Google has announced a major upgrade to its YouTube online video behemoth as it runs over the Google TV service.The search giant says that the update to the YouTube experience on Google TV will make it faster and easier to find content, adding YouTube channel pages, and giving users more control over their experience.
In another example of vertical integration across the Google estate, the company has also made it possible to update the Google TV app through Android Market and that the app will in any case work faster with smoother navigation for a better experience. As befitting the core business activity of Google, the app also boasts a new feature called Discover, which helps users browse YouTube channels by categories.
The new channel pages are designed to enable users to navigate through playlists and videos in designated favourite channels, and to give them single-click subscription to channels from the YouTube app. Users will also be able to see related videos and more videos from the same user by pressing the up or down arrows on your remote.
Giving such a boost to the apps looks like a priority for Google. According to research from app discovery firm Xyologic, to date Google TV apps have a total installed base of 4,793,000 with six of these apps - pre-installed at Google TVs - combine to 4,441,000 of these installs. The research adds that only 352,000 Google TV exclusive Android apps have been downloaded so far and compares poorly to rival platforms such as Samsung Apps TV which it says has grown to 10 million downloads just five months after reaching 5 million downloads in May 2011.
In a rather cutting analysis of Google TV to date, Xyologic added: “the low user ratings we see in Google TV exclusive apps seem to confirm an underwhelming experience for users. Most apps, particularly the pre-installed exclusive apps which have the dominant share of the install base aka have been the apps which defined the Google TV experience for most consumers, have low ratings.”