In Short

In an attempt to expand beyond phones and tablets to gather more attention in the living room, Google launched its Google TV platform in early 2010. In its initial launch Google TV was a highly customized version of Android 2.1, though through the years it was eventually updated all the way to Android 4.2 as the platform progressed. Google TV was designed to be used from a standard TV-style remote, but also with keyboards and touchpads for faster navigation.

It took several months after launch for actual devices running Google TV to hit the market, with initial retail availability being pushed to the middle of 2011. Big names like Logitech, Sony, ASUS, Vizio and more well all on-board and made at least one Google TV product. The majority of Google TV devices were dedicated set top boxes, which offered HDMI passthrough so that the Google TV interface could be put on top of your cable television and the single remote could control your home entertainment system. When searching for content Google TV would pull in suggestions from cable TV, as well as video on demand services and even web pages meant to be viewed on a computer.

Google TV struggled with a somewhat clunky interface that often ran on lower-end hardware, and because of complicated home entertainment setups it wasn't always a plug-and-play affair when buying it. Content providers weren't a fan of the way Google TV pulled in content from the internet and displayed it on the TV either, leading to crude content blocks and a lack of deals to bring major network apps to the platform. The combination of factors eventually caused Google TV to be considered a general failure, and devices began to wither on the vine starting in 2012.

Unfortunately Google's first real venture into the living room was short lived, but Google TV quickly made way for two new initiatives: Chromecast and Android TV that each have fared much better.