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Google TV update will boost performance, free up storage

The update is rolling out to Google TV devices like newer-model Chromecasts and Android TV-powered sets.

The update is rolling out to Google TV devices like newer-model Chromecasts and Android TV-powered sets.

The startup animation on a Chromecast with Google TV device. (Capture and animation by The Desk)
The startup animation on a Chromecast with Google TV device. (Capture and animation by The Desk)

Google is rolling out an update to its Google TV software powered by the Android TV operating system that will see performance and storage improvements across its smart TV product line.

The improvements were announced in a support post published by a Google employee on Tuesday. The note said Google was implementing performance changes that would see apps use around 25 percent less storage space on devices like the Chromecast with Google TV and Google TV-powered television sets.

To do this, Google TV developers are increasingly leaning on a feature called Android App Bundles (AABs), which allow developers to deploy multiple version of their apps through a single executable file via the Google Play Store. Last November, a Google TV product manager said developers would be required to distribute their apps as an AAB file starting this month.

Google says deploying apps as AABs will help reduce the size of downloads, allow devices to reclaim storage needed for installation once the app is ready to launch and improve security. For users of Google TV hardware, it means apps won’t take up as much space on a device, which will allow streamers to download even more apps to devices like the Chromecast with Google TV, which has less than 5 gigabytes (GBs) of available space for apps.

This week, Google also said its Google TV powered devices will take full advantage of a feature called App Hibernation, which forces apps into a state of suspension when they haven’t been opened after 30 days. That move will also free up space for additional app downloads, Google said.

There are a number of performance improvements coming to Google TV powered devices as well, including shortening the time it takes for Google TV devices to “wake up” after they go to sleep and the response time between a button press and an action on a Google TV device. The improvements, which are rolling out to Google TV devices now, “will help you get to your content faster,” a Google TV product manager said.

The changes come after Google TV made a number of user interface improvements earlier this year, including an update that streamlined the home screen of Google TV devices, which improved performance on some of its hardware. Last month, Google also incorporated nearly 80 free, ad-supported channels into the “Live” tab on some Google TV hardware, which allowed streamers to access free content without downloading a separate app.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).