Five ways Google TV can kill Apple TV

Google could benefit both businesses and consumers after learning lessons from the disappointing Apple TV.

Recently I wrote about how the rumored Apple iTV could help your company with tools including easy videoconferencing and online video libraries. Then Steve Jobs unveiled his Apple TV product, which could do little more than a Roku box. Let's hope Google TV, which is actually more of a platform rather than just a box, doesn't do the same.

To make sure, here are some suggestions for how Google can gain more business users and consumers by offering more than the bare minimum of features.

1. Videoconferencing

Apple completely blew it by not adding the iOS to the Apple TV, which would have opened the product up to its desirable FaceTime application. Google, which delivered video chat and the recent Google Voice for Gmail, could easily integrate both for the new Google TV, creating cheap and easy videoconferencing among offices. Skype is already promising to bring video conferences to small- and medium-sized businesses, and beating it to the punch could be an easy win for Google.

2. Online Video Libraries

We all need someplace to store our old videotapes, DVDs, and other outdated media. Google should also give customers access to online data storage so businesses can digitize and keep them all in one place. No more scratches, no more boxes, and no more labels; it's all in one tidy spot. The online storage can also give companies incentive to create short informational video spots to show customers or to play as background in the lobby.

3. Android Market

While it's still unclear what OS Google TV will be using, so far Google is saying that Android apps will be available for use next year on Google TV. This is the bombshell that should have made Steve Jobs quake in his boots. This signals an integration of the operating systems, which means that managers can stream company videos to employee Android phones or devices, all of which makes Google TV a much more attractive proposition to a company and its IT department.

4. TV with Internet Capability Is Now a Must

Despite Steve Jobs stating that consumers "don't want a computer on their TV," many may see his dismissive comment as self-serving. With an increasing emphasis on digitizing all content, anything with a screen has to have more than one kind of capability. Who would have thought a decade ago that anyone would watch a feature-length film on their mobile phone, or would want to? Business customers, more than consumers, especially need any of their purchases to do double-duty to make fiscal sense. And with so many televisions already coming with Internet capability, there's no reason not to use a platform that will maximize it.

5. Innovation

Google, unlike Apple, is also looking to innovate in its new platform. Already Google has released an informational guide for would-be developers to create more applications specifically for Google TV. While many apps will probably be useless or purely for entertainment, there will likely be some useful programs for business consumers in the near future.

I have high hopes for Google TV, but as of yet, there hasn't been much official word on what the product will likely do and its commitment to the business market (although Google does seem to be targeting that market more with Google Apps). We do know that Google TV will be integrated into electronics, such as televisions and set-top boxes, but the price is still unknown. I hope it turns out to be the Internet-capable, app-laden television it should create, rather than a glorified TiVo nobody needs.

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More about: Apple, FaceTime, Google, Roku, Roku, Skype, TiVo, TiVo
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"To make sure, here are some suggestions for how Google can gain more business users and consumers by offering more than the bare minimum of features."
Google TV is not designed for businesses. Most of the arguments presented here are very lame.

"TV with Internet Capability Is Now a Must"
Hasn't succeeded so far. What makes you think this will work? What are the business reasons for this? I can see pulling up a bio on an actor while watching a movie might have a case, but not sure what you might want to do from a business perspective. Either way, watching telly with say an iPad or a mobile phone - android or whatever - for research is far more effective.

I fear you also neglect the power of AirPlay. Everything you own on your iPad you can send to the Apple TV. You should be able to present your keynote presentation to the Apple TV by streaming it to the TV with AirPlay. Now THAT is a business solution.

"Google, unlike Apple, is also looking to innovate in its new platform."
Ha. haha. hahahahahaha. Yes, like Apple don't ever do innovation. Hahahahahahaha.

"I have high hopes for Google TV, but as of yet, there hasn't been much official word on what the product will likely do and its commitment to the business market "
In other words let's make something up and rile the Apple users that aught to be good for a few hits.

Ken Berger


You miss the point of Apple TV - it can be a very simple to use way for the world to get streaming content to their TV. Much simpler than anything else I have seen.

And streaming content is only limited to the Apple TV's interface (that can be expanded with software updates) if you do not own a computer or iOS device. How about face time from your iOS device streaming to your big screen? Or games played on multiple iOS devices on your big screen or anything.

It is an accessory for Mac OS and iOS. People (like my mother) will be able to use it to watch content through iTunes or Netflix but my kids who already watch TV on their computers and iOS devices will use the streaming capabilities to show their content and apps and games on the big screen.

The UI for TV is not a keyboard!



I would just quote RattyUK's post. The Apple TV, nor Google TV are aimed at businesses, and as he suggests, Airplay basically does what you suggest, but it's more flexible an easier to select content.

I'm sure not video conferencing on the TV is really a big feature. It may sound cool, but I have a hunch most people would rather make it more personal using a iPhone. The camera would probably require more setup (zoom etc) making it harder to use.

A lot of TVs already have multiple inputs so you can already use them multiple ways. Hook up cable, a DVD player or game system. Most even have some sort of video connection aimed at computer systems so you can hook up a computer. Why make the Apple TV act like a computer when you can just hook a real one up? (Mac Mini?)

On another note, what exactly do you mean that TVs are coming with internet capability? If they already have it, why would anyone buy a Google TV or Apple TV? The point of both devices to connect your TV up to internet or your computer systems more easily.

I'm still not 100% sold on apps on the TV. Controlling it is tough and requiring an iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad is still probably going too far. Otherwise it would probably be apps to access data (weather/news?), but you can do that just as easily on the TV or iPhone and probably easier to read than text on the TV. Better to use it to play video content. I believe Apple is already working with a computer to produce chips compatible with Air Play. With that any device could stream content to the Apple TV, and I bet software for other devices is in the works. Why would android apps have them quaking in their boots? It looks like Apple will get integration with other OSs and users don't even have to install anything on Apple TV.

Please feel free to try again.

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