Skip to main content

Google TV is adding personalized profiles, better info in ambient mode

Get ready for recommendations on Google TV to become better, and more personalized, with the addition of top-level profiles. Starting first with Chromecast with Google TV and smart TVs from Sony and TCL, you’ll soon get recommendations that are relevant to you instead of, say, your spouse or kids — which is important for the obvious reasons.

The personalization will extend into watchlists, too, as well as Google Assistant, so you’ll get more of the right results more of the time.

The addition will mean adding a full Google account to Google TV. Google didn’t go into details on if there’d be any sort of password protection, or if one user will be able to hop into another’s account unfettered. It did, however, say that downloaded apps and logins can be used across profiles, so you’re not effectively setting up a new device two or three or four times for each user.

Google TV ambient cards.

Also getting a sprucing up is one the most underrated features of Google TV — ambient mode. You’ll start to get more personalized information and recommendations there, too, including weather, news, sports scores, and more. Here’s how Google puts it:

Google TV already lets you see your favorite memories from Google Photos when your TV is idle. Now, we’re making ambient mode more useful by bringing in more personalized information and recommendations at a glance. From the latest game score to the weather, news, and more, your TV will keep you up to date with info based on your profile. You can even scroll through the on-screen shortcuts to jump into your photos or start playing your music and podcasts with just a click. If you are off for a longer break, your TV will shift fully to your ambient mode’s photos or curated artwork after a few minutes.

One more addition coming with this update is the inclusion of low-cost streaming service Philo into the live TV provider options, along with YouTube TV and Sling TV. So if you’re using the $25-a-month streaming service, you’ll see it integrated right into the Google TV home screen.

Google says that profiles will be available to everyone globally, while the ambient mode cards will only be available in the United States at first.

Editors' Recommendations

Phil Nickinson
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
YouTube TV tips and tricks: how to get the most out Google’s live TV service
YouTube TV app icon on Apple TV.

There’s a reason YouTube TV has found itself the leader in live-streaming video. In fact, it has about twice as many subscribers to its cable-TV replacement as the next biggest platform. And. among other reasons like price, reliability, and abundance of channels, it is just packed with features.
In fact, YouTube TV has so many features tucked away in there that you’ll be forgiven if you don’t spot them all at first. But we’ve done the legwork. We’ve watched hours and hours of YouTube TV. Weeks and months, really. We’ve flipped all the buttons. We’ve pressed all the switches. (Wait — reverse that.) And we’ve put together a list of what we think are the most important — if not always obvious — YouTube TV tips and tricks. And we're not just talking about NFL Sunday Ticket.
This isn’t everything. There are still a few other places to explore in the settings menu, as well as when you’re watching shows and movies. But these are the YouTube TV tips and tricks we absolutely think you must know.

Record a show to watch later

Read more
There’s only one streaming device that lets you escape ads
A mighty tasty-looking chicken tender wrap as supposedly seen on a Chromecast with Google TV home screen.

That's a tasty-looking chicken tender wrap. User MMD3_ / Reddit

Here we go again, folks. First it was Amazon Fire TV, with a large (and apparently unescapable) ad that invaded the home screen. And Chromecast with Google TV reportedly is starting to do the same sort of thing, at least if a singular post on Reddit is any indication.

Read more
YouTube TV is finally fixing the biggest problem with multiview
College basketball in multiview on YouTube TV.

The sheer size of today's latest and greatest televisions has made multiview — the feature by which you can watch multiple channels at once — a must-have feature. That's been good for services like YouTube TV, ESPN+, Fubo, and Apple TV, which have their own implementations.

Multiview has been particularly important for YouTube TV. It's the most popular live TV service in the U.S. with more than 5 million subscribers. And it just finished its first season as the new home of NFL Sunday Ticket, which by all accounts was a pretty major success.

Read more