Has Google TV become a hobby for Google?

Not everything is going to be a break-out success. Even when we look at the release of Android, it didn’t take the world by storm in one night, or even a month. It took some time, but the result now has been pretty outstanding for Google, as well as anyone who has fallen in love with the little green ‘droid. And for Google, releasing something into the wild for public consumption isn’t something new to them. After all, they release new things, or updates to their previously released items, pretty regularly. On the flip-side, Google isn’t immune to some products failing, either. But, where does Google TV stand in all of this? All the talk about the TV being the next “big thing” has seemed to die down, and news about Google TV along with it.

So has Google TV become Google’s hobby? I use that analogy because Steve Jobs, head of Apple, used to call Apple TV a hobby. It wasn’t selling the massive amounts that the iPhone, iPods, and other Apple-branded devices were selling, so calling it a hobby lessened the blow, more or less. Others were still content calling Apple TV a failure, but we all know about that distortion field…

In any event, whether or not Apple TV was a hobby or not, Google saw fit to throw in their own version of the same thing. Of course, Google TV is a bit different in that it uses Android to run the show, and right out of the box your Web experience on the TV is amplified by Google’s services and presence. And when the Android Market does finally launch for the in-home service, then the talk about Google TV will probably take a shift for the better. Launching a competing product is part of any industry, but launching a competing product just to launch one isn’t always the best route.

If you’ve ever used Google TV, then you know that the system works quite well for itself. The only drawback that most people would talk about during the product’s initial launch revolved around the price, but now that the Logitech Revue is down to only $99, that may not be such of a burden on Google’s plans. However, the damage to GTV may have already been done, and the adoption of the service may have already been left to the wayside. In this regard, and with Google obviously being more than aware of the situation, I’m wondering if Google’s own view of the product has shifted. As I said above, it takes time for a product to really take hold in the consumer’s mind state, and sometimes even longer before it becomes a household name, or success.

What Google TV really needs is an honest-to-goodness refresh. Google needs to do something to bring GTV back into the consumer’s eye. And it can’t just be a one-trick pony, either. This has to be a major move, that involves both hardware and software, and they need to start showing off the features of the service all over again. Google needs to show folks why buying a set-top box (from Logitech right now) is better than just getting an Internet-connected TV, or any one of the other set-top boxes out there. And, if they want to sell Internet-connected TVs instead of the set-top box, they need to have Sony come forward with their own marketing for that kind of thing, and show that Google-connected TVs are better than the run-of-the-mill variety.

It’s because none of this is happening, along with the Logitech Revue’s price drop, that has me thinking that Google TV has dropped to “hobby” status, and for right now at least, Google is focusing on other products. And with the way that Google+ is taking off, that’s not all that surprising. With Android still steam rolling over the competition around the world, having a hobby isn’t a bad thing at all. And there’s no time frame as to when Google needs to breath a breathe of fresh air into the GTV name — it can happen next week, or next year. It doesn’t matter. As long as the company, and the companies involved, can make it worthwhile and show off plenty of great features, then it may be worth the time.

Do you own Google TV? And if you do, did you buy the set-top box, or did you go with the integrated TV? What would you do to change Google TV, if you had the opportunity? Let me know in the comments below what you think GTV needs to get back into the fight.

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