Media

Google execs: Google TV's killer feature is openness

At a session with journalists this morning, Google executives responded directly to questions about why they think Google TV will succeed against competing services and devices from companies like Yahoo and Apple.

Rishi Chandra, a senior product manager at Google, highlighted a few key points. First, he noted that there was a wide range of partner companies on-stage with Google, showing that the “TV ecosystem” is on-board with Google’s plans — Sony will be selling a television with built-in Google TV capabilities, Logitech will sell a device that enables Google TV on existing televisions, the Dish Network will bring Google TV to its subscribers, and Best Buy will sell Google TV devices.

Chandra added that the “fundamental difference” is that Google’s approach is open, because Android is an open-source operating system. So other companies can take the system and build their own devices on top of it. That’s a fun contrast with a statement that the Founders Fund’s Dave McClure made at the conference yesterday: “Open is for losers.”

(On the device front, one journalist asked whether Google TV will work on Sony’s PlayStation, and Google chief executive Eric Schmidt laughed and said, “That’s a great idea!”)

Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra (pictured above in a photo from yesterday) added that the skepticism over Google’s TV plans sounded “eerily similar” to the questions asked when the company first launched its Android operating system. And earlier today, Google had highlighted Android’s popularity, with 100,000 devices activated every day and 50,000 apps total.

“If you look at the success we’ve had with Android, I think you’re going to see us have similar success here,” Gundotra said.