Google TV not ready for prime time

The company is finding that a television service with multiple hardware partners is not easy to develop.

By Kim Peterson Dec 21, 2010 2:38PM
Blank TV © Digital Vision Ltd./SuperStockIt's really difficult to roll out a television service. Ask Apple (AAPL), which has worked on Apple TV for years. Or TiVo (TIVO), which has rolled with about every punch out there.

Google (GOOG) is now seeing just how tough the TV landscape is. Its much-anticipated Google TV was supposed to get a glitzy launch next month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Now Google is delaying the launch to improve the software, which people aren't crazy about, The New York Times reports. The company is telling TV makers to hold off on any introductions.  

The problems come on the heels of other delays. Google's new ChromeOS software missed this year's laptop lineup, and its Android platform wasn't able debut on a tablet in time for Christmas.

None of these delays are a big deal; they happen all the time for device makers. But they highlight the realities of a new world for Google, a company used to doing what it wants -- on its own terms -- in the digital realm. When you bring hardware partners into the mix, things get much more complicated.

"Google as a company is not a particularly partner-friendly or partner-focused company," a Forrester analyst told the Times. Post continues after video:
Back to Google TV, which aims to bring the Web experience to the television screen. Its ambitions are big: Search the Web and your TV while you watch programs. View photos. Play games. Chat with your friends. Get new apps made just for the TV. And use your iPhone as a remote control.

The reviewers haven't been impressed. Engadget says "Google TV feels like an incomplete jumble of good ideas only half-realized, an unoptimized box of possibility that suffers under the weight of its own ambition and seemingly rushed holiday deadline."

Now, at least, the holiday deadline is off the table. And with a choppy version 1.0 out the door, Google can take some time and develop the television platform it wants -- with the partners there to support it.

It may take another year, but Google TV now has some breathing room and can shake off that "not ready for prime time" reputation.

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