Google TV app on Android

Google TV’s promise of aggregating all of your content in one place is ambitious and useful, but it comes with the caveat of requiring cooperation. After Netflix torpedoed its integration with Google TV in 2020, it has felt as though the two platforms will never fully reconcile, but it sounds like, according to one executive, there’s still hope. On top of that, there was a teaser for Google TV’s future, including new fitness and smart home features.

In a newsletter, Protocol published an interview with Google TV’s director of product management, Rob Caruso. In that brief interview, Caruso speaks on the ongoing situation between Netflix and Google TV, saying that he still has hope that “welcome improvements and innovations” will come from Netflix and Google TV’s other partners, offering a general promise that things will get better. He also added that services that integrate with Google TV will see more engagement on the platform.

Caruso, a former Netflix executive, wouldn’t offer any specifics on why Netflix has limited its Google TV experience.

I hope we’ll see some welcome improvements and innovations in the coming months with not just Netflix, but with many partners. You can’t force anyone’s hand, but the hope is that as we provide features for our users [and] partners, that they all see value, and then it’s a flywheel

Netflix first pulled its integration with Google TV just a few months after the platform debuted on the Chromecast, and while we did see some functions restored, the experience is still severely limited compared to other apps.

The interview also dives into what’s next for Google TV in general. Caruso teased that Google is exploring better ways for the platform to integrate with your smart home. As it stands today, Google TV can only use its voice assistant for home controls. He further said that “fitness is another big area of exploration,” which makes sense given Apple’s recent pushes into the fitness space that include Apple Fitness+ integration on Apple TV. Finally, he also teased an expansion of video calling on the TV, specifically calling out Zoom, as well as pointing out that Google is actively working on bringing more free channels to Google TV as we first saw with Pluto TV last month.

There are no firm dates or timelines for any of these features, but Caruso says that could arrive “at some point later this year.”

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Ben Schoon

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