New data from app search firm Xyologic released this morning paints a picture of the relative success (or lack thereof) of the Google TV platform. By examining the install base for the apps exclusive to the Google TV platform, it’s clear that the Google media center product is still only attracting a niche crowd of early adopters. Of the nearly 4.8 million installed apps that are exclusive to Google TV, only 352,000 of them represent user downloads – the remaining 4,441,000 are pre-installed applications.
Xyologic, which has been following Google TV since August 2011, notes that there are 64 total apps which are exclusive to the Google TV platform, forming a total install base of 4,793,000. These would be the apps most attractive to the platform’s end users, as they’ve been customized and designed for the big screen. Watching for trends among this group can give you insight into the platform’s overall health and performance as well as Google TV user preferences.
Not surprisingly, the six pre-installed apps account for the top six apps by install base (4,441,000 installs). These include Napster for Google TV, Pandora for Google TV, CNBC for Google TV, TV & Movies for Google TV, Photos for Google TV and Twitter for Google TV.
The remaining exclusive Google TV apps that round out the top 10 include Redux for Google TV, CNNMoney for Google TV, Maps for Google TV, MotorTrend and Thuuz Sports for Google TV. These account for just 58,000 installs last month.
Xyologic also points out that Google TV’s exclusive apps have low ratings – something which seems to confirm “an underwhelming experience for users,” the company says in its report. Meanwhile, non-exclusive Google TV apps are seeing higher ratings but significantly lower number of downloads. The top non-exclusive apps currently include Classy Fireplace, Dragon, Fly! Free, CuevanAndroid, Google Music, aVia Media Player, Solitaire, Fireworks – the Best Free Game,IM+, BuddyTV and tinyCam Monitor Free.
TL;DR: Google TV is not very popular.
So far, only LG and Sony have shipped Google TV devices, and despite criticism regarding their looks, pricing and Google TV itself, both have decided to stick with the platform for now. At January’s CES, LG showed off its new Google TV set, for example, but hedged its bets by also rolling out its own Smart TV platform in the event of a total Google TV flop. Sony, meanwhile, launched a new Blu-ray player with Google TV baked in.
Google, too, continues to try and drum up interest for Google TV. Late last week, it teased “big improvements” for Google TV, then proceeded to underwhelm. The big news was an improved YouTube app. Hooray.
In an effort to continue tracking this space, Xyologic has launched an early version of its search service specifically for Google TV apps today which initially includes 170 apps in its index.
But the firm’s conclusion as to what this data means, mirrors that of most industry observers: it may be the early days for Google TV, but the industry is now moving to Smart TVs – those with apps, streaming, browsing, conferencing, etc. built in. Unless Google TV can find a foothold as the preferred Smart TV backend, its chances for success, especially if that rumored Apple “iTV” launches this year – could be slim.