It seems that one of the beta testers for Google TV couldn’t keep all that goodness to himself, and has posted several pictures and some video of the near-finished interface and hardware. It’s a brief and not particularly shocking video, but seeing it running on a home TV and hearing a regular guy expressing legitimate (if subdued) excitement make it a lot more real. Sorry about the ad before the content, by the way, but you should probably get used to it.
The interface looks more or less the same as when it was introduced: nested menu items starting on the left, search bar able to be evoked at any time. There are a few minor visual differences, for instance the bookmarks layout and thumbnails have been tweaked. Interestingly, “Applications” is listed twice.
The “What’s On TV” category looks handy; apparently it works as long as your cable or satellite provider has some category metadata, which is most if not all of them. I also note an Amazon menu item, which means you’ll be able to get those 99c TV downloads we heard about almost immediately after the Apple TV announcement. I pictured a world without two data pipes coming into your house, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen just yet. This is too effective a way to watch regular TV.
Navigation is effected with the keyboard pictured above, which has a built-in trackpad and d-pad, or via any Harmony controller, including the Harmony Connect app.
The Logitech hardware looks solid; I like the two USB ports plus HDMI in. That means sharing what you’ve got around the house, be it on your camcorder or a five-year-old USB drive.
Unfortunately our narrator did not demonstrate anything as far as searching or navigating recorded shows, or talk about the experience of having shows backed up to the cloud. Let’s hope for a sequel. I have to say, it’s looking pretty nice. I doubt it will cost as little as the Apple TV, but I wouldn’t put it beyond Google to work something out by which it is very competitive. After all, it stands to make a lot of money off owning your TV as well as your browser, your email, your phone, and… you know, your everything.