It was clear from the day Google TV was revealed that the search giant had huge ambitions to bring the web to living room screens across the world. Google stood to make billions of dollars through both its partners and through TV advertising (a fulfillment of the Google Revenue Equation). You can’t say Google doesn’t dream big with its products.
At the time of its launch, we praised Google for its attempt to reshape the future of TV, but warned that it had to get things right the first time to succeed.
Here’s what Mashable said in May:
“As one of the Googlers said in the demo, one of the key aspects of television is that it “just works.” For connected TV to work — whether it be from Google or someone else — it has to be reliable, usable and consistent. I can deal with rebooting my computer if it starts acting weird. I don’t feel the same way about my television set. As it stands, I already curse my cable company provided HD-DVR box for being finicky and having performance issues; if I have to reboot my entire entertainment system because an Internet video gets out of control, I’m not going to be very happy. I also have no desire to have to play tech support for my family when the TV stops working.
Not having had any hands-on time with Google TV, I can’t speak for how well it works compared to the competition — but this is an area that Google needs to absolutely have at 100% at launch. Release early and often may work on the web, but users don’t want to have to troubleshoot their devices in the living room.”
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. Initial reviews have been lackluster, mostly because the OS feels like an unfinished piece of software. From the few times I’ve used it, it’s navigable but not intuitive. It’s usable but complicated.
In other words, they pushed an unfinished product out of the door, and now Google is scrambling to fix its TV product and save the project from implosion. A recent report claims that Google has asked its partners to hold off on launching Google TV devices at CES so that it can tweak the software. We’ve been hearing the same thing from our sources.