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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Will Google Take Over Your Tube?

Google may be perched above your
TV soon, according to a recent report. Word is, the search behemoth is teaming with Sony, Logitech and Intel to create a TV set-top box platform based on its Android operating system and designed to meld traditional TV with Internet content. Meanwhile, the FCC showed off its big plans, Microsoft bared a little more WinPho7, and Apple revealed a new way to deal with old batteries.
A few weeks ago we heard some chitchat about a few Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) engineers taking home a new kind of set-top box to tinker and play around with. Not a big surprise -- Google guys tinker with everything. It's like DARPA combined with Wonka Chocolate combined with Acme from the Looney Toons. But now we're hearing a little more about it from a New York Times article. Google calls it "rumor and speculation" -- nudge-nudge.
Apparently Google is teaming up with Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Logitech (Nasdaq: LOGI) to build a consumer set-top box platform for mixing TV with the Internet. That's Google's Android for the OS, Intel for the chips, Sony to put together the first model, and Logitech to make the peripherals.

Right now, putting the Internet on your TV isn't exactly difficult -- just stick a VGA cable between your laptop and your flatscreen and voila. But that's not really the comfiest arrangement. What the Google TV platform would do -- reportedly -- would be to streamline the experience of watching regular TV, Internet video and various Web sites through the television. They could also put a development kit out there for anyone who wanted to put their content on Google TV, maybe sort of like making your own cable channel.
If nothing else, the whole experience should be more like the familiar act of vegging out on the couch and flipping through channels, rather than lying there with a wireless keyboard and mouse on your lap
Google will be stepping all over Apple’s toes with a rumored Android-powered networked television that runs apps. If Google has its way, there’ll be no escaping those text and display adverts. Google already feeds you a bunch of ads when you surf the web on your desktop or notebook. Have a smartphone? Google ads. Your living room? There, too!
According to the New York Times, Google, Intel, and Sony are teaming up for an ambitious project called Google TV that should result in the next-generation networked TV sets built around an open-source variant of the Android software found in smartphones. We’re talking eye-candy menus like on the Apple TV, web videos from the places like YouTube and Hulu, premium TV channels streamed on-demand, and endless customization options via third-party apps “installed” directly on your tube via a built-in app store. In short, Google TV could be everything that Apple TV should have been.

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