Up until now, we’ve been collectively waiting on a project internally known as ‘Kaleidoscope’ to appear. I can’t count the number of times either Gabriel or Michael have caught the new tab page experiment loading just a little bit more than before, hinting at a proper Google TV interface for the web. As an ongoing interest, ‘Kaleidoscope’ has simply remained top of mind and the idea of the Google TV interface we have on the new Chromecast arriving in a web-based package always sounded intriguing to us all.
Unfortunately, as spotted by Kent Duke over at Android Police, it seems the path to a Chrome/web-based Google TV UI won’t be whatever ‘Kaleidoscope’ was being built as. The unfortunate news comes via the Chromium Repositories where these new commits couldn’t be more clear.
While this was never a fully-realized project, it was tantalizing. With Google cleaning up their media efforts and putting things in a nicer, neater Google TV package, our hope was that this would translate to a web-based existence of the service as well. I know I’d love to be able to head to a URL and experience my content on my Chromebook the same way as I do on a television with the new Chromecast attached. After all, the new Android app gives us nearly all the same Google TV vibes and replaced the aging Play Movies & TV app, so why not have a web portal?
While I don’t think Google is totally giving up on having this whole service on the web, we have to deal with the fact that whatever ‘Kaleidoscope’ was trying to be will not materialize in this particular project. With the Google TV app still being a bit janky on Chromebooks, there’s currently not a great option for watching content on a Chromebook with Google’s main streaming service.
Additionally, all the benefit of Google’s conglomeration of watch services does Chromebook users a disservice as the Google TV Android app only looks for Android versions of the streaming services on offer. If I try to launch a show I see in the Google TV app that streams via Netflix, I’m going to have to install the Netflix app from the Play Store instead of just being able to use the web. As a Chromebook user who loves Chrome OS and the open web, I feel like this is a move in the wrong direction and my hope is Google has another plan up their sleeves that will eventually see Google TV on the web. Until then, RIP ‘Kaleidoscope’.