Google TV stresses its search and recommendation acumen

At today’s FierceVideo Stream TV Show, Google’s VP and GM of TV Platforms Shalini Govil-Pai was asked why Google created Google TV when it already had good brand recognition with Android TV.

Govil-Pai said the company wanted to tap the Google name because people associate it with Google’s mission of bringing universal access to information.

“Google TV is built on Android TV,” said Govil-Pai. “Android TV continues to be our operating system across all our different devices. The experience that we bring with Google TV is much more aligned with Google as a whole. The Google TV term came because it is so aligned with the Google mission — in terms of personalized recommendations, in terms of search and discovery, in terms of the integration of the world’s content at your fingertips.”

Users will find the same applications on Google TV as they’re accustomed to on Android TV. But the company wants to accentuate its service as a unified platform for search and discovery across most streaming services.

Google initially unveiled Google TV and a new Chromecast streaming device in September 2020. Chromecast is a dongle that connects to a TV's HDMI port to add Google TV as an option to smart TVs.

Google TV and operators

Govil-Pai said Google TV reaches consumers in two different ways.  One is via retail where consumers can go to stores like Best Buy or they can go online and buy Chromecast or various smart TVs to access the service. And the second way Google TV reaches consumers is through operators, such as cable companies.

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Today’s interviewer, analyst Rich Greenfield from LightShed Partners, said that in many places in the world Google TV/Android TV is well-integrated with cable companies, but “that really hasn’t happened in the U.S.”

Govil-Pai noted that some operators in the U.S. have adopted the Android TV operating system, including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in the past few years. 

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She said the reason Google TV has an “operator tier” is because “a lot of operators have an existing business that’s based off on an offering on TV that clearly they want to be making sure that their customers are buying. That kind of comes front and center. That’s why the user experience has always been a little bit more dynamic for that tier of partners.”

Finally, Govil-Pai confirmed that TCL is one of the biggest OEMs that embeds the Android TV operating system, along with Sony.

“TCL did launch with Android TV last year,” she said. “And this year very soon, they’ll launch with Google TV. In fact, I think it’s going to happen in the next month or two. So we’re very excited to bring that choice to our existing TCL users.”