10 Web Services We Want to See in Google TV
10 Web Services We Want to See in Google TV
By Don Reisinger
Apple has done everything it can to block Boxee. That's unfortunate. Boxee is a free entertainment platform that delivers top Web content to set-top boxes or a user's computer. If the Google TV has Boxee, it will already be a step ahead of the competition. And if Google, unlike Apple, is serious about taking control of the set-top box market, Boxee will need to be part of its strategy.
2. Google Search
If the Google TV is coming, it better feature Google Search. Although the device would be connected to a television, consumers are looking for products that perform more than one task. They don't just want the Google TV to deliver entertainment value, they also want it to be functional. To achieve that goal, Google must offer its general purpose search service.
Pandora is one of the best online-music destinations. The music service allows users to create stations based on artists, songs, or genre and it plays similar tracks based on those picks. Pandora currently enjoys one of the largest followings in the online-music space thanks to all the high-quality tracks it has available on the service. It's a must-have for the Google TV.
4. Amazon MP3 Store
Since Google doesn't have an iTunes counterpart, the company will need to piece together some entertainment options for Google TV. It can start by offering the Amazon MP3 Store for users that want to download music to the device's built-in hard drive. Although there are several download stores out there, Amazon is Google's partner on Android. Plus, it offers a fine alternative to iTunes. If Google is going to be serious about the Google TV, Amazon's MP3 Store must be in there.
5. Amazon Video On Demand
Amazon's Video On Demand is an important addition to the Google TV. The service, which offers movies and television shows, delivers content directly to the person's computer, TiVo, set-top box, or wherever else they can access it. The offering only requires an Amazon account. Google doesn't have a video service of its own that would allow users to rent or buy films and television shows. If it's partnering with Amazon on its MP3 Store, it should also partner with the Web retailer on its Video On Demand service.
6. Google Reader
Google Reader might not seem like an obvious choice in the Google TV, but it's decidedly a must-have. Google Reader would allow users to keep up on all the sites that they typically follow on a daily basis. Google Reader reminds me of a service that folks use when they get home from work and want to see what they missed during the day. They boot up their PC, go to Google Reader, and check out all the sites they subscribe to. But if they had the option to do that on the couch in front of their TV, I think they would like that even better.
The Google TV should be more than an entertainment device. Realizing that, it needs to run Google's Chrome browser. What better way to view Web content than on a nice, big television? I've had a computer set up on my television for the past year and loved every minute of it. Rather than get up and view content on my computer, I can switch to another input on my HDTV and check out any site right from my couch. Of course, Chrome on the Google TV would require a mouse and keyboard, but who cares? If it comes with Bluetooth, users can easily connect those peripherals to the product wirelessly.
Hulu is one of the better online video services. The site boasts content from several major networks, including NBC and Fox. Even better, it's all ad-supported, which means visitors can access the site's content for free. It seems like an ideal choice for the Google TV. Rather than pay for content on Amazon's service, maybe some folks would rather stream television shows from Hulu. The more options available to Google TV owners, the better.
9. Google Docs
Google Docs should be made available on the Google TV. Yes, it's online productivity suite, but it could add some real value to the Google TV. Users might want a solution that would allow them to view documents, spreadsheets, or other content. If so, Google Docs is the way to go. If the reports are correct, Google wants to put basic computing functions into Google TV. It can't achieve that goal without Google Docs.
10. Go Social
Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, MySpace, and several other social networks should find their way to the Google TV. The industry is becoming more and more social. If the Google TV doesn't offer some social networking, it likely won't appeal to users as much as Google would like. Those social networks could be accessible through the device's Chrome browser, but native social apps running on the Google TV out of the box would be preferable. Ease of use is important in a set-top box.