Chromecast with Google TV, why it’s important

Google TV isn't Android TV: it's Google inside the TV and it's something that could become very important soon

Google has just unveiled the latest evolution of its Chromecast dongle to stream content on all TVs, even non-smart ones and even without Android TV. It is a new but not revolutionary device, at least from the hardware point of view, and that does not cost very little: 69.99 euros in Italy (in America costs less: $ 49.99).

Known before the launch with the code name of "Sabrina", now comes to market with the name of "Chromecast with Google TV". A name that has turned the nose of many, because "Google TV" is a brand that dates back to 2010 and was replaced, in 2014, with "Android TV". And this is confusing a lot of users, who do not know what are the differences between Android TV and Google TV. And if they don't know, they can't understand why Google TV is important to Google's strategy and to all of us. Let's try to shed some light on what Google TV really is and why everyone should care about this move by Google.

Differences between Android TV and Google TV

Android TV is an operating system, just like Android for smartphones or Android Automotive (which just arrived on the first car: the Polestar 2). Android TV's job is to manage the TV hardware and run all the apps developed for Android TV on all TVs with Android TV.

Google TV, on the other hand, is a GUI and an app that run on a device (the new Chromecast, but maybe in the future also other third-party ones) with Android TV installed. Google TV, to be clear, is not in charge of managing the TV's WiFi or running apps. But, then, what's it for?

What's Google TV for

Google launched Google TV by calling it "a shortcut to streaming." Streaming content from Google (YouTube and YouTube Music for free and their respective paid premium versions) and others (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Spotify etc. etc.).

Defining Google TV as a content aggregator, however, is reductive because Google TV, as the name itself says, is "Google applied to TV": through its interface, in fact, the user can search through thousands of live or archival content and then choose what he wants to see among those for which he paid.

Why Google TV is important

We said "among those for which he paid". Google TV is not a subscription: it requires one or more subscriptions otherwise the user will only be able to watch movies and TV series for free. Google TV, however, will also show the user paid content and it will be up to the user to choose whether to buy it (or subscribe to the respective service) or not.

After having tried several times (first with YouTube Red, then with YouTube Premium) to break into the content sector, then, Google is back to doing what it has always been able to do better than anyone else: the search engine. Even vocal, thanks to the remote control with microphone included in the package of Chromecast with Google TV.

When the user doesn't know what to watch, then, he asks Google: "Hey Google, let me watch an American comedy". And Google TV responds by showing a list of American-made comedy movies and TV series. The results page on Google TV, therefore, will be the equivalent of the Google results page in a browser.

The results will be customized so  based on our tastes and our previous searches and, most likely, there will be advertising in it: some content, sponsored, will be shown "at the top of Google TV" while others we will find them at the bottom.