by Richard Kastelein
Ever since the New York Times launched word that Google TV will likely become a reality last week, the concept of convergent media has suddenly become a mass meme rather than a tech meme… and probably done more good for IPTV and the blossoming worlds of Social TV, tCommerce, TV Widgets, TV recommendation engines, TV Everywhere, TV 2.0, and opt-in TV advertising than any single event in this emerging landscape.
The TV deal between Google, Sony, Logitech and Intel which flooded the media zeitgeist last week was a perfect riposte to the other news that Facebook topped Google for the week ending March 13th with 7.07 per cent of all Internet traffic for that week, while Google.com got 7.03 per cent.
Sony looks set to rollout new Intel ‘chipped’ TV sets, while Google will make available set-top-boxes (STB)’s – and both will be powered by tiny keyboards built by Logitech. Makes perfect sense.
And what punter would not want an affordable Google Set Top Box (STB) with new cool Logitech remote that does stuff, so he can search his TV and do other cool things? Or just buy a new Sony LCD wall screen that does the same thing – sans the STB?
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Probably the most exciting news for me is the fact that the New TV platform will be based on Android, and will remain Open Source. That means all code will be transparent, available and open to change and suggestions and managed by a core team… unlike the iPhone, Facebook and Yahoo Connected TV developer communities which offer a slice of code to allow developers to develop applications via Application Programming Interface (API)’s or Software Development Kit (SDK)’s.
Bear in mind, any external or 3rd party development has to meet stringent standards for the TV market.
There are some rumours that the platform may have Chrome browser capabilities and even rumblings of a deal with Hulu in the future.
And the major global TV networks and media centers of power? Look for their already crumbling influence to be even more diminished. TV, which has been the mainstream media's core tool to for swaying us to one or another of their movies, music stars, books, politicians, brands and whatever they get paid to make us like, will be in decline. And, to perhaps the chagrin of a few parties, the TV will continue to democratize and will follow the web with many to many rather than one to many. Publically owned broadcasters listed on the NYSE are in, what seems to be, a never-ending spiral of contraction, which is disastrous for shareholders.
Google is obviously more known for its search technology than their weaker portfolio of social media products (Wave, Orkut, and more recently Buzz in Gmail), and undoubtedly, most consumers that are now mulling over the idea of Google on their TV are enticed by the idea that perhaps it will become much easier to wade through the ever-increasing number of channels available … perhaps Google will offer a search engine like they do online? Or maybe even a better organizational structure – a directory of sorts?
Searchable TV is why Google is currently testing its technology with Dish Networks… and probably why they will be the future of the Electronic Program Guide (EPG).
Some analysts are skeptical about Google’s latest plan to expand; noting their previous attempts to enter the TV, radio, and print advertising markets were all dismal failures.
However, I disagree. And here’s why.
Try out another scenario… one which no one else could do in this space. No one.
Google is currently allowing advertisers to use their innovative and very fresh Google TV advertising platform to launch TV ad spots in US cable markets.
Google TV Ads is an online marketplace that makes it easy for anyone to buy and measure national cable television advertising. Using the familiar Adwords interface, you can launch a television campaign in minutes.
This means, in Google’s new ubiquitous, massive TV realm, I could simply buy time slots or even permanent space on for programs or channels in the future of Google TV.
Why two? Time slots for more linear TV experiences such as a classic 30 second spot, using an ‘old school’ non- elective, interruptive, advertising model.
I could buy elective (opt in and opt out) landscape around particular program for TV Widgets for shows or even entire channels. It might be a custom widget built in Android or could even be some kind of Chrome extension. It could be Contextual Advertising based on the show’s content, it could be Behavioral Targeting based on the viewer’s preferences and habits, it could be Location Based Advertising (LBA), based on the viewer’s lat and long via IP, or it could be Experience Marketing (full fledged TV experiences).
I think this is what Google has in mind. And I for one… think it’s going to work.
Richard Kastelein is the Winner of 2010 Deloitte Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions for Entrepreneurs in the Netherlands for his futurist views on Social TV and Media Convergence (Tech Visionary) and is a Guest Lecturer at Hanze University in Groningen, Netherlands. He's a Canadian C-level strategist with start-ups on a number of continents and has strong skills in Social Media and Social TV Architecture and Analysis - Community building using Open Source technology. New Media publishing and on-demand technologies. Open Source Evangelist. Innovator. Creative. See more on Linkedin.
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