Google TV voice control: Now, yelling at your TV actually works

Google HQ has rolled out a new update for Google TV that includes voice commands and better YouTube integration.

Google has issued an update for Google TV.

Two years after the debut of Google TV, Google HQ has issued an update meant to make the platform "faster and easier."

In a blog post, Greg Funk and Eric Liu, product managers at Google, said the update encompassed three main features. The first is voice search – from now on, there'll be no more fumbling with the remote. Simply shout "Red Sox" in the direction of the television, hope your neighbors don't think you're batty, and wait for an image of Fenway Park to appear. 

The second feature is an app called PrimeTime – a kind of hyper-muscular interactive TV guide with a built-in recommendation engine.

With PrimeTime, Funk and Liu write, "you can quickly flip through the best stuff on live TV, access your favorite channels, see TV shows you recently watched, and find other suggestions based on what you enjoy watching."

Third feature: improved YouTube integration. With a new YouTube app, you can find a video on your smartphone, and beam it immediately up to the TV set. 

"The world watches 4 billion hours of YouTube per month, but it’s not yet as easy to watch YouTube on your TV as it is on your computers, phones, and tablets," Funk and Liu note. "YouTube and Google TV are changing that."

RECOMMENDED: Compare HDTV prices and specs

Google says the update will roll out for LG TVs in the "coming weeks," and other devices shortly after that. More on availability here

When it first launched, in October of 2010, Google TV was criticized for being far too complex for most users. Last year, Google issued a sweeping update meant to simplify the interface. But some reviewers were still unappeased. Google TV, TechCrunch noted in a 2011 assessment, was "teetering on a ledge between falling into an abyss of obscurity or sliding downhill into geekdom."

So will the 2012 update give Google TV the jolt it needs? 

Well, over at CNET, Casey Newton is cautiously hopeful. 

"Individually, none of the new features seem likely to attract new Google TV users by the millions," Newton argues. "But taken together, they show a company determined to get television right. These are hardly early days in connected TV – WebTV dates to the mid-'90s – but we may be in the early days of widespread consumer adoption. Between Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Roku, there have never been more large electronics companies pouring resources into a strategy for living-room domination."

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Google TV voice control: Now, yelling at your TV actually works
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today