Google Inc (GOOG) Unveils Its Latest Set-Top Box

Google MountainView Campus

Google I/O, the annual developer conference, where Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) showcases its future products and services is about to commence. Google is competing with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) in the living room space. The company believes that its expertise in search will give it an edge over its rivals. Google’s success depends on its ability to leverage its search engine capabilities to deliver personalized recommendations to users.

The set-top box domain has seen offerings from Roku, Amazon, Apple, Google and other competitors. The three parts of Google’s living room arsenal are Chromecast, Google Cast, and Android TV.

Chromecast 2

There has been considerable speculation of a new Chromecast with an upgrade to the 5 GHz WI-Fi spectrum. Google’s product has two drawbacks namely poor quality HD streaming and lack of an Amazon Prime Instant Video app in the Chromecast store.

The small stick fits into the TV’s HDMI port and enables the broadcasting of streaming video or audio from your preferred mobile device to your biggest screen.

Google Cast

The software behind Chromecast will have new applications particularly as native integration with LG’s high-quality speaker systems. Spotify is not present in the Google Cast line of compatible apps.

Android TV

Android TV is Google’s chance to redeem itself after many false starts with Google TV. Last year, at Google’s conference news of Android TV, was first given. There were plans for integrating the product into hardware by manufacturer’s such as Sony, Sharp, and TPVision. Since then it has evolved into Google’s version of a big OS. Fundamentally, the system integrates video demand streaming services such as NetFlix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) without requiring a Chromecast. It also comes with apps such as Sling TV and games.

The OS has voice search and optimizing capabilities for font and image sizes. Recommendations are made depending upon viewing history.

Apple’s strength is its product ecosystem and strong allies while Amazon’s is its value plays. Google is seeking to harness its search engine capabilities to transform the living room.