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Chromecast with Google TV users get first crack at profiles

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After months of waiting, multi-user support is finally here

You could say we’ve been waiting for Google TV profiles for over eight months, but really, it’s been far longer. Ever since the company launched its latest Chromecast in the fall of 2020 — the first with a full UI running skinned Android TV — we’ve been asking for the ability to swap between profiles. Finally, profiles are now rolling out to Chromecast with Google TV owners, a month after the company first confirmed they were ready.

In classic Google fashion, profiles are rolling out via a server-side update (via 9to5Google). My unit didn’t have multi-user support until earlier this afternoon, a couple of hours after I added a second account to Google TV and tried out multiple reboots and update checks. Instead, you’ll have to wait for your device to be activated. Following months of delays and false starts, it’s as frustrating as ever — though not particularly surprising, as server-side surprise updates are Google’s usual MO.

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It also seems like only Chromecast users have access right now. I can confirm that my TCL 6-series TV does not have profile support yet, and it sounds like most non-Chromecast devices are in the same boat. As frustrating as it may be, owners of those devices will need to keep waiting. But hey, if you’ve been patient this long, what’s a few more years months weeks?

As for how profiles work in action, they’re mostly worth the wait. Bringing up the menu to switch between accounts is as easy as holding down the home button (unless you’ve set that as the screenshot shortcut for your blogging job, oops). You can also get to the profile splash screen by using the notification tray to the far right of the Google TV UI. Adding an account only takes a few minutes, and swapping between pre-existing accounts is quick and easy. Once you’ve jumped into another profile, you’ll have access to all the usual features, including the watchlist and a mass “Continue watching” row, all tailored specifically to your account.

It’s a much-needed enhancement to Google TV, but there’s no sign here of unexpected features or anything else that explains the long delay. It’s great to see profiles finally live on the company’s latest hardware, but considering the amount of time it took to get here — not to mention the lack of new high-end first-party offerings — we’ll have to keep waiting to see what the distant future holds for Google TV.

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