Friday, August 6, 2010

Google for TV?

Someone once said the sum of human knowledge is on the Internet, but not in alphabetical order. This is essentially the problem which made Google a viable business. Information is useless if you can't find what you need when you need it. Anyone who's seen my office understands this.

Fortunately, there is Google. There are even alternatives, for those who don't care for Google. But the word google itself has now become a generic term for seeking information. And it's how the Internet, or more specifically, the World Wide Web, has been tamed.

On the other hand, I now have something like 1500 or 1600 channels available on my TV. Ok, I don't actually subscribe to all of them, but they're there if I need them, just a remote control click away. And yet, with all those channels, plus On Demand, I can rarely find something I actually want to watch. (Once you've seen all the reruns of Frazier, Friends, and Everybody Loves Raymond a few times, they wear a bit thin.) I page through the on-screen program guide until my eyes glaze over: four screens of sports channels, a picante helping of Spanish-language channels, a smattering of Golden Age sitcoms and infomercials, and plenty of just plain crap. I swear I'm getting repetitive stress injuries in my Page Up/Page Down operating fingers.

So what we really need is Google for TV. Think of it. A single screen where you can enter what you want to watch ... and get it. Just type "romantic comedy" when your brain's on sabbatical. "Thriller" gets you those great Brian dePalma movies ... once you scroll past the Michael Jackson videos. "Scifi" brings you to the real thing, Lucas films having been categorized as "space opera." "Cops," "Doctors," and "Lawyers" bring you all the current one-hour dramas, while "mindless" gets you to sitcoms.

Unfortunately, "news" comes up empty.