Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Problem with People and Google TV

I've had a Google TV for over a year now and I think it's great. Sure, the software wasn't amazing when it first came out and yes, the Logitech Revue seems to has less processing power than my cell phone. But I still find it awesome to watch the latest music videos and check Facebook every now and then on my TV. 

But there is one problem with the device that I don't think anyone at Google thought of. I call it the Viral Video Spiral of Death (VVSD).

 Let me describe a common scenario that I know everyone that owns a Google TV has experienced. A group of people will gather around your 55" flat screen television for an evening of snacking and sporting events. Midway through the first quarter and/or the 10th handful of Lays, someone will notice that you have a random keyboard on your coffee table and pose the following question, "Hey, what is that keyboard for?" (Note: this could be followed up with a bro, man or even chap depending on the sporting event.)

 "Oh that's my Google TV." You'll reply. "It lets me browse the internet while I watch TV. It's great for catching up on music videos."

 "Does it play YouTube videos?"


 "Oh man, my ex-coworker showed me this video where x does a y (3,940,000 results by the way) and it is hysterical! I nearly fell out of my cube at work watching it. People were staring."

And as the gracious host, during the next commercial break you will gladly pick up the keyboard and summon the video. Sure enough, it is very funny, and you find your living room briefly turned into a live version of Tosh.0.

But unfortunately, VVSD has already started. "If you think that's funny, check this out!" Friend 2 will say. "Here type in 'shit _(color)/(gender)_ people say.'" By now, the crowd has already forgotten what show they were watching in the first place as they all focus on recalling the name of that video with the epic nut shot or the cute hippos playing.

 Each video watched by the group is followed by a video that is "even better" than the last in an endless cycle. VVSD is a very real problem and you can be stuck for hours watching video after video. But here's where the Logitech Revue's under-powered processor and Google's buggy beta software actually work in your favor. The system will crash. That you can be certain. This feature instantly brings everyone back to their regularly scheduled programming. The spiral is broken, and the people are free. At least until the next commercial.

 Everyone who owns a Google TV and a group of friends has experienced this phenomenon, and it will continue as long as viral videos go un-watched. So hide yo' keyboard, hide yo' wife, and prevent the VVSD from spreading. Know the warning signs, and get tested regularly.

Oh, by the way, have you seen the video where the baby talks to the goat while it's milked? Hysterical!