The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is working with DISH Network in testing a variation of their search algorithm that is customized specifically for TV. Since the WSJ site is for subscribers only, we have analyzed AppScout’s article for this post.
I’m currently a DISH customer, and I must say that the ability to find programs that you want to watch is ridiculously hard. Sure, it’s easy if you know the name of the show you are looking for, but finding one in terms of content or detailed subject matter is just not very easy. This seems to be a common theme for cable/satellite operators, as I’ve been told by someone who is a customer of AT&T’s more advanced UVerse system there is no drilled-down search capabilities in their system either.
The problem with traditional satellite and cable TV search functionality is that there really is no way to do any type of contextual search. Sure, one can look for a show title or a genre, but there isn’t really a way to drill down to actors, studios and specific content of a program. For those of us who are used to using internet search engines to find things easily, this presents a problem to the more traditional environment of television.
That’s why I think Google testing this could potentially be a win for TV. Many people are switching their video tastes to YouTube or Hulu, so these operators need to do something drastic to continue to attract younger customers. Plus, DISH Network is not one of the top tier providers. So, much like T-Mobile starting out early providing Android devices which resulted in them getting the first crack at the Nexus One smartphone, this could benefit DISH as a content provider.
What DISH Network should really do is drop their proprietary set-top box operating system and use a customized version of Chrome OS. Why not? It would probably be a faster experience, and the architecture would provide better user interaction and interoperability with the web. The problem has been that cable and satellite companies have wanted to keep these two realms apart, but expect to see them converge more often then not in the future.