After its launch last October, Google TV is finally getting one of its most requested features: multi-user profile support.
Google TV is a revamp and rebrand of Google’s Android TV operating system – it’s Android, but adapted for televisions with a big screen user interface. Currently, there are still a few Android TV boxes on the market, but Google reportedly plans to phase out the “Android TV” brand by 2022, in favor of using Google TV branding everywhere. Google TV is the next version of Android TV.
The flagship feature of Google TV is the new home screen, which is designed around a content recommendations engine. Instead of the usual grid of streaming app icons, Google TV displays the programs itself on the home screen, prioritizing what’s important — the content — and prioritizing which service it’s from. The problem with Google TV’s recommendation approach is that the system hasn’t had profile support for a year, so every user of the TV has an impact on the single list of recommended content.
With multi-user support, the Google TV home screen finally makes sense. A kids’ streaming from Sesame Street will not conflict with adult streaming Squid game. Users get their own recommendations. Multi-user support also means that the Google TV watch list is now tracked for individual users. In addition, profiles can access their personal Google account information through the Google Assistant, so you can ask things like “show me my calendar” and get a relevant result.
With profile support, Google TV’s ambient mode, which is displayed while the TV is idle, is also upgraded with more personalized information. Google says, “From the latest game score to the weather, news and more, your TV will keep you up to date with information based on your profile. You can even scroll through the on-screen shortcuts to jump to your photos or listen to your music.” and podcasts with just one click.”
Ambient mode is US-only for now, but Google says profile support will soon be rolled out globally to Google TV devices from Sony, TCL, and the new Google Chromecast.