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10 Apps Google TV Needs Immediately

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Okay, so it’s no secret that I’m thrilled about the Google TV announcements from the I/O keynote. It’s finally going to become a real Android device. And since applications are the stuff OS dreams are made of, it’s only fitting to look at some of the apps that should land there first.

I know we’ll get the Market this summer, but having a few special GTV-optimized native apps would be sweet. I spotted a list from Silicon Alley Insider of the top 10 applications that Google TV ought to have right away, but it was a little confusing — some of those, like Netflix and Pandora, are already there. Still, it makes for an interesting jumping off point.

So here’s what I’d love to see on our GTVs. Nearly all of these are in the Android Market, so it shouldn’t be a hard transition, right?

Facebook: Well, duh. People like watching shows. And people like sharing. Why not offer an easy way for users to share what they’re watching?

Weather Channel: Local weather and forecasts at your fingertips. For some people this alone would justify the expense of the hardware.

Skype: An integrated voice, IM and vid chat client would be a huge win — especially if it doesn’t require a pricey TV cam, like the native vid application. I know, Skype‘s a Microsoft product now, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored, right? (Or at least give us Qik. We know you like those guys, at least.)

Key Google services: Gmail, Google Maps and Google Voice are important services for an awful lot of users. We can already log in and sync a Google Queue — shouldn’t we have native apps for these other important features?

Cable apps: CNN, HBO Go, WatchESPN Free are all available for Android devices. Sure, this might take some extra wheeling and dealing behind the scenes, but two of these are already in Google TV’s “Spotlight” section (at least the web gateways). Offering optimized full-fledged apps would be a great step forward.

Angry Birds: This is the game that’s taking everyone by storm. Leaving it out would seem like such an omission. Plus, it gives users a nice way to kill time before The Daily Show starts and lets them show off those pig-popping skills to the whole family.

And if the company’s willing to do that, it would be a nice bonus to also offer these two perks as well.

Gamefly: Gaming commercials are increasingly getting droolworthy, so it’s hard to ignore them when they land on our TV screens. Give users an easy way to add a hot new title to their rental accounts the moment an epic new ad plays and, well, it’s sure to please more than a few fans.

TapaTalk: Certain messageboards for TV shows are huge. (For example, Joss Whedon fans know this firsthand. They’re voracious forum addicts.) So it just seems natural to let ‘shippers and fan fic writers hit up their communities during or right after a show, without skipping a beat.

I know I didn’t put very many content-oriented apps in the list. First of all, Google TV already has Netflix and YouTube, and Google is hoping YouTube and Android Market movie rentals will take care of things for now. But really, the reason is that my fav apps — like Hulu, ABC Player and Xfinity — just aren’t available on Android yet. I’m hoping that will change as partnerships develop, but in the meantime, there are gateways to CNN, TNT and others online, as well as the ability to add vodcasts like David Pogue’s Circuits, TEDTalks and Chowhound.

And — in case you haven’t heard — Android Market is going to be busting out all over the GTV space. Hopefully, we’ll soon have more content than we know what to do with.

What apps or services would you love to see running native on Google TV? Let me know what your picks are below.


Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...

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