Google is set to move into the living room with a computer operating system that will bring the internet to home televisions.
The company is working with the chipmaker Intel and Sony, the electronics giant, to introduce Google TV this week at a conference for 3,000 Google software developers in San Francisco.
The aim is to get them to create new and innovative applications in the same way that outside developers have created new software programs for smartphones.The system will be based on its Android platform, which was developed 18 months ago for mobile phones. There are already more than 50,000 applications available for Android.
The aim now is to put the web on to televisions via a new generation of television sets and set-top boxes, further blurring the line between home entertainment and computing.
The partners are developing technology that will make it as easy for television users to search the web as for computer users, with access to social networks such as Twitter or Facebook and to movies and TV shows on web video sites such as YouTube or Hulu.com. Some existing televisions and set-top boxes offer access to web content, but the choice of sites is limited.
Google, by embedding its software into televisions, can control internet access on yet another category of devices. By offering its Chrome web browser on the Android system, Google will be able to ensure that its services, especially its search and advertising technologies, will bring in more profits.
Google hopes to connect the service with its nascent TV ad-brokering business, allowing it to target advertisements to individual households based on search and viewing data. The search giant recently invested in Invidi Technologies, a New York-based technology company that is developing “addressable” TV ads. Addressable ads are supposed to target specific viewers, using data from set-top boxes, in the same way that online ads can be directed at web users based on their internet activities.
Intel and Sony are working in partnership with Google in an attempt to find new markets. Intel is contributing a customised version of its Atom chip for the devices. Last week Intel executives said it would be aiming to get its microprocessors into “smart TV” products, which could offer such features as advanced television guides, personal content libraries and search.
Intel’s chief executive Paul Otellini predicted that the melding of the internet and the television set would be as big a step change as the move from black and white to colour. “Intel is opening new doors and segments,” Tom Kilroy, the company’s senior vice-president of sales and marketing, said.
It is thought that Logitech, a specialist electronics peripherals company, is developing a TV remote control device with a tiny keyboard to allow users to enter search terms and use the internet on the television.
Many TV set-makers already offer the internet in some form on integrated systems or through set-top boxes via cable or satellite. Yahoo! has been pushing its Connected TV widgets platform, which gives users access to certain websites such as eBay and Facebook and provides movies and TV shows streamed over the internet. But the market has yet to take off.
Google has been testing the new technology with Dish Network in the United States, which has 14 million subscribers for its satellite TV service. The service being developed integrates the company’s programming with a search service, making it easier for consumers to find and watch the shows they want.
May 17, 2010
Source: Times Online