Google TV Spotlight and Queue
When you have a few dozen hours to blow, start with the Google TV Spotlight section. This seems to be where Google TV's "real" content goes to live. You can't go wrong with The Onion "news" broadcasts as a counterpoint to The New York Times. I watched Krull on Crackle for the first time since grade school. VEVO is the best thing I've seen for music videos in years, and Tune In, while visually unremarkable, is still a decent Internet radio repository.
The Spotlight section can be hit or miss. Two-minute snippets are not my idea of a Cartoon Network destination. I suppose I can't bash HBO GO for being useless to non-subscribers since Netflix is the same way, but I was pretty disappointed in the YouTube Leanback experience. The idea seems straightforward: You go into YouTube, type in a search phrase, and up pops a strip of video thumbnails that are hits for your search. (Keep in mind that this is YouTube, which isn't recommended for users under age 13, but would it really hurt the user experience if Google put a SafeSearch-type filter at the front of this YouTube widget?) This isn't so different from the results in a regular browser, but YouTube has pinched the results so much here that all of the video descriptions have been stripped out, making it harder to separate the wheat from the chaff at a glance. Simple is good, but this is a waste of real estate. I also found the user controls here strangely vexing at first, as I kept hitting the wrong things in the wrong way and not going to the videos I wanted. As for the "leanback" part of the experience, the idea is that Google chooses videos for you to watch based on your preferences so you don't even have to type anything. I'm not ready to say this is a positive development.
The Queue is a holding tank for various types of content to which you subscribe. Google makes getting started with the Queue easy by throwing an iTunes-like collection of podcast content at you across ten different interest areas -- everything from NASA footage to clay-mation comedies.
However, there are other ways to populate your Queue. You can send Web pages to your Queue for later reading. Some online TV series are Queue-able. Queue also supports RSS fees so you can stay current on your favorite sites. And again, if you're a DISH subscriber, you can have recorded shows pop straight into your Queue.