Google TV Updates Improve Personalization

Posted on October 11, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Google TV with 4 Comments

Google announced today that it is improving Google TV with better personalization, new ambient mode capabilities, and better integration with live TV.

“Everyone brings their likes, dislikes, and ‘no WAYs’ to the sofa,” Google’s Rob Caruso explains of the changes. “To keep everyone in the house happy, whether that’s your partner, kids, other family members, or roommates, we’re bringing features to Google TV that will make TV a little more tailored for whoever’s sitting on the couch.”

New features include:

More personal user profiles. Google TV already supports multiple user profiles so that everyone in a household can get a personalized experience. But now your profile will take into account your interests and preferences to help you discover more content that you might want to watch. It’s also adding a watchlist to each Google account so that you can save content to it when you get a recommendation from others. And Google Assistant can help find content by asking it “what should I watch?”

Ambient mode improvements. Google TV’s Ambient mode kicks in when the device hasn’t been used for a configurable amount of time, and it can show you favorite photos from Google Photos. Now, it can also display more personalized information and at-a-glance recommendations in cards, including game scores, the weather, news, and more. This is all based on information in your Google account profile, of course.

Live TV improvements. Google TV integrates with various live TV services like YouTube TV and Sling TV, and now it supports Philo as well: just add it as your live TV provider to get recommendations on the home screen.

Availability various by feature. The profile updates will be available globally, but the Ambient mode cards will ship first in the U.S. only, and each will appear first on Chromecast with Google TV and Google TVs from Sony and TCL. Philo is available in the US.

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (4)

4 responses to “Google TV Updates Improve Personalization”

  1. will

    I have not used a Google TV device, but this interface and integration with Live TV sounds very good. I have an Apple TV, and while it is good, I wish it was more than a sea of app icons. Even the Apple TV app, with the ability to integrate with other services, is not the best to use and no Live TV integration.

  2. jwadle

    I've been using Chromecast with Google TV for about five months. I'm using YouTube TV for live channels and have generally been satisfied with the GTV/YTTV combination. One of the main reasons I originally switched to GTV (from Roku) was the promise that GTV would aggregate all my currently watched shows on the GTV main page. In other words, a "Continue Watching" list that includes my programs from Netflix, Prime, Hulu, HBOMax, etc, This feature has never really been fully implemented. Current programs from a few streaming services are shown, but not nearly all. One reason this was important to me is that remembering which program came from which streaming service was always challenging and an aggregated "Continue Watching" list would eliminate that problem. However, without that list I've found that the GTV voice search is another solution. If I want to watch the next episode of Goliath and can't remember where it is, I just ask GTV. A great feature.

  3. gregsedwards

    As an avid Chromecast with Google TV user, I hope they improve the support for multiple profiles. Right now, it's limited a primary account and kids accounts. You can add accounts for other adults, but they don't explicitly show up in a cohesive way across the UI. Instead, you're asked repeatedly to specify who you are each time you launch an app. I much prefer the way Xbox handles it...I can set up top-level profiles for each of my family members, and the system streamlines the available content based on who's logged in. Paired with a solution like Kinect that could detect when others were in the room, this system worked brilliantly. I realize Chromecast with Google TV doesn't really have comparable hardware to make this work but paired with a Nest camera or even a speaker, it could develop into a powerful personalization feature down the road.

  4. fergodavid

    I've found that Netflix on my Chromecast with google TV does not offer 5.1 surround Netflix UI, only 4K Ultra HD (shown in the Netflix UI). However the Netflix app on my 3 yr old Samsung TV offers both. Apple TV on the Chromecast offers 5.1 surround, so my audio experience varies between apps on the Chromecast with google TV.