Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Resolutions

Best of Google TV Series
As New Year’s Eve approaches, many of us will draw up lists of resolutions. This year, as you’re setting out to learn a new skill or get in shape, the best place to start is right in your living room.

One of the top New Year’s resolutions is to pick up a musical instrument. But let’s be honest, it’s discouraging when bumbling around with a guitar pick does not make you an instant Hendrix. Instead of struggling on your own, or struggling to find the right teacher, try taking lessons from home on Google TV. Berklee School of Music offers great intermediate and advanced lessons for guitar, bass, keyboards, and voice on their YouTube Channel. For guitarists, RockOnGoodPeople has lessons for all levels in all genres of music. They post new licks, scales, and chords all the time to help you unleash your inner Clapton, Page, or Swift. Hey—no judgment.

If music isn’t your language, there are foreign language lessons all over the web. You don’t need expensive software to learn a new language when there are great resources on Google TV. For the basics like greetings, directions and the all-important food-related vocab, tune into SpanishDict. If you’re looking for long form classroom instruction you can rent half hour lessons from RockN’Learn, with songs and entertaining learning for kids and adults. To advance your learning TheSpanishBlog uploads new lessons on pronunciation every week.

After too many rich Holiday meals, it can be great to balance indulgence with some exercise. If you’re making a commitment to trim down or get fit, but don’t have (or want anything to do with) a gym membership, Google TV can be your personal trainer.

A good place to start is ExerciseTV, where you can get workout regiments and nutrition tips. For rigorous exercise try NerdFitness’s YouTube channel where you can learn new workout circuits and even focus on muscle groups like arms and legs. If you’re looking to build strength, flexibility, and just the right amount of Zen, TaraStiles Yoga channel has detailed instructions for both easy and, well, ambitious Yoga poses (hint: prepare for the blood to rush to your head).

With all these great resources available right from your sofa, it shouldn’t be hard to try a little yoga, pick up the guitar, or practice your Spanish just a little bit each day. This is the year to keep those resolutions, with a little help from Google TV.

Posted by Charlie Harding, Marketing Team

Friday, December 24, 2010

Interactive TV for kids (and no we're not talking about channel surfing)

Best Of Google TV Series

We all love the holidays, but it’s always a challenge to entertain the kids, especially when the excitement of gift giving has died down. A popular way to keep them occupied is in front of the TV, but this often leads to endless channel surfing, the occasional cry of “I’m bored,” and a high likelihood that your kid will end up watching “whatever’s on.”

While we can’t guarantee that your kid will choose to watch the most educational content every time (we’re partial to YouTube EDU), we are sure you’ll find that Google TV helps in many ways.

The least that Google TV can do is to end the era of mindless channel surfing. Using Google’s search functionality, your kid (or my nephews) can find the show or movie they are looking for immediately, whether it’s on TV or the web. A search for “Santa” just brought up 24 movies and 30 episodes on TV and services such as Amazon Video On Demand or Netflix. Once my nephews are through with those, we can get started on all the great Santa-related web videos on YouTube, Vimeo, and the rest

If your kids want truly interactive TV (who can blame them?), then Google TV can really help out. There are great websites optimized for the TV suited for the kits in our Spotlight Gallery. Some of the most kid friendly sites are:

  • MeeGenius: Read your kids beautifully illustrated books (a huge array of classics and more modern tales). You can customize some of the content to make it more personal and the app will then read the story out loud, with the relevant words highlighted on screen for you kids to follow along.
  • Fraboom: There is so much going on at Fraboom (from educational videos to games) that they are right to describe it as a museum. Look out for the battle against Baron Von Boredom.
  • PBSKids: A really simple interface means that kids can navigate around their favorite videos of PBS KIDS shows like Curious George and Dinosaur Train.
  • Cartoon Network: Quickly and easily find all your favorite shows from Cartoon Network.
Posted by Peter Sherman, Marketing Team

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What's new with Google TV?

It’s been two months since the first Google TV device went on sale. Since then, we have been hard at work thinking about how we can make the platform even better for our users. In fact, one of the greatest things about Google TV is that it comes with free, automatic “over-the-air” software updates that give you the newest features and content as we release them. It’s as if Google TV goes up in value over time.

Today we’re excited to start pushing out our first Google TV software update. In addition to fixing some bugs, there are four significant improvements to the platform:

We’ve partnered up with our friends at Netflix to upgrade the app so that you can search, browse and watch any movie or show that is in the Netflix streaming catalog. You can even add these titles to your DVD queue if you want them mailed to you. Not sure what to watch? The new Netflix app will also give you personalized recommendations based on what you’ve watched before. Your TV is now an unlimited source of entertainment.

Dual View
Google TV brings the TV and web together in one seamless experience so you can easily watch your favorite TV show and browse your favorite website together at once. With the feature, you can do things like watch Conan while tweeting about him on Twitter at the same time. Since launch, we’ve had users give us feedback that they want even more customization options for this feature, and so today we have enhanced it to allow you to re-size and move the window however you’d like. 

Standard capability
New capability to move and re-size

Remote Control App for Android Phones
What if you could control your TV with the power of your voice? Starting today you can download the Google TV Remote app in Android Market. Apart from the standard TV remote options like changing channels or accessing your DVR, you can now interact with your TV in ways you never have before. For instance, try using the integrated voice search which allows you to find your favorite shows and movies just by speaking into your phone. Or, go from small screen to big screen by sharing videos and websites directly from your phone to your TV. We’ve included a short preview of these features below. Stay tuned for more information about the Google TV Remote for other platforms in the near future.

