A Have Been Following This With Excitment See Steve Jobs Dig At Google Means Nothing Apple And Otheres Might Have Edge On Iphones Or Ipads Now But A Think Google Tv Will Be Power Full Stuff – We No There Are Loads Ov Web Tv Sites But We Are Talking About One Platform A Think It Will Be Bigger Than Ipad And Iphone Steve Jobs Totlely Forgot About All These Tv Schools Buy And People For There Bedrooms Ect So Ye People Are Tight But When It Comes To Various Form Of Entertanment There Not !

    • http://www.mariaribeiro.net Guest

      Stop Smoking Men… ;-)

      Or Are You Writing From a TV hahaha

  • LotusSeven

    Who cares?
    Our local Comcast cable content is now about 30% commercials and the ratio to commercials to actual program content is increasing while the program content “quality” is decreasing. We recently canceled our cable subscription. We can get all the news and entertainment via broadcast digital TV or the internet at no cost. If Google TV is commercial free, I might take a look, if not it’s just a waste of bandwidth as far as I’m concerned.

  • http://Lillicotch.com Jim L

    I was looking for a way to save money by dropping cable so I used a program called PlayOn.tv to watch streaming video on my TV through a DLNA box. It was quite enjoyable, but a bit clunky and the plug in scripts for bit torrent and other things changed all the time.

    I recently bought a dedicated netbook with an hdmi out and a wireless remote and now watch almost any program or movie (most with great quality) on my HDTV.

    Isn’t this what Google TV is supposed to do? I’m thinking TV’s will just integrate regular browsers and GTV probably won’t be needed anymore (Apple TV either)

  • http://www.medicinestore.in medicne

    it working live it is old recording

  • http://www.acceleratorforsuccess.com Bill Covert

    Let’s welcome the innovation that Google brings to television – it is a total natural. This is time to develop new ways of delivering information, entertainment and education into homes. This has me thinking of ways to get the Accelerator for Success system using the Dream Bar Cafe principles into a form that the mainstream public will absorb. Developers can see http://www.acceleratorforsuccess.com for the format. Very exciting indeed!

  • Stoney

    Google wants to track and keep all info it can. Why should I let it track me and my info so it can enrich billionaires who fly all around the earth destroying it by their carbon?

    Google wants to make bucks off info, let them pay for it, too.

    Google will fail, in search Bing It will take over, ‘google it’ is so last year.

    • Guest

      You’re so wrong man… you seem to be living on a cave for the last 10 years.
      Microsoft is not cool anymore. Wake up, the world is changing.
      If you don’t change with it you will be transformed into oil.

      And that way YOU will leave a big carbon footprint, not the “millionaire”,
      by the way many small businesses use adwords. Google works. Period.
      And is cool. Microsoft is old fashioned, slow and buggy.

      In the long run, all the innovators including Apple of course will lead the way.
      Intel is always top notch, always catching up, but watch for AMD. Its GPUs
      are dangerous in the eyes of the new computer revolution.

      They are making cold, slow machines for you to browse the web. While
      we’re loosing speed, we’re gaining portability and aesthethics.

      But the GPUs are going to ruin the day in the long run for the CPU.
      Classic computing is going to be over. Instead virtual neural networks
      will take its place. However CPU + GPU is a perfect marriage.

      Watch out for AMD buying ATI… Intel got scared, but wait… Intel now has a GPU.
      Thanks god ;-)

  • http://www.worldtravelingartist.com/about Alexander

    When Jobs starts panicking, it means Google is really gonna do that.

  • http://www.lamberto.com Lamberto

    I’ve been telling my wife that if the Google and the YouTube partnered up on a television format, the whole industry will change for the best. I mean, how many times have you been waiting for a “news” segment that you wanted to see, like for instance, an earthquake in any region of the world, and instead all news networks are covering the same news item… over and over again.

    We need to have the same ability to do a search, as we do in the internet, for that specific news item, right in our own televisions. When the video stream becomes as fine as HD, for any web content, people will gladly pay for whatever we need to see this happen. This was bound to happen, and if you think the newspaper industry fall was bloody, this new change will completely kill the news format as we see it now… and it will be even faster than the newspaper industry fall. Go Google TV!! It’s a needed change for sure

  • http://www.simplify.co.in Simplify

    Well, I think as all other google ventures, this will also be a successful hit… I Love GOOGLE…

  • http://www.horse-and-carriage-hire.co.uk/ Steve Asian Wedding Horses

    Hi ACH. I already watch all the free to view Channels on my Laptop. Cost $45.00 from www.maplin.co.uk
    Hope that helps you

  • http://www.merlinsltd.com Guest

    I am looking forward to Google tv i really can not see it failing.

