This past Oct., Google launched its new Google TV product to much fanfare. First the Logitech Revue hit, and was followed up shortly thereafter by a line of Sony TVs with the software built-in. It looked like Google’s concept of full Internet connectivity, searching and Web browsing from your TV was well on its way to reality, but here we are, only three months since launch, and it already appears that the product may have a longer road ahead of it than first expected, and some might even think the concept is all but dead in the water.
The first signs of trouble for Google TV popped up mere weeks after launch when television networks decided to block the ability to stream programming to the Revue or Sony television sets. More and more sites piled on the hate, and now it appears that unless you want to watching something on Netflix Watch Instantly or Amazon Video on Demand, you just aren’t going to find a whole lot of TV shows or movies to watch. Even Hulu Plus, the subscription portion of the Hulu service, is blocked.
As we ramp up to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in just a few weeks, rumors have cropped up via The New York Times that Google has asked all manufacturing partners, other than Sony and Logitech, to not display their upcoming products that include Google TV at the event. This includes LG Electronics, Sharp and Toshiba, all of which were planning major announcements of television sets that would include the software from Google. For some reason Samsung is being allowed to debut two products, but there is no known reason as to why they got the pass.
Apparently pulling back the announcements from certain manufacturers is in reaction to the numerous negative reviews that have been published about the software interface, and Google wants some time to work on the product before they make any more product announcements. The problem is that missing CES could mean another year before Google TV is really out there in front of a critical mass of consumers. How long will manufacturing partners be willing to hold back products before they just decide that all of this isn’t worth the hassle.
Google is notorious for pushing products out into the wild and then working to fix them in a sort of “shoot first, ask questions later” style scenario. The problem is that consumers are not very forgiving in these tight economic times. Word of mouth is spreading about the lackluster performance of the Google TV, and no matter how much they improve it, first impressions linger on the Web for all time.
Despite all of the great products Google makes, they do occasionally miss the mark, and this is certainly beginning to sound like one of those times.
What say you? Has Google already flubbed the Google TV?