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Google’s TV-focused branding is kind of weird. So when I say Google TV, am I talking about A) the short-lived precursor to Android TV, B) the new interface that runs over Android TV (but isn’t exactly the same thing), C) the thing that let you buy and rent TV episodes via Google Play, or D) the new app that also lets you do that, but kinda sorta controls Google TV (the one from B)?
The answer is the last one. I think.
Google announced this refreshed version of the Google TV phone app via the Google TV blog. The update makes the home page a little more attractive and a little less useful, because now all of the thumbnails are in a 16:9 ratio that mimics the shows and movies themselves. On the plus side, you’ll see more rows of recommendations based on the same kind of algorithmic input that you see on Google TV (the one that runs on top of Android TV). Actually, that may not be a plus, depending on how you feel about those recommendations.
Old homescreen on the left, new on the right.
Oh hey, Google is highlighting Ted Lasso, a show exclusive to Apple’s streaming service. That’s weird. But speaking of services, Google TV can now pull content and viewing history from more of them. The new streaming apps added to the platform include:
- Cartoon Network
- PBS kids
- YouTube TV*
*Yes, YouTube TV wasn’t in there before, despite being entirely owned and operated by Google. Crazy, huh? Anyway, you’ll be able to find, add, and remove the new services by tapping your user icon and then selecting “manage services.” The new version of the app isn’t yet on the Play Store, and no one has uploaded it to APK Mirror, either. We’ll keep an eye out for it.