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…
Chromecast with Google TV makes the leap to Android 12
Chromecast with Google TV.

Chromecast with Google TV is no spring chicken, having just had its second birthday. But it's hardly being put out to pasture — and a new software update makes that clear. The first device with the new "Google TV" (as opposed to the old Google TV of yore, but we digress) operating system and user interface has just made the leap from Android 10 to Android 12.

And before anyone hops in and says, "but Chromecast runs Google TV and not Android TV!!!" -- we're just going to go ahead and stop you right there. Call it what you want — and Google's definitely called it both, including in this new changelog — but the end result is that it's now on "Android TV OS 12," according to the changelog for version STTE.220621.019.A2. You'll also now be on the July 2022 security patch.

Read more
YouTube TV now lets you subscribe to some add-ons without a base plan
YouTube TV on Apple TV.

À la carte TV is a myth. The idea that you can subscribe to -- and pay for -- channels individually is just something that the money folks will never let happen. The closest we're going to get is with something like Sling TV, which sports smaller packages with a plethora of add-ons that you can mix and match.

But YouTube TV is now doing something a little different, giving you the opportunity to subscribe to a number of networks on their own without also subscribing to the $65-a-month base YouTube TV plan.

Read more
Google’s new Chromecast is cheaper, tops out at HD resolution
Chromecast with Google TV.

Google, as had been rumored, today announced a newer, cheaper Chromecast with Google TV, and one that tops out at HD resolution and does not support better 4K UHD resolution.

The new $30 dongle looks and acts just like the $50 model, only this one is limited to 1080p and 60 frames per second. It still supports HDR, however, that's limited to HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG, and it lacks Dolby Vision.

Read more