Android TV gets new rows for COVID-19 news and free movies

Google announced some new features for its product today, including an update to Android TV that adds three new rows to its interface. The update is targeted specifically at users who are stuck at home in quarantine, making it easier for them to find free content to watch, to stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 news, and to browse videos tailored for the stay-home experience.

The use of streaming services is up considerably over the coronavirus lockdowns, which are forcing many people to stay home and find new ways to entertain themselves. We've already seen Amazon introduce a number of changes on its Fire TV platform in light of this, including the integration of Sling's free news content.

Joining it is competitor Google with its Android TV UI update, which adds three new rows to the home screen: Stay Home #WithMe, COVID-19 News, and Free movies from YouTube. These rows show movies that are free to stream, the latest news from various sources, and featured videos on things like live music and cooking.

All three rows source the content from YouTube, and they're all available on the Android TV platform starting today, April 22. This is one of multiple changes that Google announced today, the other being the ability to create Watchlists in Search that feature movies and TV shows you want to watch.

Using the search term 'What to watch,' Google presents users with personalized content recommendations based on what they're likely to enjoy. By tapping Watchlist, the user can add any content they like to the list, making it easier to return to it in the future. The list can be found in the Collections tab.