Google TV Exec: We Owe It All to the iPhone

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One of the most important inspirations for Google TV was Apple’s (s AAPL) iPhone, Google (s GOOG) TV Product Lead Rishi Chandra revealed during a keynote at the Streaming Media West Conference today. Chandra spent much of his keynote talking about why the time is right for a new approach to bringing web content to the TV, and he compared the space with the way mobile phones accessed the web five years ago. Back then, most operators tried to package the web for mobile devices –- and all of them failed. “Apple threw out that assumption,” said Chandra.

Are you interested in hearing more about Google TV? Then check out our NewTeeVee Live conference, coming up on November 10 in San Francisco, where we will quiz Rishi Chandra about the future of this platform.

Apple refused to optimize the web, and instead just served web sites as is on its devices. Content creators soon noticed a spike of mobile traffic coming from the iPhone, and soon after started to optimize their site for the iPhone. Essentially, Apple solved the chicken-and-egg problem and in turn kickstarted the mobile web. Google now hopes to do the same by bringing a full browser onto the TV.

“You need to bring all of the content onto the TV today, even if it’s not optimized,” said Chandra. In fact, the company is taking another lesson from Apple’s playbook by coming out with a browser first, and adding access to the Android Marketplace early next year. “It took a full year for the app store to come to the iPhone,” reminded Chandra his audience.

Of course, Google TV is based on Android, with which Google is competing with the iPhone, and Chandra acknowledged this part of the product’s heritage by emphasizing that another important lesson from the mobile space has been to open source Google TV. “If you open source the platform, then all of a sudden you’re bringing the entire industry, the entire ecosystem on your side,” he said.

Chandra also briefly talked about Google TV’s challenges with broadcasters who have been blocking access to online content. He joked that most of this broadcast content is actually available on Google TV through your cable or satellite service, but said that Google is trying to make as much content available on its platform as possible.

Check out an interview I did with Chandra a few days ago below:

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