This is from an excellent article on GoogleTV by David Pogue:
This much is clear: Google TV may be interesting to technophiles, but it’s not for average people. On the great timeline of television history, Google TV takes an enormous step in the wrong direction: toward complexity.
I frankly haven’t paid any attention to GoogleTV but there is a bigger principle here that I do care about:
Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein
There are situations that require exposing complexity (e.g. Airplane Cockpits, though even those could probably be simplified) but its possible to build simple interfaces for extremely complicated devices (e.g. Race Cars, some of the most complex technology in existence yet controlled the same way as a regular car).
Making things simple and consistent is very challenging, and it is even more difficult to take something complex and then simplify it. This is why its particularly important to strive for simplicity from the very beginning – it’s very difficult to fix things later. Google is in a particularly difficult spot since it is working with several partners and wants to get this product out the door quickly but launching a complicated and difficult to use product is not the solution. Reading the description of Sony GoogleTV remote brings back memories of when people would complain about how difficult it was to program a VCR, surely not something worth returning to.
Compare this to the first version of Path which in terms of features is as close to a Minimum Viable Product as possible but is extremely beautiful and easy to use: start with a few well built features and then add more power later. Google started out focusing on simplicity with the initial Google Homepage and much of the success of the more recent Google Chrome comes from its clean UI that lets the website take center-stage. They should remember the same principle for their other products.