Google Announces Web TV Google TV
“The revolution we’re about to go through is the biggest single change in television since it went color.”
Intel (INTC) CEO Paul Otellini said that last week, hinting at the announcement Google (GOOG) made just moments ago: A new software platform for set-top boxes and televisions that promises to marry broadcast TV with the Internet. Its name: Google TV. Its tagline: “TV meets Web. Web Meets TV.”
Announced at this morning’s Google I/O event, Google TV’s purpose is, in the words of Senior Product Manager Rishi Chandra, “to bring the entire Web to the television set…to take the best of what TV offers these days and the best of what the Web offers and combine them.”
Anyone remember WebTV?
With Google TV, the aim is to rethink the navigation of TV and make it more like the Web. “The Web has a very simple and elegant model for finding information: A search box,” Chandra said. “We want to give you that same experience with television.”
To do that, Google (GOOG) has extended the breadth of its search to TV programming. The platform’s “quick search box” returns results from the Web, as well as TV listings. These include programs available for purchase on sites like Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX)–both partners in this effort, apparently.
Says Chandra: “To a user it doesn’t really matter where I get my favorite content, whether it be live TV, DVR or the Web. We just want easy access….Google TV makes the Web a natural extension of the TV itself….It’s just as easy to go to any site on the Web as it is to go to any channel on your television.”
And to Web-based advertising as well, of course. Remember there are some four billion TV users worldwide.
“Many times I see and interesting ad, but I can’t do anything with it,” says Chandra. “But advertisers have Web sites and with picture-in-picture functionality, I can now click on an ad and see them….Now every ad on TV has the potential to become interactive.”
And presumably, there’s potential here for Google to make a small profit from each of them.
So how will all of this work? Google TV’s software is built on Android 2.1 and uses Google Chrome as its browser. Because of this, Android smartphones can be used as remotes and Android applications can actually be used on televisions running the platform–something some observers have been encouraging Apple to do with AppleTV for years. Google’s Android Marketplace will be accessible via Google TV.
On the hardware side, there will be Google TV set-top boxes, TV sets, and Blu-ray players. Sony (SNE) is developing a full line of integrated TVs and a Blu-Ray player as well. Logitech (LOGI) is producing a set-top box. And Intel (INTC) is providing Atom chips for all of them. We should begin seeing Google TV devices at Best Buy (BBY) this fall.
“We’re coming to market soon and we’re coming in a big way,” says Chandra.”…Our goal is to have the same impact on the TV experience that the smartphone had on the phone experience.”