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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Google TV Finally Gets Upgrade

Google TV has been out of the spotlight for quite some time, but there is finally word that the platform will be making a major upgrade to Android 3.1. Plus, Google is planning to shift focus to more content-discovery features in this upgrade.

Google is aiming to complement traditional television with their new and improved Google TV. Vice president of product management Mario Queiroz and director of engineering Vincent Dureau both express in a blog post Friday that the preliminary Google TV had its flaws but was a learning opportunity for the company.

Released back in March 20, 2010, the early versions of Google TV was not received well by users. At a glance, the upgrade seems to address a lot of the areas people were concerned with. Besides introducing a cleaner interface, the new version will also open up access to the Android Market. Although the number of apps available will be limited at first, this means users will be able to download them directly to their TV. Queiroz and Dureau are already promising that 50 developers are filling the Market with apps already.

As far as content-discovery goes, the two are ensuring that the newly revamped interface will make it much easier for users to find live content, Netflix, and HBO GO, to name a few. YouTube, for instance, will have a channel feature where it begins playing related videos once you enter a search term. Other content-discovery features have not been revealed yet. Over 800,000 movies and TV shows will be made available, they say.

However, there is still no news about being able to watch online content from sites like ABC or NBC, both of which blocked Google's access back in October last year. Without access to the web-based content, it's up to the apps and content-discovery function to determine if Google TV may be able to compete with an expected new Apple TV.

Google TV's upgrade is due on Sony Internet TVs either around Sunday or next week sometime (sources are unclear) and on Logitech Revue TVs shortly after that. We may also see it on Samsung and Vizio sets, but those are still unconfirmed as of now.

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