Saturday, March 2, 2024

Google TV to take on Apple TV with upcoming fitness and smart home features

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A Google executive teases future capabilities coming to Google TV.

What you need to know

  • A Google executive discussed the company’s plans for Google TV in the future.
  • Google intends to integrate smart home, fitness, and video conferencing features into the interface.
  • There’s no fixed timeline yet, but these capabilities could arrive sometime this year.

Google TV may soon be able to do more than just play movies and TV shows. Rob Caruso, Google TV’s director of product management, has recently revealed what’s next for the smart TV interface.

In an interview with Protocol, Caruso said that Google wants to improve smart home controls on Google TV, citing as an example the recent updates that made it possible to access smart home controls via the power menu on the best Android phones.

Another “big area of exploration” is fitness capabilities. Caruso teased the possible integration of Google’s services and devices such as Google Fit and Fitbit as well as third-party systems into the interface. The plan seems to take its cue from the Apple Fitness+ integration on Apple TV, though Caruso stopped short of disclosing the specifics of the plan.

Video conferencing is also a major focus. Google plans to expand your options for video communication on Android TV beyond Google Duo. Caruso made mention of Zoom as a potential service that may be added to Google TV’s video conferencing options.

Google is also interested in expanding the number of free live TV channels available on Google TV; the Mountain View-based company already made progress on that front when it partnered with Pluto TV late last year to give Google TV users access to more than 300 free live TV channels.

On the content side of things, Caruso expressed hope for some improvements in the situation between Netflix and Google TV. Currently, Google TV users are unable to add Netflix shows and movies to the interface’s system-level watchlist.

“I hope we’ll see some welcome improvements and innovations in the coming months with not just Netflix, but with many partners,” Caruso told Protocol.

While there’s no set timeline for when these features will arrive, Caruso said some of them may become available “on Google TV devices in the coming months.”

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