Google eyes its next screen: TV
The New York Times has a fascinating story about Google's newest venture into software development. With partners Intel and Sony, it wants to bring Web browsing and applications to your television:
The partners envision technology that will make it as easy for TV users to navigate Web applications, like the Twitter social network and the Picasa photo site, as it is to change the channel. ... Google intends to open its TV platform, which is based on its Android operating system for smartphones, to software developers. The company hopes the move will spur the same outpouring of creativity that consumers have seen in applications for cellphones.
The NYT piece goes on to explain that the three companies have recruited Logitech to design and build keyboard-equipped remote controls and that devices running this software might ship by this summer. Google's TV software would include a version of its Chrome browser--which, considering that Android is already on the way to supporting Adobe's Flash video software--strongly suggests that the story's mention of watching TV shows on the Hulu site isn't a mistake.
That, in turn, may cause a few heads to explode in the boardrooms of the TV networks that have foolishly insisted Hulu wall itself off from consumer electronics devices.
Google isn't the only company looking to bring more Web content to TVs. D-Link's upcoming Boxee Box, for example, aims to bring that simple media-browsing interface to HDTVs when it ships later this year. TiVo's new TiVo Premiere models connect to a wider variety of online audio and video sources and run Flash themselves; that last feature alone suggests that many more sites could become available through these digital video recorders.
And a piece at TechCrunch wonders if Google's move will finally persuade Apple to build meaningful Web-media software into its closed, largely abandoned Apple TV--on the theory that Apple hates Google more than it hates putting any serious effort into this neglected media receiver.
This could be an interesting year to shop for a new HDTV. Is Internet video capability among your own shopping requirements? Does the prospect of better access through Google software change your mind on that issue?
March 18, 2010; 12:26 PM ET
Categories: TV , Video
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