Today, when launching a new technological product or advancement, to scale quickly and gain major traction, social networks, tech companies and search firms recruit the assistance of third party application developers. Similar approaches have been successfully undertaken by Facebook and Twitter. It appears Google TV will also be venturing into these waters as they shift the development of Google TV into high gear.
May 19 may be the day developers get their first peek at Google's new TV technology, when 3,000 developers descend on San Francisco to attend this year's Google I/O Conference. It's there, rumor has it that Google is planning to introduce their Android-based television software.
Addressing developers most likely means that Google wants them to start creating applications for its TV platform similarly to what Apple did to build its vast inventory of applications for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad.
According to the New York Times, Google is working on a set-top box that will integrate web services like Twitter and Facebook with sites like Hulu, YouTube and Google's own Picasa.
Sony Corp, Intel Corp and Logitech International SA are all expected to offer products that will support the software. Google is also testing a TV search service with the Dish Network. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, none of these companies have confirmed any details regarding these partnerships publicly.
And without these hardware makers making formal commitments, third party developers may be less inclined to take the leap of faith and invest their time and resources. For instance, while Sony is reviewing using Android software for some of its other products, according to the Wall Street Journal report, it is not "betting exclusively on the technology."
The other missing ingredient in this mix is consideration by these third party developers as to how Apple TV will evolve in the foreseeable future. Often called "Apple's hobby," up till now Apple has not moved the needle all that much. As a front end to the iTunes Store, the Apple TV does its job well. But people obviously want it to do more. As computers and TVs merge into a single device, Apple should identify a clear role for its hobby - either make it a competitor or let it remain in its toy-like status.
If it becomes a true competitor of Google TV, I think those third party developers might move even more cautiously while waging the pros and cons of how much skin they want to put into the Google or Apple TV games?