Google TV, A Modern Spin of an Old Idea

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Do you like TV? Of course you do. How about the Internet? I know, stupid question.

So what could be better than surfing the Internet on your TV? Well here comes Google TV, the seemingly obvious fusion of two of America’s favorite information avenues (Or preoccupations depending on whom you ask). Of course, this is not an entirely new concept. Devices and services like WebTV have been offered in the past as subscription services. So how will Google change the game on Internet TV and make it truly huge? The key is information.

Your information to be exact. What you search for, what you shop for, what blogs you read, what news you seek out; your information is Google’s cash cow. If you don’t already know about the increasingly personalized services Google offers, and are unaware why they offer them, let me give you an inside look.

Here is the most basic. Do a Google search for recliners and you might notice a La-Z-Boy ad at the top of your search results. The portion of the search results where the La-Z-Boy ad is displayed is reserved for Pay Per Click ads. Pay Per Click ads are rather intuitive. The business that is responsible for running the ad will have to pay Google for every user’s click of their ad.
But here’s a more subtle example that most people are completely oblivious to. Next time you send an e-mail in Gmail or open an e-mail that has information unique to you, watch the ads being served in your Gmail window. You may be surprised to see that the ads served relate to the content contained in your email. Google knows by leveraging your interests and compiled search information, they will be able to serve more relevant ads that are specific to your interests. The better relevance ultimately results in more clicks and more money to line Google’s pockets.

It doesn’t stop there, Google has services like Google Health that allows you to gather your health information and medical records in one place, or Google Desktop, which allows you to search and index your computer. These are only a few of the many products offered by Google that give them access to your information.
Whether you consider Google’s trend towards personalization as a positive or negative is a matter of personal opinion. What isn’t an opinion, however, is that the concept of online privacy will become a hotly debated topic as the Internet continues to evolve? We are already beginning to see this development in the news. Recent changes to Facebook’s privacy policy created a vicious backlash amongst its users and sparked the interests of media outlets from around the world.

Regardless of the controversy, Google TV, and other services like it, are bound to open up new avenues for Google’s Adwords content network and how they leverage the information they track about your searches and interests. It would also open up much more information tracking about a given user’s personal habits. Are people more inclined to click Kleenex ads during Grey’s Anatomy? Who knows? Chances are, Google probably does.

Before you start thinking of how everyone is out to get you, think about the awesome features Google TV may bring. Google TV will apparently run on an Android operating system. Imagine being able to use your favorite apps on your TV or easily sending info back and forth from your TV and your Android phone using “swipe” technology. Another possibility may be the ability to watch the news and immediately browse for the truly up-to-the-minute reports on how BP continues to turn the Gulf into a free source of motor oil.

All of this is just scratching the surface of how awesome an experience this fusion can truly be in the hands of Google. With Sony and Logitech already onboard to ship TV’s, Blu Ray players, and Google TV-capable companion boxes to BestBuy this Fall, we should all be able to experience this for ourselves very soon.