Chromecast announcement doesn't kill Google TV, swears Google

The launch of the already popular Chromecast doesn't signal that Google will kill Google TV, the search giant said.

If Google TV was on life support before Chromecast arrived, the new media streaming device isn't prompting a pull of the plug — at least according to Google.

"With the exciting news about Chromecast we are getting a lot of questions mostly wondering if Google TV is dead," read a post on Google+ from the Google TV Developers.

"No, in fact partners are continuing to launch new Google TV-enabled HDTVs and boxes," the post said, reiterating that "the latest experience of Android and Chrome" is coming to more devices later this year. "We believe there is ample room for both products to exist and succeed," the post said.

Another post from Google TV employee Warren Rehman says that Google TV will get the Chromecast's "Cast" feature, which allows users to beam music and video from phones, tablets, and laptops to their televisions. (Even before the launch of Chromecast, this feature was already available for YouTube on Google TV.)

To top it all off, Sundar Pichai, Google's head of Android and Chrome, told CNet that Google TV is "moving forward in a major way," and that more partners will be announced at CES in January.

In other words, Google is pretty adamant that Google TV is sticking around.

History

Google TV does have a much broader scope than Chromecast, as it combines Internet video and traditional cable programming into a single, searchable interface. Chromecast, by comparison, is much more limited. For now, it can only stream Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play from phones and tablets. It can mirror any browser tab as well, but only from laptops and desktop PCs, and that feature is a work in progress.

Still, Google hasn't been able to convince the masses that a single interface for all of their television viewing is something that they need. Google TV is almost three years old, but has never been a commercial success.

One of Google's original partners, Logitech, abandoned the platform after the flop of its first and only product, the Logitech Revue. Other partners, including LG, Sony, and Vizio have offered Google TV in set-top boxes and televisions, but they continue to offer their own connected TV platforms as well. A claim by Google chairman Eric Schmidt that most televisions would use Google TV by mid-2012 has not panned out.

Meanwhile, Chromecast is already stirring up lots of demand. Amazon appears to have sold out of its stock, and the Google Play Store now lists a wait time of three to four weeks. Best Buy offers the dongle for in-store pick up, but has sold out of its online stock.

Chromecast's scope will only increase from here. Developers can build casting into their apps, which should be a lot easier than building an entirely separate app for Google TV. Google is also trying to build its own online TV service, and it's hard to imagine Chromecast not being a part of that.

As for TV integration, TV makers may decide they'd rather keep building their own Smart TV platforms instead of using Google TV, but include Cast features into their sets as an additional feature.

Although Google TV isn't dead, it now faces some serious competition from within the Googleplex. Google may claim that both products can co-exist, but it seems like just a matter of time until one gives way to the other.

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Jared Newman

TechHive (US)
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