Tag Archives: Google TV

Why “free” is the millstone round Google’s neck

The launch of Google TV is, I think, exposing a hidden challenge for the company. It’s best express in this comment on a GigaOm story by user ‘lz430′:

“My jaw dropped when I saw the price. Indeed, it’s Google and I love Google and everything they’ve connected and done thus far. But as others have commented, $299 is way too much, especially coming from a company that offers 95% of it’s products for free!”

In the minds of lots of consumers, Google = Free. This will make it very difficult to break out into the paid-product market, because potential customers see Google services as something they shouldn’t have to pay a premium for.

You could see this in the expectations for the Nexus One, where a substantial number of people expected Google to subsidise a smartphone down to the $99 price point, despite this being essentially impossible if the company wanted to turn a profit (something I ranted about with much profanity in my guest appearance on Angry Mac Bastards).

Google has established a great brand, but it’s a brand based on its products being free. It will be interesting to see if it can ever make the transition into being a brand people pay for.

Why Google TV is doomed to fail

Michael Gartenberg is right on the money is his latest Entelligence column:

“The problem is the TV is not just another connected screen — the TV is the largest screen in the home, and its optimized for passive viewing of content as a shared experience. Research has shown time and time again that consumers dont want the whole internet on their TVs. Consumers simply dont want Gmail or Twitter or the “whole” web on the TV. Theres a fundamental difference between what Google is offering and what consumers want — and, importantly, what they’re willing pay for.”

I actually wonder whether Google ever tests this stuff with customers who aren’t white, single geek boys – because that’s the only market that wants “the web on TV”.