Google TV: Worth a Second Look

Why Google TV may be more than it seems.

An Examination

Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, Google throws you a curve ball. A new product, algorithm shifts, mobile phones -- Google’s progress is rapid and goes in unexpected directions. A foray into TV marks the latest addition to the rapidly growing arsenal. The purported features of Google TV support the characteristics Google has built their reputation on: relevancy, speed, and integration. With two options, an entirely new unit or a boxtop set, Google TV allows customers to watch TV while simultaneously using the internet.

While not exactly a revolutionary concept, Google promises to be fully integrated, allowing users to browse the internet, stream movies instantly, and search for their favorite real time TV shows; aka regularly scheduled programming. Just as Smartphones integrated phones and the internet, Google TV promises the same ease of use in this internet-TV amalgamation. The only problem is, internet TV has tried before and failed, and those same stumbling blocks could fell Google’s effort.



It may be a little presumptuous to call Google arrogant, but if the shoe fits, well… Regardless of what adjective you choose to describe it, Google continues to accrue heavy hitting enemies. In addition to the ongoing Facebook confrontation, Google’s recent comments about Apple have not been particularly flattering. Using the word “draconian” and implying Apple is pursuing a monopoly with the iPhone, Google didn’t pull any punches and may have damaged future collaborations with the company.

One of the key aspects Google insists will allow its TV to succeed is full integration, and if Facebook and Apple choose not to integrate their popular products, Google could be misleading everyone to a degree. Without a social networking site to compete with Facebook, and considering the current lag in popularity of Android Smartphones compared to iPhones, Google may not be able to offer consumers the full assimilation they require.



Google’s main money maker is advertising revenue. AdWords+AdSense is also the tie that binds all of Google’s products together. Mobile and video ads were just the first suggestion of what Google had in store for Google TV advertising. With the ability to select target audiences by minutely defined demographics, program times, networks, and more, Google’s TV advertising platform allows unprecedented freedom to pinpoint select markets. At the same time, the familiar AdWords interface allows campaign managers to easily incorporate TV advertising without adapting to a new platform. Although there is not, as of yet, a definitive release date for the Google TV hardware, the early push for TV advertising serves as an indicator of Google’s real priorities: capitalize on TV’s abundant ad space. But, as we’ll discuss below, advertising revenue might not be Google’s only incentive.


Ulterior Motives

In strategy, if not in stature, Google is a technological Napolean. Although it seems clear that Google is invested in TV for future advertising dollars, this may be just a guise to conceal its true purpose. Round one (and maybe 2 and 3) of the mobile fight with Google has gone fairly definitively to Apple, as evidenced by Google’s abandonment of the Nexus One. Despite the money already being accrued by running ads for the iPhone interface, Google has its eye on dominating the market, and Google TV may offer the impetus needed to achieve their goal. Although Google has mentioned the issue only briefly, it has affirmed that Google TV will be controlled by, and able to sync with, Android dependent devices. One could infer from this statement that Google TV will NOT respond to other Smartphones or their respective apps. If this is the case, you can expect to see sales of Google mobile devices and Google Apps increase dramatically.

Also, Google TV offers a chance for Google to solidify its domination of search engine traffic. By requiring sites to optimize for display on Google TV, Google may be creating the opportunity for a new ranking system on the TV system, with possible impact on search engine rankings through penalties and quality score decreases for sites that don’t comply. Of course, this is all just hypothetical.



At first glance, Google TV seems to be a straightforward effort to increase advertising revenue by diversifying into TV. The integration of TV and internet, while dabbled in by different companies for years, has not yet yielded results of a magnitude that justify investment costs. Google’s previous failure at producing hardware and inexperience with TV suggest there may be alternative reasoning behind Google TV. The question remains, is Google TV a transparent money-making strategy or another step in a long-term plan for mobile domination?


About Brian Easter

As CEO, Easter has led NeboWeb to explosive growth, attracting Fortune 500 clients and driving strategic partnerships, which have fueled NeboWeb’s expansion. He is well known in the interactive marketing industry and frequently speaks about capturing the power and potential of online marketing.

Article Contributors included:

  • Emily McClendon, Interactive Marketing Specialist @ NeboWeb
  • Kimm Lincoln, Director, Search Engine Marketing @ NeboWeb
  • Chris Allison, SEO and Social Media Specialist @ NeboWeb
  • James Charlesworth, Senior SEO Specialist @ NeboWeb