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Google TV

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google tvLast week, we stayed at a vacation rental that had Google TV, so I was able to play around with it a bit. It’s basically TV+Web: you can surf the web or watch regular tv (how quaint) or watch something via Netflix or Amazon.

Although the current Google TV interface is slightly clunky, I think it offers an intriguing glimpse of the future. It already feels a bit old-fashioned to have a large screen in your living room that limits you to whats-on-tv-right-now — such wasted potential. I think the public will grow to expect screens of any kind (tv, desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, etc.) to deliver content on demand, whether it be traditional web content, traditional tv content, streaming video, etc. Google TV is a big step in the right direction, blurring the lines between traditional content delivery channels. Does anyone really care (assuming equivalent quality) if they’re watching The Wizard of Oz on CBS or Netflix or YouTube? I look forward to the elegant interfaces of the future (Google TV 2.0?) that simply deliver content and don’t necessarily need to tell me where it came from.

On a more web-designy note, I found the design considerations for Google TV’s “10-foot UI” surprisingly similar to those related to the mobile-web experience:

[T]he viewable area should display less information overall, and what’s there should focus on a confined set of tasks…    Fonts…and buttons…need to be larger…    [A]void a cluttered appearance…    Simplify…navigation…    Elements on the page should have large selection surfaces…

These sound like mobile design guidelines, but they’re straight from Google’s Designing For TV article. Hmm…it’s seems like the heyday of traditional desktop/laptop-centric design is over. It’s now mobile-first! TV-first! Uncluttered. User-friendly. Cool.

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