In an Edinburgh conference for the UK TV industry, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt discussed the integration of television and the web. He announced that Google TV would come to the UK shortly and predicted that it would receive mass adoption within 5 years.
Google TV in the UK
- 40 percent of Google Maps usage globally is mobile
- 2 hours of YouTube video footage is uploaded every minute from mobile devices
- 48 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute
- 15 percent of searches are unique every day
- 4 hours is the average copyright removal time
Google TV hasn't particularly fared well in the United States. In addition to seeing abysmal sales (more units were returned in Q1 than were purchased), the interface is still undergoing radical development changes to compensate for user criticisms. That doesn't stop Eric Schmidt from feeling hopeful about the platform, however.
Schmidt is hopeful enough that he happily announced that Google TV would be coming to the UK in the next six months. The UK model is likely to be running off newer hardware and software than current U.S. versions, and it's also possible that Motorola – which Google just acquired – may be behind the Google TV hardware.
According to Schmidt, there will only be about five years before internet TV is a standard part of our viewing experience. "Virtually all the television manufacturers on their very high end will eventually adopt Google TV, or perhaps one of the competitors that will emerge," said Schmidt. "We know this space exists."
He does pitch how Google can give an advantage, though. The Edinburgh speech talked about the importance of the social web in spreading TV content. Beyond describing the social elements being applied already, Schmidt talked about how features like Google+ Hangouts would create an "in-person" experience on the web.
Schdmit also clarified that Google is doing everything they can to help content creators. "We are not your enemy and we want to help," Schmidt said. He further clarified that Google is "agnostic when it comes to whether free or paid content models are best," and that Google opposed content piracy just as much as the content companies. The solution, according to Schmidt, lies in improving the technology around how the content is spread and controlled.
His claims for Google TV's future are bold to the point of audacity, and Schmidt has certainly been wrong in the past. Still, the UK release, the new renditions of Google TV, and Schmidt relentless optimism on the topic make Google TV worth watching – if only figuratively.