Okay, so Google TV didn't work out exactly as Google probably hoped it would. While not technically dead, Google TV is at least on life support while Google pushes the $35 Chromecast dongle. If you still want to give Google TV a shot, Groupon is offering an Asus Cube for less (after rebate) than the cost of a Chromecast.
Last month YouTube for Google TV vanished from the Play Store like a vampire slain by Lincoln himself, quietly fading from public view, seen only by those who had previously downloaded it and already knew of its existence. But like the immortal being that it is, YouTube has risen back from the dead. Not only that, it's stronger, having now received a relatively minor update to version 1.7.5.
In a move that few would have predicted, YouTube for Google TV seems to have been removed from the Play Store. People who have downloaded it previously can still see its entry, but beyond that, it's as good as dead. Further, there appears to be no alternative app to replace it. That doesn't mean there won't be, though. It's possible that the primary YouTube app could be updated with Google TV support in the future, but without a confirmation from Google, all we can do is speculate at this point.
If you haven't heard, Google makes a ton of Android apps. It can be a real hassle to keep up with them all, as the company is occasionally prone to updating a handful of them at once. So today we're lumping together new versions of My Tracks, Google Fiber, Google TV Search, Google Shopping Express, and Voice Search for Google TV all in one post. Links and changelogs for all five apps are available below.
Updates don't alway meet their deadlines, and that's fine. The Android 4.2.2 Google TV update that LG promised back in May may be late, but it's here, at least for some models. This is big news for people who have invested in Google's television offering, as it bumps the platform up from a rather old Android 3.2 Honeycomb base.
Unfortunately, some things are lost in transition. While updated Google TVs will have better mobile app compatibility thanks to Android NDK support, the Chrome browser has changed from the PC to the Android version, meaning there's no Flash support.
Netflix customers now all have the option to stream their favorite television shows and movies in the highest quality bit rate that the company offers. HD? No, Super HD. It's 1080p, but with less compression. Netflix first rolled out this higher quality offering way back in January, but they only worked with ISPs with whom they have a direct connection. Now they're ready to stream Super HD to everyone. They're also hoping more ISPs will adopt Netflix Open Connect, their video content delivery network that tries to reduce internet congestion by storing content on servers as close to users as possible.
I know, Chromecast and Google TV are obviously two different products. They don't share the same features or functionality, and one can be wildly more expensive than the other. But they're also attempting to solve the same problem, albeit with competing philosophies. That problem? Making your TV smarter.
The Chromecast chooses to do this as a sort of 'bridge,' making your smartphone, tablet, or computer the control center for your TV, while the Chromecast itself just acts as a sort of facilitator for this process.
We've shared some rather cool things you can do with Google TV in the past, but if you happen to have one, chances are you actually want to use it for watching video every now and then. While Netflix, Crackle, and YouTube may be enough to provide your movie, sitcom, and cat fix, none of them offer much in the way of news reporting. Now there's no chance I could introduce a source that would please all of our readers, but I'm sure at some of you will be pleased to know that AOL has released HuffPost Live for Google TV.
Update: It turns out you can get a Samsung HomeSync in the US... if you live in the greater Chicago area. AT&T is selling the devices at its flagship store on Michigan Avenue, and only at this store. We called up the location for information about pricing and availability, here's what we were told: the HomeSync is $299 (no contracts or anything), is currently in stock at that location, and you do not have to be an AT&T customer to purchase one.