Last week, Google announced a new product called GoogleTV, a software platform that lets you watch video from the web on your big shiny television in the living room. This is something I’ve been doing since late 2008 by plugging my laptop into my TV and launching Boxee, a free piece of software that does almost exactly what GoogleTV purports to do. This past February I had a great chat with Andrew Kippen of Boxee about their software and the future of media delivery. As I digested Google’s announcement, I couldn’t help but wonder what Boxee was thinking about this. So I emailed Andrew, and this is what he had to say:
We obviously followed the [GoogleTV] announcement and the demo. We think that it would be great to see an open OS such as Android gain market share in the living room. It would enable users to download Boxee on their TV (we will be building an Android-based App) and start using it without the hassle of connecting their computer to the TV.
We have somewhat of a different view of browsing the web on TV. While it was a big part of the Google Demo we believe browsing the web as-is makes more sense on laptops and mobile devices (due to their personal nature, the screen size and the input device) than it does on TV. We look forward to playing with the TV and working with them to bringing Boxee to Android devices.
I wanted to make sure I read that correctly. I’ve heard they are working on an Android remote app similar to the one they have on the iPhone, but this sounds like something different:
You read correctly. if there’s a TV platform running on TVs that can deliver a great Boxee experience then we want to be there. That** **means** **we’re** **looking** **at** **developing** **an** **Android** **App** **version** **of** **Boxee** **for** **the** **upcoming** **Google** **TV. [emphasis added]
Whoa. That’s kind of a big surprise, and an exciting one for both consumers and content makers. Google announced partnerships with Dish, Sony, Adobe, Logitech, Intel and Best Buy, so it may seem as though Boxee is facing an insurmountable foe. However it is important to remember the company’s history. The software gained prominence once it found its way onto the AppleTV, which at first was a questionable install (it is still only supported by a third party). Boxee essentially beat Apple, one of the most powerful and litigious tech companies around, at its own game by bringing internet video to the television set. Andrew’s assurance that they will bring the software to the Android platform is an indication that history will repeat itself. Boxee will be anywhere where software can run and consumers will be able to choose how they want to view content. Now that I know that, I am far more excited for this new platform.
(Graphic in this post is a combination of Google’s Andorid Logo and Boxee’s Logo)