Google's attempt to conquer television has hit a new snag. The internet search giant has asked television manufacturers to delay rolling out the second wave of sets designed for its Google TV service while it refines the widely criticized software. The change in plans means the new system, which allows users to watch web video on their TV sets, will miss what was supposed to be its big coming-out party at next month's Consumer Electronics Show. Does this spell doom for Google TV?
This could be the beginning of the end: The withdrawal from the trade show is a good indication "that Google may have a stinker on its hands," says Andrew Wallenstein in paidContent. Google TV got such a dismal reception that Google's inaugural partners, Sony and Logitech, had to offer deep discounts weeks after their sets first hit stores. If viewers aren't ready for what Google's trying to do — the "merger of television and web-style browsing" — "all the fine-tuning in the world" won't save Google TV.
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Google is just working out the kinks: This "major overhaul" appears to be designed to silence the critics, says Janko Roettgers in GigaOm. "That's good," because the product "definitely needs a lot of improvements," and a little simplification will "go a long way toward making Google TV more user-friendly." But what the service really needs is a "killer app" to make it something viewers can't live without, the way Google Maps got people hooked on smartphones.
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Google TV can still be a long-term winner: There is no denying that "Google TV is a flop so far," says Dan Frommer in Business Insider. Consumers are skeptical, and the TV networks "hate it" enough to block their shows from being shown on the system. But this battle could take years. If Google can get manufacturers to accept its software as the "de facto operating system" for all TVs, set-top boxes, and video players — much like Android is for smartphones — it can still win, and rule "the digital living room."
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