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

    June 8, 2010
    Chris Crum

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.



Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.