Last week, Google announced that user profiles were finally coming to Google TV devices next month. TW Electronics, the manufacturer of the Google-designed G10 remote that many Android TV devices have been shipping with, has revealed in a tweet that manufacturers can actually select whether they want to include a user profile button in place of the bookmark button that has been on all G10 remotes so far.
It’s a very fine line between useful and cluttered when it comes to the buttons on streaming device remotes. The bookmark button on the G10 remote, which simply adds the highlighted content to your watchlist on Android TV devices, certainly seemed like the most useless button, since it only worked in very specific parts of the home screen interface. It seems that the intent of the button all along was to serve as an easy way to switch user profiles, but Google just hadn’t added user profile functionality yet. Note that “Watson” in the image above is a reference to the older Android TV interface.
TW Electronics also revealed that the button can be made to open the device’s list of installed apps instead. That certainly seems like the most useful function, but the company implied that it was for “Operator Tier” devices, which means it’s for cable set-top boxes running on Android TV systems. Ultimately, it’s up to the device manufacturer to decide which of the three button choices they want on their device, so a generic streaming stick/box running Google TV or Android TV with an app button isn’t out of the question.