Google TV: How will it change things?


Towards the end of May, Google announced that it had been exploring the possibility of integrating the power and freedom of the Internet with the common television in order to provide a ground-breaking new experience.

The 'Google TV' project sees the likes of Sony, Logitech and Intel team up with Google to realise the ambition, and the resulting product is set to become available at some point this year.

Considering the popularity of both the television and the Internet (4 billion people watch TV across the world and 4/5 people within the UK have access to the Internet), it seems logical to throw both technologies together to create a super-duper device which will lead to no-one ever having to get up off the living room sofa!

The Internet is not freely available through television sets yet, and of course, accessing any sort of information (teletext, interactive services etc) instantaneously through your television set is difficult-to-impossible in most cases. But, what will be interesting is uncovering how this new technology will change things in terms of web development and digital marketing.

Time will tell

When a potential client lands on your website, they spend a few seconds subconsciously calculating whether or not they trust and value your company. This decision is not entirely based upon the products and services you have on offer, but rather, whether your site is visually appealing and whether there are any display issues.

More display issues for web developers

As if web designers didn't have enough to think about (ensuring cross-browser compatibility for the likes of Internet Explorer 6+, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome), they'll now have to start testing for display issues across television sets too. Granted, Google TV will be built using Google Chrome which developers should already be testing against, but subtle differences in how elements display can occur between operating systems and hardware.

Whilst web designers are being encouraged to make use of wide screens and large screen resolutions, it's important you remember the changes which are taking place in terms of your active audience too. By incorporating web access into television sets, webpages now become sociable. No-longer will people be looking at pages individually, they'll be looking at them with their families and friends, as they sit in the living room. This means the tone of the content published onsite may well change as Google TV is rolled out. What's more, text will need to be simplified and readable from a distance, whilst audio also looks likely to become more frequently used too.

Optimising your website for TV will cost more

Following the launch of Google TV, I expect we will see more and more web developers not only setting up mobile versions of their websites, but also, TV versions of them too. This latest development changes the audience and how each page must be displayed by too much to simply ignore and hope for the best. With this in mind, those looking to develop websites should expect web developers to charge more to optimise their sites for Google TV, as the process is likely to involve the creation of new templates/designs, new content and new functionality.