This week, The Wall Street Journal once again announced that Google is thinking about offering a paid Cable TV-like service in the next couple of years, shaking up rivals in the Cable TV market such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T (See the free article in Wired).
Google announced this effort back in 2010 as part of a larget effort to become an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Earlier this year, it broke ground on a high-speed network (Google Fiber) in Kansas City and at Stanford University.
Speculation is mounting on the types of services Google could offer on this network. For example, would it create packages that rival Comcast’s “Triple Play” or AT&T “U-Verse”? Would it offer premium channels that run on YouTube technology?
I think that what we’re actually seeing is the beginning of a new type of television experience. Even with today’s capabilities of “on-demand” programming, Apple TV and other interactive entertainment services, Google is poised to take this effort to the next level. Instead of live broadcasting, could Google’s Cable TV platform be entirely personalized with on-demand content such as on YouTube or Hulu? Instead of tuning into NBC each week for the “Thursday-night comedy lineup,” perhaps I’ll be able to build my own series of comedy shows from multiple networks and watch them all in one sitting, once per week. Or, instead of tuning into Good Morning America each morning, I could access a subscription of my favorite video blogs, ready to go and accessible from my television when I wake up. Add Twitter, Facebook and other social networks to the mix and now we’re having a real discussion.
There’s no doubt that the capabilities I’ve mentioned above already exist in technology – the question is if Google’s new service is willing to change the model and focus it’s product toward on-demand, personalized entertainment.