NYT and WSJ Trash Google TV

written by: Richard Kastelein

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The principal technology reviewers at the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal trashed Google TV this week in two columns that were highly critical of Google's move to merge the web and television.

I am not surprised. Though I agree with some elements in both of their views to a certain extent - I also feel that being Baby Boomers, they are both perhaps a little out-of-touch in terms of the user base under 50. To be fair, neither of then have written off Google TV - but they sure don't like it too much. 

The NYT's David Pogue notes:

"It will probably take a long time, and a lot more refinement, before Google TV is attractive to anyone besides tech-heads — especially when, for only $60, you can get most of the same stuff (Netflix, Amazon on demand, Pandora, Major League Baseball, apps) on a Roku box."

"This much is clear: Google TV may be interesting to technophiles, but it's not for average people. On the great timeline of television history, Google TV takes an enormous step in the wrong direction: toward complexity."

In the video below Walt Mossberg, of the Wall Street Journal's All Things D,  says his wife says, "No way" to the keyboard. I guess a game controller would also not fit in the Mossberg house too comfortably.  He also notes that search  process was frustrating and dissappointing.

"...It's not baked, it's not ready, it's not finished."

He did add however that Google TV has its strong points but it was just not ready.


Not to shoot the messengers too much... But.

Pogue is somewhat of an Apple Fan Boy who drools over anything Mac. He began writing for Macworld magazine in 1988 and originally penned Macs for Dummies. He loved Apple TV when it came out in 2007.

"In the end, these early attempts to bridge the gulf between computer and TV perfectly reinforce the conventional wisdom about Apple: Apple TV offers a gracious, delightful experience — but requires fidelity to Apple's walled garden. Its rivals, meanwhile, offer many more features, but they're piled into bulkier boxes with much less concern for refinement, logic or simplicity."

In his original video review of Apple TV which screams advertorial he even notes that he wishes he could get his Microsoft documents on his TV which curiously contrasts with his writing that the Web has no place in the living room:

"The rest of us, however, are overwhelmed by cultural inertia. Computers are for work, TVs are for vegging out, and that's final."

Walt Mossberg? They call him the Kingmaker as he has been making or breaking products from his perch at The Wall Street Journal since 1991 - before most of the likely Google TV adopters were even born.

The opening line of his first "Personal Technology" column some twenty years ago?

"Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it isn't your fault."

He wrote of the Apple Cube in 2000:

"This is simply the most gorgeous personal computer I've ever seen or used."

Result? Apple's stock price jumped 10 percent the day after his Cube review hit stands.

Mossberg also loved the Apple TV when it came out.

"We've been testing Apple TV for the past 10 days or so, and our verdict is that it's a beautifully designed, easy-to-use product that should be very attractive to people with widescreen TV sets and lots of music, videos, and photos stored on computers. It has some notable limitations, but we really liked it. It is classic Apple: simple and elegant."

"...But, all in all, Apple TV is a very well-designed product that easily brings the computer and the TV together."

Mossberg's access to Steve Jobs is well noted. Note this article in Media Bistro, "Steve Jobs Speaks! To Walt Mossberg And No One Else, Thank You." He was the only press allowed in the inner circle during the iPad release it appears.

Reuters gave a first hand account of the scene:

Most of the people gathered around Jobs and Mossberg were not fellow reporters hunting for a quote, but a squad of no-nonsense, plain-clothed Apple staffers who had formed a human cordon around their leader. The only other person allowed within the safe zone was Mossberg, and any reporters who attempted to get near were physically blocked and pushed back.

Wonder how his 'access' to Jobs would stand if he gave a thumbs up to Google TV? Or slagged an Apple product for that matter? Mossberg is also not too fond of Open Source Software which does not surprise me.

It would be interesting for the WSJ and the NYTs to include some Millennial - Generation Y commentary in their review system rather than the opines of Boomers. Then again, Pogue recently declared:

"I Could Not Name You An Under-25 Year Old Who Subscribes To A Print Newspaper."  

So apparently they are not reading him anyway. They rely on the Internet and TV to get their news. Funny enough - just what Google is piecing together. 

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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