It didn't receive any attention on stage at Google I/O today, but Google hasn't forgotten about its ongoing effort to take over the living room with Google TV. The company is today updating the platform to the latest version of Android (4.2.2 Jelly Bean) and is promising that under-the-hood changes will help its manufacturing partners deliver quicker updates moving forward. Specifically, Google says this will make it possible to update Google TV hardware in "weeks rather than months."
Updates will be more frequent
Google TV is also being brought up to date with the latest version of Chrome. Like the core OS, Chrome for Google TV will now be on a faster update cycle — every six weeks, to be exact. More importantly, this latest version of Chrome introduces support for hardware-based content protection, an addition that should make developers (and content producers) less wary about bringing copyrighted video to their apps.
If you've already got a Google TV device, you can expect to see these updates "in the coming months" with the new software set for inclusion in fresh hardware due "later this year." Google will need to do more on the consumer end to establish Google TV as a serious contender — particularly with powerful new gaming (and entertainment consoles on the way) — but it sounds like we'll have a better idea of what's next by the end of 2013.
Update: Engadget has confirmed that Google will be removing Flash support with the update to Android 4.2.2. The plugin had already been blocked from use on many major websites, including Hulu, and its performance wasn't great during general use as it was. Adobe ceased development on Flash for mobile devices over a year ago, so it's largely been a waiting game to see when Google would fully remove it.