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Friday, May 21, 2010

Google TV

Google plans to introduce a box accompanying the TV which tries to make the TV “smarter” by letting you search for content... and browse the web, and view photo albums and more, as Google’s video introduction shows. It’s called Google TV, and as Techcrunch writes, “It will work as a new box – you’ll just hook up your existing cable or satellite box to it. All the hardware will include a keyboard and a mouse – but it will work with Android phones too. And you can use multiple Android devices to control the same TV – no more fighting over the remote.”

Techcrunch continues, “Google TV is built on Android (2.1 right now, but they’ll upgrade it later). It runs Google Chrome for the browser. And yes, it has Flash (10.1).” Some partners of Google on this, like Sony, will also release TVs with Google TV built in, Techcrunch reports. Techcrunch suspects Google may be going for “advertising to the 4 billion TV users worldwide.”

Google’s Vincent Dureau says, “The project started 2½ years ago, with a vision of a walled garden of TV-optimized web services.” (Vincent Dureau’s favorite “test materials” on TV are “Battlestar Galactica, Life on Discovery,, Al-Jazeera’s newscasts (they have reporters more places than any other network); and, these days, the NBA playoffs.”)

Logitech’s box

A photo Techcrunch made at the Google I/O press conference

Partner Logitech on their details page adds that their companion box will be coming “later this fall”, and that “All you need is a broadband Internet connection and a TV with an HDMI input. To take full advantage of the content search, you’ll need a satellite or cable set-top box with an HDMI output as well. And, for now, you’ll need to reside in the United States.”

Google at their blog post on the subject says, “Developers can start optimizing their websites for Google TV today. Soon after launch, we’ll release the Google TV SDK and web APIs for TV so that developers can build even richer applications and distribute them through Android Market.”

Rich, smart, optimized and easy? Search for anything then play it on your TV? That’s the nice thing about preannouncing stuff for Google... people will mostly quote from the ad material the company itself offers, which will only show the positive sides, and no quirks, shortcomings and bugs. How Google TV will fare in the wild, we might only be able to tell when we test the real thing.

[Thanks Mbegin! First image from Google’s video, second from Logitech press material.]


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