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Google TV exploring fitness, smart home control, and other new features for 2022

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With hopes the service’s Netflix support will improve

Google’s 2020 Chromecast with Google TV.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Google TV’s director of product management Rob Caruso has outlined what the company’s plans are for its TV operating system in 2022 in a new interview with Protocol. While Caruso stopped short of making any specific feature announcements, he said that the company is interested in offering fitness and video conferencing services though Google TV, and better smart home controls.

Caruso called fitness a “big area of exploration,” and cited Android’s recent smart home control changes (which, for example, made them easily accessible from a phone’s power menu) as a clue for what might come to Google TV. Zoom was cited as a potential addition to the platform (Google’s own Duo video calling service is already available), and he said Google is also interested in expanding the amount of free live programming available on its platform.

Caruso also spoke to the situation with Netflix on Google TV. Although the video streaming service is supported on Google’s platform, it doesn’t make use of some of its advanced features. Protocol notes that Netflix shows can’t be added to Google TV’s OS-level watchlist, for example. Caruso didn’t promise that this will change, but said that he hopes the situation will improve as Google builds worthwhile new features into its OS.

Although Google’s TV operating system doesn’t typically get as much attention as its Android mobile OS, it’s still used by millions of devices around the world. As of this month, Google says there are around 110 million Android TV devices in use globally, and that seven of the top 10 smart TV manufacturers use its software. This includes both Android TV itself, as well as devices running the newer Google TV launcher alongside it.

The areas of focus are similar to what are available on competing smart TV platforms from Apple and Amazon. Apple’s Fitness Plus service allows you to stream workouts to an Apple TV, and Zoom is available on some of Amazon’s TV devices. But given the huge reach of Google’s TV operating system, it would be good to see it reach parity with these other services.

No firm release dates for any of these new features were provided, but Caruso said that he hopes some might be introduced “at some point later this year.”