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Google TV, Personalization, and the Friday Night Experience

Learn more about the OTT user experience at Streaming Media East 2022.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Shobana Radhakrishnan: With Google TV, the premise we had--and all of us can relate to this--is the "Friday evening experience." You're sitting in front of your TV after a long work week, maybe with your significant other. And you're trying to find something to watch. And you turn the TV on, you'll spend maybe 20, 30, or even more minutes looking for things sometimes, and you still don't find the thing that you want to spend a couple of hours watching. And we see that in the market data. We saw it for a while and we said, "Why don't we try to try to bring a personalized content experience where I don't have to go into individual apps and search and spend a lot of time?"

But Google is able to see what the user may be generally interested in, what is current, if it's live, for example, and try to bring a content-forward experience. So when you turn the TV on, you see pieces of content that maybe you want to engage with, rather than trying to go into individual apps search for it. And as a platform, this is also something we can do to help our content partners find their users, matching the content with the users and bringing eyeballs to where the content lives that the users want to consume. That was the basic idea behind Google TV, which was launched with Chromecast back in September 2020, and then with Sony and TCL since then. And a part of that was to say, "Can we look at Google search recommendations engine, but bring the power of that engine, personalized for content search, to help users?" At the same time, we also rely fairly heavily on both explicit and implicit signals from the users, because this is not just about packaging stuff and thrusting it in front of users, but giving users the freedom to tell us their preferences. We make sure we understand what users are subscribed to and not throwing random content in front of them.

And we have seen that users are reacting well so far to this experience because it's cut out a lot of the search time looking for content. And we are able to bring the best of the content, and again, the wide variety. Some people watch a lot more sports than movies. Some people are about shows. They just want to spend 30 minutes move on. Some people are about binge watching. They want to keep watching until the series is done. So we we want to incorporate the user's personal habits into how the recommendations work for them rather than the global thing that we push in front of users. So far, we have seen positive reception for this approach from users.

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