As with its messaging services and, more recently, music streaming, Google’s video entertainment strategy isn’t exactly the most consistent. It has flip-flopped on that as well, and its latest attempt is just as confusing. Google TV, which refers to an app as well as an unrelated Android TV skin, tries to consolidate not just Google’s own videos and movies but content from other sources as well. Those sources, however, have strangely lost one important member as users report Netflix’s practical disappearance from the app.
Google TV, the Android app, not the Chromecast UI, is meant to be a hub for all things video on your phone. It is pretty much a search engine for VODs and allows you to link to streaming services so that you won’t have to search each one separately. It’s convenience, however, relies on the number of data sources it can search through.
Unfortunately, Netflix might no longer be one of those sources. Users first started reporting that Netflix shows wouldn’t show up in results or that they couldn’t be added to their watchlist. Now, 9to5Google also revealed that Netflix was no longer in the list of services you could sign into in the Google TV app. When asked to comment, Google’s response is almost telling:
“With Google TV, our goal is to bring the best of our search and discovery features across your subscriptions to your favorite devices. We work with each content partner to enable these entertainment experiences, and the level of integration will vary by partner.”
It’s pretty much a roundabout way of saying that there has been some miscommunication or disagreement between Google and a content partner, in this case, Netflix. Whether it’s temporary or permanent, we can only wait and see. Either way, it’s a surprising development just a month or so after Google TV’s debut.
To be clear, Netflix is still available on the new Chromecast so it’s not like Google is completely blocking the service. This discrepancy with the Android app, however, pretty much defeats the purpose of Google TV being a gateway to video streaming and VOD services. It also doesn’t do Google any favors when it comes to ridding itself of that image of inconsistency and unreliability when it comes to its social and media platforms.