Google TV exploring fitness, smart home control, and other new features for 2022

Google TV product management director Rob Caruso has outlined what the company’s plans are for its TV operating system in 2022 in a new interview with Protocol. While Caruso stopped short of making any specific feature announcements, he said the company is interested in offering fitness and video conferencing services through Google TV and better smart home controls.

Caruso called fitness a “big area to explore” and cited recent changes to Android smart home control (which, for example, made it easily accessible from a phone’s power menu) as a clue to what could come to Google TV. Zoom was cited as a potential addition to the platform (Google’s own Duo video calling service is already available), saying Google is also interested in expanding the amount of free live programming available on its platform.

Caruso also discussed the situation with Netflix on Google TV. Although the video streaming service is compatible with Google’s platform, it does not use some of its advanced features. Protocol notes that Netflix shows can’t be added to Google TV’s OS-level watchlist, for example. Caruso did not promise that this will change, but said he hopes the situation will improve as Google incorporates valuable new features into its operating system.

Although Google’s TV operating system typically doesn’t get as much attention as its Android mobile operating system, it’s still used by millions of devices around the world. As of this month, Google says that there are around 110 million Android TV devices in use worldwide, and that seven of the top 10 smart TV makers use its software. This includes both Android TV itself and devices running the newer Google TV launcher alongside it.

The focus areas are similar to those available on Apple and Amazon’s competing Smart TV platforms. Apple’s Fitness Plus service lets you stream workouts to an Apple TV, and Zoom is available on some of Amazon’s TV devices. But given the enormous reach of Google’s TV operating system, it would be nice to see it reach parity with these other services.

No firm release dates were provided for any of these new features, but Caruso said he expects some to come “sometime later this year.”

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