Google has announced changes to the TV Movies app that is an essential part of its Google TV devices. On a post at the Google TV blog, Greg Funk, a Google TV Product Manager, announced some new features that have been added to the app. What I took from the post is that Google is hoping to provide users with personalized television that will let customers know what they want to watch before they have even decided for themselves.
To this end, the new TV Movies app has a recommendation engine with a 5-star ratings system similar to the one Netflix uses. When users log into the updated app for the first time, they will be asked to login and rate a series of movies and TV shows. These ratings will most likely be combined with the new “favorites” system that allows users to mark movies, TV show, and even entire channels as a “favorite.” I have all the confidence in the world that Google can make a good recommendation algorithm, but they will have to work hard to know their users as well as Netflix does.
I’m a bit disappointed that Google TV hasn’t taken off. The ideas were there, but the execution and product launch were botched. For one thing, Google didn’t get enough developers on board for enough compelling apps to be available on the platform. Also, it failed to kowtow for permission to the powers-that-be in entertainment, and Google TV users ended up blocked from much of its promised content. Still, technology finds a way (hackers gonna hack) and the Google TV is still with us. It looks, from the screenshots Google has provided, that the platform is finally ready to compete with Roku and Apple.