Friday, July 27, 2012

How The Google TV Boxes Can Be Made Better

Thanks to Google’s recent update to Honeycomb 3.2 on all the Google Tv boxes out there Google is on the right track to creating an excellent Media Player. But Google Tv boxes still lack some features I feel should be essential in every media player, features than can turn the Google TV boxes into the center of ones Home Media Center.

Google Tv already has the ability to stream music, pictures and video from USB connected devices, networked drives and online streaming services. I can also browse the Internet, play games and even chat on most of the top Social Media sites out there such as Google+, Twitter and Facebook. But Google Tv is still running like a Beta program, something Google has a reputation for doing and considering Google Tv is in essence another portal for Google’s many products its time for Google developers to start adding features consumers truly want from it. Here are some of the features I would like to see and what I have heard from other Google Tv users.

Webcam With Mic


webcam-icon Being a product of Google intended to connect to the Internet and bring the Internet to your living room, you would think a webcam would have been an obvious feature on any Google Tv device. The Logitech Revue, the box I have, does have this feature except it’s only loyal to one specific Logitech webcam and it only works with certain apps on the box. It’s like having a sports car in a city where only 2 roads exceed 45 MPH speed limits for a short distance. First every Google TV device (box or Tv) should allow any webcam to work if only needing to add an app that will allow it to work. Then it should allow any app that is webcam capable to use it. Imagine doing a Google+ Hangout from the comfort of your living sofa watching everyone on your big screen HDTV without the need of a computer connected to the Tv to accomplish this. How cool would that be? Webcam Google Tv developers, lets get it done. And don’t get me started on Skype and Google Voice, it just gets better and better.

Networkable Drives

Drive-Network-connected-iconHow is it that Google Tv boxes are capable of connecting external hard drives and playing any media on them, well almost any but we’ll get to that later, but are incapable of turning these drives into networked drives? Most routers these days can do it, my PC does it and so can my WD TV Plus box. Why can’t the Google Tv box turn USB drives into networked drives? This would completely eliminate the need for a server box for some of us or make it easier to add a drive to the box and turn it into a network drive without the need to going to the server one may already have. Considering the fact that the Google Tv box doesn’t even turn off makes it the perfect choice for such a task giving the computer a chance to sleep at night and save power in the process and with new USB power standards being released the drive can be powered right from the USB port thus eliminating another power cord. Come on devs.

Expanded Bluetooth Capabilities

bluetooth-Vista-icon I don’t know what the bluetooth feature on the current boxes can do besides communicate with the controller but I feel more can be done with a tech that already exist on it. The ability to connect your phone and stream photos and video one has stored would be awesome although the Nexus Q may already take care of that in a the future, still. Also, how cool would it be to be able to connect bluetooth headphones and speakers to be able to enjoy TV without bothering others at night or be able to listen to music from anywhere in the house. Again this may be a feature the Nexus Q may be designed to handle but still, it wouldn’t hurt to have it on the Google Tv box for those of us unable to afford the extra $300. Also the possibility to use a bluetooth keyboard and mice for convenience would be extremely awesome.

Gaming Controller

It’s pretty obvious that gaming will be an extra added feature to Google Tvs capabilities. OnLive can already be installed and used in view mode and rumor has it it will eventually become fully usable on the Google Tv to play games thru it. The ability to connect a wireless gaming controller would be awesome either thru a USB receiver or the same bluetooth connection already found inside the box. The possibilities of this are ending.

Browser Extensions

extension-icon I use to be a Firefox fan until Google+ came out and I decided to give Chrome a chance after I discovered there were some neat extensions that made the Google+ experience even better. I am now 100% a Chrome user with Firefox as a back up thanks to the awesome extensions I have been discovering since I started using it. Extensions Firefox just doesn’t have or can’t compete with.
Chrome being the main browser on Google Tv, how is it possible that Google Tv developers left out the ability to be able to use these extensions? I understand that Chrome is in essence a mobile version of Chrome made to work on a big screen but come one, extensions are what make Chrome a worthwhile browser. Please bring extensions to Chrome.

Google Tv, Nexus 7 And Nexus Q

3.square-icon-v1-500x-black-glass The Nexus Q is still a mystery to most people. In it’s current form it can do some cool things but the truth is that it’s not much more that a really heavy and cool looking, expensive Google product that is at it’s earliest Beta stage and needs a lot of love from developers before it can truly show what it’s capable of doing. I can envision a world where my Google Tv, a Nexus Q and a Nexus 7 can communicate with each other and work together to make the Google Tv Media center experience beyond awesome by allowing the nexus Q to be the central hub where you can stop a video or song on one box, say in the living room, and pick up where you left off on your Google Tv box in your bedroom, gaming room, entertainment room or even the kitchen on any Google Tv box or your Nexus 7.

If you have any other suggestions of what features to add to Google Tv please share them on the Google+ post of this article linked below.