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Google TV: SEOs, Meet Television

Danny Goodwin
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More information has been coming out about Google's big attempt to combine search, cable, broadcast television, the Internet, DVR, music, and apps. Here's a quick overview of what we know about Google TV so far.

Optimizing Websites for Google TV

Will SEOs need to create a Google TV version of their sites? That's a big question as we look over Google's tips on optimizing websites for Google TV. Bigger text and images, easier navigation, and color choices are among their biggest suggestions.

Also, Google TV only supports the Droid Sans and Droid Serif font families, so you'll have to use font-embedding techniques to create a more customized appearance. To get around this, they advise using Flash.

Although Google is advising the use of Flash for television, it remains a big issue for regular websites. Search Engine Watch writer and web usability and SEO expert Kristine Schachinger warns website designers who are trying to use the universal design concept (proper coding techniques combined with CSS to deliver one set of site content to all devices) that Flash still isn't a proper web option.

Google's tips for website readability on the TV screen:

  • Limit each paragraph to no more than 90 words.

  • Break text into small chunks that can be read at a glance.

  • Keep line length at about 5 to 7 words per line. Never go shorter than 3 or longer than 12.

  • Remember that light text on a dark background is slightly easier to read on TV (compared to dark text on a light background).

  • Target body text to be around 21pt on 720p and 28pt on 1080p.

  • Don't use any text smaller than 18pt on 720p and 24pt on 1080p.

  • Add more leading (larger line spacing) for onscreen text than print text.

Schachinger also points out that the usage of points (pt) is a radical departure and you should never use points the web. She suggests using em's or percents for text.

Advertising

If this service takes off, Google will have yet more valuable advertising data about people's television viewing habits (to add to their huge database of web surfing habits). The inaccuracy of Nielsen ratings have been criticized for a long time, but Google TV would give a much clearer picture to advertisers.

Although Google said they won't put ads on the service for at least a year, they eventually plan to sell ads that appear in the Google TV all-in-one search results. And, again, if it becomes mainstream, this could expand the number of people exposed to Google ads.

Impact on Small Businesses

There is potential in more geo-targeted advertising and search results. But if we go back to the optimization issue, will small businesses be able to handle creating a Google TV friendly website with budgets already stretched as far as they can go?

Search

googletv-search.png

From your TV screen, you'll type in what you're searching for, and Google TV will search every channel, recorded shows, YouTube, every app, and the entire web, simultaneously.

googletv-webtvboth.png

There's no need to change inputs on your television. It comes equipped with Chrome.

Google says, "Watch your favorite web videos, view photos, play games, check fantasy scores, chat with friends, and do everything else you're accustomed to doing online. Plus, the world's best websites are now being perfected for television."

googletv-flixster.png

googletv-browse.png

Apps

Google TV will ship with apps for Netflix, Twitter, CNBC, Pandora, Napster, NBA Game Time, Amazon Video On Demand and Gallery. Starting next year, Android Market apps will also work on Google TV.

Remote Control

googletvremote.jpg

Engadget took some screenshots of the new controller, which looks to have a full keyboard in addition to the usual TV remote control functions (volume, channel, play, stop, etc.).

googletv_controller1.jpg

But if that beast isn't your ideal remote, you can instead use your Android phone or iPhone. If you choose this option, you can also use your voice to search Google TV with your smartphone. Also, multiple smartphones can control the same TV.

Fling Videos to TV

If you find a website on your phone and want to see it on the big screen, Google TV will let you "fling" it with the press of a button.

How to Get Google TV

Logitech today will unveil its set-top box, Logitech Revue, which runs the Android-based Google TV software. This works with your existing television, satellite, and cable. The other option will be to buy Sony's all-in-one Internet TV (coming out next week).

How popular Google TV becomes will depend on the pricing. Rumors have the Revue box costing around $299, while the self-updating Sony TV is expected to cost more than similar HDTV models.


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