Just a week after Apple’s Steve Jobs unveiled his miniaturised version of Apple TV, Google has stepped up to announce Google TV will launch in the US this autumn and around the rest of the world next year.
For many people the holy grail of TV/Computer convergence is now in sight, while Apple and Google can look forward to battling for chunks of the £117 billion world advertising market.
According to Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, Google TV will allow full internet browsing via the TV free of charge and that he will be looking to sign up as many top content producers as possible.
The question is, of course, how easy will it be to use. Most non-geeks have now come to terms with modern TVs and hard-drive recorders but the intricacies of computers still bring many out in a cold sweat.
How much brand love will remain if the viewer’s favourite show suddenly crashes and the screen is filled with meaningless symbols and numbers just as the family has settled down for the evening’s viewing?
And Google’s own guide for developers has the ominous statement: “all input devices for Google TV will have querty keyboards but users need interactions that are fast and easy to do — at a distance, with one hand, in the dark.”
Sounds like the helplines could be in complete meltdown once the consumers turn on the new smart device.