Yesterday, Google released Chromecast, a $35, three-inch dongle that plugs into your TV, and streams video or music from your smartphone.
The Chromecast was the just latest of Google’s many attempts to crack the big-screen TV market. Previously, Google tried Google TV, which was a box that plugged into your cable box and added a layer of Google software over your cable.
Google TV was a flop, despite a lot of hype from the company. In 2011, for instance, chairman Eric Schmidt said, “By the summer of 2012, the majority of the televisions you see in stores will have Google TV embedded.” (That didn’t even come close to happening.)
The reason Google TV flopped is that it was complicated and didn’t add much to the TV experience.
The Chromecast appears to be an attempt simplify Google TV. The Chromecast dongle is a conduit for content from your phone, or Chrome browser. It wirelessly transmits video played on the phone on the TV through the Chromecast.
So, is Google done with Google TV?
Sundar Pichai, the executive that leads Android and Chrome at Google, says no.
It actually sounds like Pichai has plans to double down on Google TV. In an interview with All Things D, Pichai says Google is planning to announce new partners for Google TV at the big industry trade show, CES.
He says Google TV, which runs on Android, can provide a richer experience. He also says it’s better for gaming than a Chromecast.
If we had to guess, we’d say Google is going to take another stab at Google TV this fall, redesigning the software and hardware. The new version will be out next year and will try once again to use Android as an asset to great a gaming/video streaming console.
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