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Google TV Chief Shalini Govil-Pai: Pandemic Caused Delay for Some Features

Shalini Govil-Pai

Developing and launching Chromecast with Google TV in the middle of pandemic was, well, challenging, according to the executive in charge of the initiative, Shalini Govil-Pai, who described the effort, in management guru-style, through a five-point “what I learned” Fast Company essay

“Working toward a product launch that includes both new software and hardware is a lot like working in show business,” Govil-Pai wrote. “Once a launch date is on the calendar, we are committed. Whatever challenges arise, the show must go on—even if that challenge is a global pandemic."

Also read: The Chromecast with Google TV Reviews Are In: Roku and Amazon Have a Problem

Launched in October, Chromecast with Google TV represents a somewhat radical pivot for Google’s OTT device strategy. Google's new HDMI dongle ditches Chromecast OS software and remoteless functionality in favor of the company’s Android TV OS. And Google TV is an enhancement to that OS, not only replacing the brand name, but overlaying a new search and discovery interface. 

Google is now working with its Android TV partners, including smart TV makers, to subsume Android TV in favor of Google TV. 

Turns out developing all of this over Zoom was hard. 

Certain Google TV features, Govil-Pai said, had to be pushed back until later this year (she didn’t specify which ones).

“Orchestrating a remote product launch demanded that we rethink many of our established workflows and brainstorming processes,” she  added. “This hurdle will sound familiar to many leaders. 2020 asked a lot of us all.

“Early on, we had to rethink our certification process,” Govil-Pai also wrote. “We needed to ship prototypes from the manufacturer to our partners, but many countries had shut down postal services. We had to improvise. In the end, we successfully delivered the products via DHL, but this experience taught us that there’s no template for processes during a pandemic. We had to make it up as we went along.”