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Posted by on Mar 18, 2010 in Science & Technology | 1 comment

Google TV to Bring the Web to Your Living Room


Google, Intel and Sony plan to bring the Web into your living room through a set-top box called Google TV. Logitech will build the remote and peripherals. The NYTimes:

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.google_tv.jpg Google is expected to deliver a toolkit to outside programmers within the next couple of months, and products based on the software could appear as soon as this summer. […]

Google has built a prototype set-top box, but the technology may be incorporated directly into TVs or other devices. The Google TV software will present users with a new interface for TVs that lets them perform Internet functions like search while also pulling down Web programming like YouTube videos or TV shows from The technology will also allow downloadable Web applications, like games and social networks, to run on the devices.

All of the companies involved declined to comment. MG Siegler at TechCrunch says this should push Apple into doing something more with their Apple TV platform:

Aside from calling it a hobby, Steve Jobs has referred to the Apple TV as being a potential “fourth leg” of a chair Apple is building. Leg one is the Mac, leg two is the iPod, leg three is the iPhone, and Jobs had hoped the Apple TV would complete the chair one day. But it seems clear now that he thinks the iPad could be the fourth leg instead.

Screw that. I think it’s time for Apple to build a whole dining room set of furniture. We, as consumers, need a living room arms race between Apple and Google (and Microsoft, TiVo, Roku, Boxee, and the rest) to kick the cable companies’ shitty television user experience to the curb.

There’s lots of discussion via techmeme. Last week the WSJ reported that Google is testing a new television-search service with Dish TV.

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  • And the battle is joined. Netflix is already way ahead, already getting their chips incorporated directly into TVs mobile devices and computers. Here’s the inside story of how Netflix planned to do exactly what Google is talking, a Netflix Player, but is already a step ahead, eschewing being the manufacturer in favor of wide distribution.

    “…at an all-company meeting in the same amphitheater, Hastings announced that there would be no Netflix Player. Instead, he would spin off the device, letting developer Anthony Wood take the technology and his 19-person team to a small company Wood had founded years earlier called Roku. But Netflix, which had already begun streaming movies to users’ PCs, was hardly giving up on the idea of streaming them to televisions as well. Instead, the company would take a more stealthy—and potentially even more ambitious—approach. Rather than design its own product, it would embed its streaming-video service into existing devices: TVs, DVD players, game consoles, laptops, even smartphones. Netflix wouldn’t be a hardware company; it would be a services firm. The crowd was stunned. In half an hour, Hastings had completely reinvented Netflix’s strategy.”

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