In move that will shock very few people, it appears that Google is getting ready to put the kibosh on its Google TV brand.
According to a report by GigaOm, Google will let the Google TV brand sunset. This doesn't mean Mountain View has lost interest in your living room, but the company may be re-thinking its way there.
The three-year old Android-based Google TV brand has failed to catch fire with consumers and content partners. However, the company will still continue to pursue Android as an underpinning for TV. According to the report, Google has already begun referring to the newest incarnation of its TV offering as "Android TV" in recent talks with electronics manufacturers.
Dead in its infancy
The industry shift away from the Google TV brand has been on full display for a while now. For example, Sony's smart-TV dongle, the Bravia Smart Stick provides access to a bounty of Google goodies that include Chrome, Google Play, and YouTube in addition to several popular third-party streaming apps. One thing missing from the Smart Stick? The Google TV name. For its part, Sony has branded the dongle as the "Bravia Smart Stick with Google Services." Catchy, no?
A few weeks back, Google cancelled a Google TV Developer conference in Seoul two days before it was slated to take place due to "unforeseen external circumstances" and has yet to announce a rescheduled date.
Mountain View's own loss of interest in Google TV was probably most apparent with the introduction of Chromecast. The smash hit $35 TV dongle allows users to stream content directly from the Web to their TV using their computer or mobile device as a controller.
Chromecast offers much of the same smart TV functionality as Google TV, but noticeably failed to incorporate the Google TV brand name. At the time, Google swore that the two systems could exist simultaneously (Ha!), and that Google TV would even soon integrate Chromecast's "Cast" feature.
In its brief time on the market, Chromecast has even gone on to eclipse Google TV's offerings with the integration of an official Hulu Plus app. Hulu was one of the many prized content providers who refused to play nicely with Google TV. It has been reported that Chromecast will soon get its hands on an official HBO GO app, a valuable content asset missing from Google TV that has been included in other leading streaming services.
Another sad note: The official Google TV blog had only had two entries in 2013, the last one being a June 4 announcement that Redbox Instant was now available on Google TV. Unfortunately, it appears that even the power of Redbox Instant was not enough to save Google TV.
There is no word on when Google TV will make the transition into Android TV, or what the new product will entail. Hopefully we will find out more at next week's Google Launchpad event where Android Kit Kat is rumored to make its debut. Whatever Page and company have in store, you can be assured that Google has not taken its eyes off the big screen at the center of your digital life.