Wednesday, May 17, 2017

With Android O, Google gives Android TV a fresh coat of paint and more

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Google first unveiled its Android TV platform during its 2014 Google I/O developer conference. As such, it is appropriate for Google to have unveiled what is next for its smart TV platform today, the day of Google I/O 2017.

Slated for release “later this year,” the revamped Android TV interface places an emphasis on content. To realize that focus, a revamped user interface sits front and center. Favorite apps are now positioned at the top, which gives Android TV a Netflix-like aesthetic for those who like such an interface. Content recommendations, meanwhile, are split up by service. This means that apps like Netflix, YouTube, and others automatically get their own row, or “channel,” as Google calls it.

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These channels highlight TV shows, movies, and other content, and it is up to an app’s publisher to determine what content is shown. If those recommendations do not jive with what you want to see, publishers can allow folks to install several channels, which allow people to build different recommendation rows for live and on-demand content. Google Assistant will be available to help folks move through the interface and get to content quicker, though the clean aesthetic of the upcoming Android TV update should help matters on those fronts.

As for when the revamped Android TV will be available, Google did not offer anything other than the aforementioned “later this year” timeframe. We would not be surprised if it launches alongside Android O, seeing how it is Android TV’s underlying software.

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