Time Plus News

Breaking News, Latest News, World News, Headlines and Videos

Google TV needs to get better, and it needs to do it now

Since the Google Play Movies & TV app’s discontinuation in late 2023, the heat has been on Google TV to fill the gap with a polished new app providing a quality service for enjoying movies and TV shows. As an up-to-date version of Android TV, Google TV is a decent hub platform for all your streaming services, whether you use an external Chromecast dongle or a Smart TV. However, there are some things the app could improve on, especially concerning presentation, convenience, and user agency.


What’s the difference between Google TV and Android TV?

The lowdown on Google’s two smart TV platforms

Check out our list of five things that need to change about Google TV to see for yourself how Google needs to improve its service.

1 Get rid of the excessive ads

They are ruining the experience

A problem that’s almost iconic of Google’s services at this point is the ads. Offering to eliminate commercials for a price like YouTube is one thing, but slowly and sneakily slipping in ads that are increasingly irrelevant to the user is too far when it comes to Google TV (and Android TV as well). It’s almost comical to consider how much Google has not learned its lesson from stuffing Android TV with ads, even despite the outcries that decision brought on. These unwanted intrusions can even display programming from streaming services that you haven’t installed or subscribed to — Google doesn’t even have the restraint to advertise only the services you actually use.

Google TV fullscreen ad on the homescreen for a fast food brand

Source: u/MMD3_ (Reddit)

These ads are hideously bold; they are often the first thing you see upon startup, complete with torturously long videos beating you over the head with unwanted products. Even worse, a lot of these Google TV ads are pushing physical goods, including phones, cars, and fast food. Nobody brought a Chromecast or invested in a brand-new smart TV so someone could shove a fat Carl’s Jr. logo under their nose. This is a perfect example of Google’s problem with tasteless advertisements, pulling us out of the TV experience with shameless distractions that do nothing but get in the way.

A full-scale reduction of ad content on the Google TV interface would be a step in the right direction. Google also needs to consider the context of the ads it is pushing, because shoehorning in ads for products with zero relevance to Google TV makes them more distracting and off-putting than ever, especially if you’ve shelled out hundreds of dollars for a new TV or streaming box.

2 Bring back customization

Give users the option to personalize their app hub

The lack of customization options on the Google TV dashboard is pretty glaring, especially since personalization options used to be so substantial on Android TV (it even still retains a few), the service to which Google TV is supposedly an upgrade. Looking at the two customization lists for each platform is like night and day, and it’s embarrassing how much has been cut for Google TV. Users lose out on the option to add, move, and remove channel rows, as well as the total omission of the watch’s next channel. Google has removed a bunch of useful dashboard features; it’s bad enough that you have to dive into the settings menu to find the ‘Apps only’ mode that hides personal recommendations, whereas Android TV users aren’t as lucky. In the end, no users win.

shield-pro-reup Related

Android TV gets a new row of shortcuts to showcase Google’s pet projects

Because the Live and Shop tabs weren’t already visible enough

The lack of Android TV’s customization features in Google TV is glaring, and the lack of an uncluttered App Only mode on Android TV is just as obvious. It would seem neither UI gets it right, which begs the question of why Google is so allergic to user customization in its TV interfaces, that is, unless the real reason is social engineering us to do what Google wants instead of Google spending time and money giving us what we want.

3 Fix the annoying profile-switching issues

Create better synergy between Google TV’s apps

This is one of the more absurd problems with Google TV; third-party account details are not adapted to different Google accounts. For example, you sign in to your Google TV app with a different email address, only to find that Netflix has not registered a new user and will not change. This renders the capability to have multiple Google accounts completely pointless if you only use the service for Netflix or Disney+, applications for which you have to manually sign out and sign back in with your desired account every time. Even reliable Google services like YouTube fall prey to this, requiring manual account switching to work as originally intended, which is absurd considering how many devices handle that process so effortlessly, especially when TVs are very much known to be shared experiences.


This oversight could cost Google TV dearly if left unfixed, as other services do not have this problem, and the galling lack of convenience flies in the face of what this streaming hub supposedly set out to achieve. Blame the app make4s if you wish; at the end of the day, it’s up to Google to make a seamless TV experience with Google TV, not third-party devs.

4 Overhaul the UX

A fundamental redesign is necessary

Google TV has to get its fundamentals down first, starting with the UX. The whole enterprise feels bulky and inelegant, even on Android TV, with ugly oversized icons taking up unnecessary space, frequent cases of lag despite stable internet, and a pervasive over-reliance on glorified drop-down menus and fullscreen videos that autoplay. A streaming hub needs to be sleek and optimized to stand a chance these days, and Google TV simply cannot get away with needing fifteen clicks to access basic features like your purchased Google TV movies. There’s also the baffling problem of certain apps demanding different control schemes; very little makes sense when it comes to the overall UX design, that is, unless you take into account how often Google wants to shove ads in our faces. The longer it takes to navigate somewhere, the more ads you see. How convenient for Google.

Making the Google TV interface a little easier on the eyes and less of a slog to navigate isn’t beyond the realm of possibility, and there’s a good chance that user feedback could make this happen. Of course, Google would need to actually care about the user experience instead of how many ads it can shove in our faces, so I won’t be holding my breath.

5 Stop pushing ads disguised as ‘recommendations’

We all know they’re ads, your wordplay isn’t tricking anyone


Source: Google

This last one is a little specific, but it speaks to a serious irritation with how Google TV frames recommendations. The app provides its users with content recommendations posted front and center on the dashboard, and three factors calculate them. The content that users actively engage with and the services selected upon sign-up dictate which programming Google TV will slide under your nose for perusal as a recommendation. However, Google also slips in seemingly random content that has not been asked for or even acknowledged before, and the selections are outside the user’s control; you can’t get rid of them. Nobody’s buying this as an attempt to create a useful and interesting service; it’s blatantly just Google turning the feature into a tool for peddling more ads. Because ‘recommendations’ that you didn’t ask for and can’t get rid of are not recommendations when they are forced and can’t be removed. That’s an ad of the worst kind, annoying to everyone who understands exactly what Google is doing.

The YouTube logo appears over a white-screened image YouTube open in a browser, with AP watermark. Related

Google’s ridiculous war against ad blockers is confusing everyone

Google’s image is in tatters thanks to its insane war on ad blockers

Google’s employment of AI to discover what we like to watch is already off-putting enough without using said data to seed even more unwanted advertisements. Google needs to keep recommendations relevant, modest, and most importantly mutable. Google TV has too many ads in its current build, and it doesn’t need more, but that seems to be all we ever get.

Google TV can sink or swim, and so far it’s drowning in advertisements

Google TV is in a precarious position, regardless of how good it eventually gets. After all, the only reason it’s even here is that Google lost faith in its predecessors, and one has to wonder if this application will join the Google tomb as well, sooner or later. Not to mention, Amazon’s recent veto of third-party launchers stands to put a lot of user interest up for grabs. I would like to see Google TV flourish and give users more incentive to keep supporting it rather than stay the course, shoving ads into every corner while doing nothing to improve navigation, as this puts it at risk of losing out to competitors and rightfully so.

Source link