Google TV Gaining User Profiles & Improved Ambient Mode

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Google TV is set to gain user profiles soon offering the option to personalize the viewing experience. In addition, Google has confirmed that ambient mode will also see some improvements through the addition of more information that might be of use to the viewer. Similar to the user profiles, the ambient mode upgrade is also designed to offer a more personalized experience overall.


Google TV is the company’s latest version of Android TV with a much greater emphasis on search and discovery. At present, Google TV is only available on select devices, most notably Chromecast with Google TV as well as some Sony and TCL TVs, but it is expected to become more widely available as time goes on. Google TV has been receiving a few updates lately, with one of the most recent examples being the addition of Philo as an option that can be shown in the ‘live’ tab. This saw Philo join the Google TV ranks along with Sling TV and YouTube TV.

Soon, Google TV users will be able to make use of profiles to improve the experience. Currently, everyone using the same Google TV-enabled device are subjected to the same recommendations, but once a user profile is created for each household member, they will only see recommendations based on their personal interests. As Google explains, this will also mean that each user profile comes with its very own watchlist, further helping to personalize the experience. The same is true when seeking information from Google Assistant, with the answers expected to be more acutely tied to the profile.


Besides user profiles, Google also confirmed that ambient mode will see some improvements as well. When the system enters an idle mode now, the user is typically presented with artwork or images from their Google Photos account. Following the update, this same idle screen will be able to provide additional information, such as the weather or sports scores. Once again, this will be tied and personalized based on the user profile. These information cards will also be actionable, allowing the user to click on them. For reference, the same image-only mode will still be in use, it will just take a few additional minutes before it is automatically enabled with the various user-related cards shown in between.

Google did not specify exactly when user profiles or the ambient mode improvements will go live, but did say this will happen soon. For reference, while user profiles will be available on compatible Google TV devices everywhere, ambient mode’s glanceable cards will initially only be available to users in the US.

John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been editing and writing about technology and streaming for online publications since 2014, and believes the best streaming approach is to rotate between services as needed.

John's preferred live TV streaming service right now is YouTube TV although he does tend to switch live TV services multiple times each year to keep up to date with their changes. Outside of live TV, John also actively streams HBO Max (for the shows), Peacock (for Premier League), and Paramount Plus (for Champion's League). However, John is also currently subscribed to Apple TV+, Discovery+, Hulu, Starz, Showtime, and Shudder.

Contact John via email at or say hi on Twitter

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