  • http://www.signature.eu.com Steve @ web marketing Kent

    Marketing challenge and can’t see it taking off without hardware manufacturers getting behind it. If they licence the technology then equipment manufacturers would lose any exclusivity and would be less incentivised to subsidise the sets. It’s a good idea, perhaps a bit too early to shout about it though

  • Guest

    Google is great by leading the world of innovations. Nice job! I think they are also going to create lots of opportunities for web designers, marketing companies, hardware manufacturers, software developers, etc. This will infact increase the internet audience which by the end of the day will lead to a broader audience and broader market.

    Just as Google Earth was a revolution on its time, and still is in many wait unexploited, Google TV is going to take the world by surprise. Even in old CRT TV sets they are going to love it.

    Think about it, who wants to be on a chair all the day if you can be on your living room in your sofa?
    Who wants a small netbook anyway with a charger and a heavy mouse if you can have your TV which is all day on… think about it.

    This is a revolution for the TV which not anymore can be called the idiot box.

    I’m Pablo Zacheo from Uruguay so excuse my english mistakes.

  • http://laugh-your-heart-out.blogspot.com/ Bill

    Its too soon to tell actually. I think it’ll soar and not fail miserably.

  • http://www.crearecommunications.co.uk Tom Nolan

    I think i would agree with Steve Jobs as i also believe unless Google TV has a serious gimmick or offers a major technological stride forward it will struggle because know one is prepared to pay for a set top box! Then again if they can in the future offer it in the PlayStation etc and throw enough money it may just take off!

  • http://www.semsolutions.co.uk Simon Mohr

    I live in the UK and happen to have a poor signal on my TV so I now watch most TV (including films & DVDs) on my Laptop. We’ve got www.tvcatchup.com already. What is Google doing that is so different from this?

  • http://www.briongloid.net/blog Briongloid

    Apple trying to even suggest that it belongs in the same industry, let alone league, as Google is pretty ridiculous imo. Unlike Google, whose services have enormous mass appeal, Apple just make toys and novelties – iMacs, iPods, iPads, iPhones – that generally appeal to a specific market; namely people who think that owning an Apple product makes them somehow more hip than, for example, someone with a Windows PC or a Blackberry. In other words Apple are today, what Nike sneakers were in the 1980s.

    If Apple made their own version of Google TV you could rest assured that it was cost three times as much and developers would not be free to develop apps for it without getting the blessing of the Apple gods first. And pretty much every service would cost extra. In short, it would be a disaster.

    Whereas Google will simply bring the enormous customer base and goodwill it already enjoys and combine it with that of its partners, particularly Sony, one of the largest consumer electronics firms on the planet.

    In fact, one idea put forth in this article I never even considered, is that of merging this technology with Playstation. I’m now imagining the next generation PS as a Google TV enabled device combined with games console and 3D Bluray player. Such a system would torpedo the Xbox and Wii right out of the water and would in fact bring us even closer than ever to the original Nintendo concept of having, not merely a games console, but a full family entertainment centre.

  • http://www.matweller.com Mat Weller

    First, Sony, don’t build GoogleTV or anything else into your TVs. People want better picture and inputs. Stuff that’s built-in never gets used and usually gets overridden by cable functions. It’s not added value, it’s useless. [tangent] And while I’m at it, Sony please back off on the 3D TV thing. It seems apparent that the only people excited about it are electronics show attendees that think it’s a cool novelty. Everyone else I’ve heard comment on it is either blas

  • http://www.moon1.tv Moon One

    I guess Google Tv is a good idea.

    More and more people pass time on front the computer than the Tv due the fact they can pick up what they want in the time they wish. they aren’t clued anymore into shedules.

    As many of persons looking Tv on their computer (some search, VLC plugins and it’s all done you have your fav channels on your computer for free)

    Sharing and exposure of ourself is in the time too through socialwebsites, blogs….
    So i guess well used and well done all those things can mix together as we are allways linked now to the entire world through our computers and cellphone..
    The TV was missing now it’s done, future gonna say but it’s just an extend of what’s going on actually.

    We are developing our WebTV ( http://www.moon1.tv ) in this way and it’s working pretty well so we are keeping an eye too on the TV development, i’m sure it’s gonna be interesting.

  • http://www.generatorland.com MikeR

    I think TV viewers are ready for a shift. Enough people are using Hulu, DVRs, iTunes, etc. to gather and watch their TV that TV shows have truly become a commodity. Networks are dead. If Google can simplify and unify the experience on a real TV then it should succeed.

    As a Google Advertiser I look forward to the opportunities.

  • http://www.siskiyouwebdesign.com Siskiyou Web Design

    My PC is connected to my TV, but because I chose not to have cable or satellite. I love the FREE content and I am really not interested in paying for something that I can get for FREE, especially with as little TV as we watch.

