To understand Google’s new take on smart TVs, it’s worth considering how consumers experience apps on smart TVs and connected devices today. On most devices, app makers have autonomy (for the most part) over how their apps look, with the result being that Netflix’s app looks very different from YouTube’s, and the Hulu Plus app only bears some vague resemblance to the HBO Go app.
I’ve been told that Google’s new approach wants to do away with those differences by replacing these custom interfaces with standardized templates. Publishers wouldn’t need to come up with their own user interface, but instead would develop apps that provide data feeds to the Android TV platform…
But the biggest advantage is that it gives Google access to information about the content offered within each app. Google has long pushed to break open apps and make their content searchable. The company recently introduced in-app search for Android, giving consumers a way to find content from apps installed on their phone through mobile search, and this new app model would help to build smarter universal search for the TV as well.
It’s hard to read this as anything other than a confirmation of my assertion that Android TV primarily exists because Google needs it to exist. As the GigaOM article notes, it’s doubtful that content owners will be thrilled about this, just like they weren’t thrilled about Google’s first attempt at TV. I’m not sure how this turns out any differently.