Google TV is finally getting a major feature that should’ve been there at launch







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TL;DR

  • Google will soon roll out user profiles to Google TV, allowing each user in the household to have their own personalized space when using the platform.
  • This news comes over a year after Google TV’s debut in September 2020.
  • Ambient mode on Google TV is also getting an update with glanceable cards containing game scores, weather info, news, and more.

Google TV debuted over a year ago. For everything the platform got right — a user-friendly interface, deep Assistant integration, compatibility with other services, and more — there was one glaring omission: individual user profiles. Thankfully, Google has heard our cries and is now doing something about it.

Today, the company announced that individual Google TV profiles are coming soon. Personal profiles allow each member of your household to set up their unique profile within the Google TV interface, allowing them to receive their own TV and movie recommendations and add media to their personal watchlists. Google Assistant will also be available on each profile, which will be tied to the individual’s Google account. This means you’ll receive personalized Assistant recommendations on your Google TV profile, just like you would on any other Assistant-capable device.

Google says downloaded apps and app logins will be used across all user profiles, so you won’t need to start the setup process from scratch each time you set up a new profile. Handy.

Related: Google Chromecast with Google TV review

google tv Glanceable cards in Ambient mode copy

Ambient mode on Google TV kicks in when you’re not actively watching something. It can shuffle through your Google Photos library or a curated art gallery. Beyond that, it shows basic information like the weather and time. This mode is also getting a nice upgrade in the coming weeks. Google is adding glanceable cards to ambient mode, which will display sports scores, the weather, news, and more, all based on the user profile. You can scroll through each card if you want more information or leave it be for a few minutes to activate full ambient mode to see your Photos library or curated artwork.

User profiles and glanceable cards in ambient mode will roll out on Chromecast with Google TV and on Google TVs from Sony and TCL sometime “soon.” Google says profiles will be available globally, though ambient mode cards will only be available in the US in the beginning.

Two more updates on the Google TV front. Coming sometime “soon,” the Google Home app on Android and iOS will gain a virtual remote feature, which can be used to control Google TV and Android TV devices — no need for a dedicated remote.

And finally, Google has integrated Philo into its live TV offerings, in addition to YouTube TV and Sling TV. You’ll be able to see Philo live TV suggestions in the Live TV tab in Google TV after adding Philo as your Live TV provider.

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