Wednesday Google TV Product Manager Rishi Chandra went on stage at the NewTeeVee 2010 conference and said that the company isn't out to replace cable. The announcement seemingly occurred while Fox.com began blocking its content from Google TV, joining other networks that include NBC, CBS and ABC.
According to reports, Google TV users are getting a "not compatible with your device" error when loading up Fox.com in Google TV's Chrome browser. At the time of this writing, Fox did not offer an explanation, however ABC and NBC have previously argued that Google wasn't doing enough to filter out pirate video from Google TV search results.
Additionally, Hulu has also blocked Google TV from its free streaming service, however its speculated that Hulu merely plans to offer the paid version at a later date. Ted Turner's TBS, TNT and CNN have actually embraced Google TV along with HBO, CNBC, Netflix and others.
During the interview, Chandra put a positive spin on the network blocks, referring back to the debut of VHS, DVD and DVR as content owners try to understand what the "new technology" means to them. The same situation now applies to the likes of Fox and NBC as they embrace the new technology we call the World Wide Web. Essentially, how will the streaming technology pay the bills while keeping cable providers happy.
But as previously mentioned, Google doesn't want to replace cable--cord-cutting is not happening any time soon. In fact, the company wants to combine cable programming and Internet TV into one device. "It's not TV or Web," he said in the interview. "It's TV and Web."
The problem with the TV/Web combo concept is that it turns the typical 300-channel selection into millions of channels, thus demanding a search engine so that viewers can find what they want. Herein is where the dispute between networks and Google resides, as the search engine not only pulls in legitimate content, but links to pirated content as well.
But according to Chandra, the search feature isn't necessarily a "search engine," but rather the evolution of the current linear list used in the TV guide (scrolling or digital).
"One of the new capabilities this platform allows is a way to rethink content discovery," he explained. “[The guide] doesn't work when you go from 300 channels to millions of channels. You need a new paradigm for how you actually search and discover and find new content to watch."
He used Google TV's YouTube LeanBack as an example, allowing users to essentially create their own channels by typing in search entries like "Elmo" and "LeBron James."
Ultimately Chandra seemed confident that Google will eventually reach some kind agreement with the big networks. "This is very early days, in terms of where Google TV is and where the platform is at," he said.