It’s television, Eric, but not as we know it

This morning’s Observer column.

And now for something completely different: Google TV. Yes, you read that correctly: Google TV. Now I know what you’re thinking. You already have enough TV channels, most of them running Friends, Desperate Housewives or reruns of Top Gear. Why on earth would you want to watch a channel in which a T-shirted nerd with an IQ in the low thousands explains how to code an algorithm for complex linear programming in seven lines of Perl while behind him one of his more subversive colleagues is gleefully demonstrating on a whiteboard how it can be done in four?

Relax. Google TV is not a channel, it’s a platform, ie a base on which things can be built. In ordinary life, platforms are physical objects, such as the drilling rig that is causing BP such grief, but the Google guys don’t do physical. They’re geeks, so their idea of a platform is a large piece of software called an operating system. A while back, they created such a platform for mobile phones…