Say you’re searching for a movie like ‘Harry Potter’. Google TV now has a movie results page that shows you all films associated with the title so you can quickly watch what you want, wherever it’s available -- ranging from sources like live TV, Netflix, and Amazon Video on Demand. You can also read a quick summary, see photos, and find the cast list. Click on the name of a cast member and we’ll take you to a new search landing page where you can find other movies featuring that actor. Trust us, you’ll never leave the couch again.

Google TV users will start to see these updates roll out to their devices throughout the week. The Google TV Remote app is available today (click here from your Android device or scan the barcode below) but all features may not work until your device has received the update.
Scan from your Android phone

We are continuously listening to feedback and are excited to bring you more Google TV updates in the future. Please leave your feedback in the comments, on Twitter, or on our Facebook page. Don’t have a Google TV device yet? Submit a video telling us why you should receive one and you might just end up with a 46” HDTV to kick off the new year right.

Happy Holidays from Google TV!

- Posted by Larry Yang, Google TV Product Manager

Monday, December 13, 2010

Announcing the “I Want my Google TV!” contest

(Cross posted from the YouTube blog)

If you’re like most people, you probably love watching YouTube videos on your computer. But what if there were a full-screen, HD version of YouTube available a channel flip away on your TV? Now there is, made possible by Google TV.

Google TV brings television, apps, and the entire World Wide Web directly to your living you can watch even more YouTube, only now on the biggest screen in your home. And because it’s the season of giving, the crew here at YouTube and Google are excited to announce a contest to give away 100 free 46” Sony Internet TVs powered by Google TV.

To enter to win, create and upload a video telling us and all your friends on YouTube why you’re pumped up about Google TV. Winning submissions will be selected based on originality, creativity, entertainment factor, technical execution, and how well you explain why you are excited about Google TV and watching YouTube on Google TV. View the contest rules and full list of judging criteria here.

Don’t forget to upload your video by December 22, and tag it with “ytgtv” so we can showcase your creations. Winners will be announced by January 20, 2011.

Good luck!

Camille Hearst, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched “Sony Google TV: Hands-On”.

Friday, December 10, 2010

How to get your family on Google TV

Best of Google TV series

As the holidays get into full swing, I am spending more and more time with my extended family, getting in to all kinds of fun. Like any self-respecting embarrassing dad, I love capturing these precious moments by making tons of great little videos and taking even more photos. I no longer need any fancy equipment to do this – most smart-phones now take great photos and videos (I love my Nexus S, if you're interested.)

The best part is that we can all slump on the sofa and re-live the best moments on my TV whenever we want, because it's powered by Google TV. In the not-so-distant past, your family would only get on TV if they were (un)lucky enough to get onto a TV show. More recently, you would have to find the right lead, plug your high-end camera into your TV and navigate though impossible menus and settings.

Now, you don't need any fancy equipment to do this, either. My preference is to do a little editing, then save the best photos and videos to a Picasa Web Album, which I can do straight from my phone. Using the Gallery app on my TV, which syncs to Picasa, I immediately have a slide-show on a 46" photo-frame right in the living room. We've had a lot of fun using Picnik to add silly effects to our photos.

I tend to upload the very best videos to YouTube, so that the world can share my family insanity. Watching these in Leanback mode on TV makes it feel like we've almost got our own TV channel – it's even in HD, which is pretty incredible for something recorded on a phone.

The most important point is that you don't need to use the same services I do. Because Google TV has a full web browser, it can access any website you want to use. For example Flickr looks great on the big screen and Vimeo Couch Mode is optimized for viewing on Google TV.

When I say you can get your family on TV, I mean all of them, wherever they are in the world. If you have the Logitech TV Cam, you can video chat with friends and family on the big screen (no more huddling around a tiny laptop screen).

Posted by Ambarish Kenghe (AK), Product Management Team

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rocking Out for the Holidays

Best of Google TV series
It’s the first week of December -- time to get ready for the holidays! What better way to get into the spirit than to listen to holiday music? And why listen to it on your computer or your iPod when you can listen to it from your TV, which is likely connected to the best speakers in your house? Here are the Google TV team’s top music recommendations for Google TV:
  1. Pandora* - pick a song or artist you like, and Pandora will magically create an endless playlist of similar music for you.
  2. VEVO** - a TV-optimized set of back-to-back HD music videos featuring your favorite artists.
  3. Napster* - grab a subscription and get unlimited music.
  4. Grooveshark - millions of streaming songs online.
  5. - stream music and keep a record of what you listen to from any player.
In the Spotlight
Want even more? Here are some new websites that have been optimized for Google TV. If you have a device, you can try them out in the Spotlight folder linked from your home screen.
  1. - free uncut movies & TV shows.
  2. - online children’s museum - it’s like a live classroom in your living room.
  3. - Public Media serving Northern California featuring news, food, arts, and science.
  4. video - mSpot Movies brings the newest on-demand movies to your TV.
  5. PartyCentral - a fun game where you can socialize with guests, earn popularity, and customize your house to host the hottest party.
Check them out and let us know what you think! And if you're a Google TV owner, please add a comment below, Facebook us, or tweet at us with your own favorite things to do. Who knows - we just might feature it in an upcoming post!

* Available in the Applications folder linked from your Google TV home screen.
** Available in the Spotlight folder linked from your Google TV home screen.