Thursday, March 21, 2013

All about your new Google Fiber TV App

Since last November, Google Fiber TV customers have been able to use their Nexus 7 tablet — which they get for free with their TV subscription — as their remote control. We’ve heard from our users that they love being able to browse shows and control their TV with their tablet. But we’ve also heard that sometimes, they’d like to be able to use the App on whatever device they have handy.

So our team started building an App that would let them do that. And last week, we launched a redesigned Google Fiber TV App on Google Play, that will work on any Android device running Version 4.1 or later. An iOS app is also coming soon.

I asked Stergios Anastasiadis, our Engineering Manager for the App, three questions about what the App can do.

Q: Stergios, what’s new about this version of the App? A: Well, you already hit on the fact that a lot more people, with a lot more devices, are going to be able to use the app. Personally, I really like being able to use my phone to control Fiber TV. Since I always have my phone in my pocket, it’s super easy and fast to find the show I want to watch, without needing to dig around for my remote, or wrestle my tablet away from my daughters.

Q: I know you guys spent a ton of time designing a new look for the App. Tell me a little about that process. A: Our new user interface, or “UI,” is built with one thing in mind — letting you find the shows you want to watch quickly. We’ve made our search button available from every screen in the app, so you’ll never have to search for “search.” You’ll also notice that images and text are more prominent on the screen, so that it’s easier browse through shows and movies quickly. My favorite part of the new design is that it now works in portrait mode — something that a lot of our users asked for, which is super useful when you’ve got a slice of pizza in your other hand.

Q: One big question. Why even bother with an app? A: There are two answers to this question. First, an app gives us the chance to build cool new TV experiences for you. For example, we’ve built a “watchalong mode,” which lists actor and show info on your tablet or phone while the show is playing. “Watchalong mode” puts you on the fast track to becoming a movie trivia buff — or at least will help you remember what that actor/actress’ name is.

Secondly, we want to make life easier for you. Using a traditional remote control is fine for quick tasks like changing channels. That’s why Fiber TV comes with a brand new, Bluetooth-enabled remote control. But remote controls aren’t always the best tool for browsing through your DVR library or searching for shows. The app makes these things easier and faster.

Google Fiber TV App

If you have Fiber TV, you can download our new App via Google Play. We’d love to hear your feedback and new feature suggestions, so let us know what you think by writing a review!