  • http://twitter.com/cartridgesink Lisa

    I don’t think Google TV will fail, becz google is a search giant and has also can reach via net to any extent. Also GTV would be great as it would be something new which was not there earlier.

    I feel the Search Engines will enter the TV Market.

  • http://quintessens.wordpress.com Patrick Kwinten

    i have a WD live player which allows to watch Youtube from my couch. I am just eager for more ‘programs’ or channels on my TV…

  • http://www.tomasitransfer.com Tom

    Hi people!

    When Google tries doing something new and then I hear all the doomsayers come out of woodworks to say,”No, it won’t work” I always wonder which world they live in!!!!

    Google has proved, again and again, that they can take on a new, untested and unimaginable concept and made it work such that a few months or year later, people ask, “How did we use to cope without this”.

    So when you think of TV, a concept that has been around for ages, and Google technological know-how and depth, you wonder where the sceptics are coming from!

    Do have a brilliant day!

    Mombasa Kenya

  • http://www.ad-rs.com nik381

    Yes it would be a great if google’s youtube, and other web video services become available on classic tv and mentioned box sets won’t be an issue for consumers if they could provide wimax or other wireless internet as there is huge demand for internet infrastructure in countries in development and commonly.
    And also it could be great advantage if those web tv could have multiple languages translation.
    Go google tv!

  • Reader

    If something goes wrong people will want customer service. Unfortunately Google’s idea of customer service is to have people post to a “something is broken” thread on a forum and wait until a surly and rude volunteer condescends to send you a snotty reply telling you to follow a link to a post on his website which doesn’t really address the specific issue you raised.

  • http://www.site-o-rific.com/contractor_website.html Site O Rific – contractor websites

    I do not watch TV programming, I find it mind numbingly stupid, but I can see why this is the holly grail for a search engine that needs to serve ads for revenue. People are sitting in front of their TVs away from their computers a lot of the time.

    What does it mean for say, a electrical contractor trying to reach his/ her local market? That gets interesting to think about. It seems that advertising would be re-localized.

  • http://www.orkutscraps.in orkut scraps

    I’m hopeful but skeptical about this project. Didn’t Apple try something similar to this with their AppleTV box? I know that was to get content from the computer to the TV and not the other way around, but it was still a spectacular failure. Something tells me most people still prefer to keep their television and computer experiences somewhat segregated

  • http://www.patantconsult.com Carla Lendor

    The evidence suggests that viewers are reluctant to purchase additional boxes so Google faces a difficult task. Tv viewers are already bombarded with commercials so why should they want to subscibe to such a channel. Franky, I hardly switch to any programming with lots of commercials because it takes away from the product. Unless Google offers something over the top I see this as a failed project. Frankly I love my tv commercial free no matter how good the programs are.

  • Sarah

    As a DISH employee, I do not believe that the GOOGLE TV will fail at all! I have a GOOGLE TV and I wouldn’t ask for anything better. My daughter learns a lot on the web(nothing bad) and I can watch everything she does. I mainly focus on her educational learning on the web, word games, number games, even history. I can check all my emails, chat, and most of all relax! I love the GOOGLE TV.

  • TechGal

    I was also following this with excitement as various companies battled to have the technology to stream this first. I personally choose to go with the Logitech Revue that I got through working at Dish Network and have had a chance to play around with it before settling. I am really happy with my decision simply because it IS a powerful tool that is so multi-functional. I have the pleasure of traveling a lot on business, so I don’t have a huge amount of time when I’m home. Using the integration technology I can research my destination for example, getting all the historical elements together and of course local hangouts while watching my TV programs and scheduling DVR events all on my big screen and all at the same time. This is a big thing for me as it has made life easier but also more fun. This product will flood the industry being available for so many people with so many different reasons to have it!

    • Chris Crum

      Either way, the competition in this space is only going to get more interesting, and businesses should benefit simply by increased Internet usage from the television.

  • Guest

    I think I know what will happen. Google will invest tons of money and advertising to convince us why we should start using Google TV. Then they’ll wait for everyone’s reaction so they can assess whether or not they should keep investing money in this new venture. Meanwhile, people will be waiting for Google to blow their minds with the new features, content, and whatever else Google will have promised them in their attempt to lure them in. Google will panic after they realize they don’t have anything new, innovative, or entertaining to offer besides hype and advertising (and yet another platform). In the end, Google will have made a quick fortune (though merely another day’s food supply in their eyes) and will redirect everyone’s attention back to the latest Google Search feature, that automatically takes your search query out of your brain, and puts it into the search field, though the results will still be the same. Rinse and Repeat.

    Excellent Comments from the previous posters too btw, man, people are paying attention!

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