updated 02:15 pm EDT, Thu May 20, 2010
Google search bar available directly on-screen
Google has introduced its latest project, Google TV, which aims to bring web features to TVs and set-top boxes. The new platform is based on the company's existing technologies such as Android and Chrome, with a focus on integrating advanced search functionality. Users will be able to control the system using their existing remotes or special "optimized remote controls" dedicated to Google TV.
Although the platform provides the same basic functionality as that of existing web-connected TVs and set-top boxes, Google is attempting to make the switch between web and TV a seamless experience. The Google search bar would be available as an overlay over the TV screen while watching standard broadcasts, rather than requiring users to exit their shows before accessing web content. Picture-in-picture can be used to watch TV when viewing the full-screen Google TV interface.
Google TV offers a unified search, connecting users to web results alongside listings found in the TV guide. DVR integration would even enable recording queues to be managed from the search box. Potential content includes Amazon, Fox, and Hulu websites, along with other services such as Netflix and YouTube.
Manufacturers are still working on integrating Google TV into televisions and other devices such as Blu-ray players. The systems are expected to have fast CPUs, a DSP for decoding, and custom remotes with keyboards for quickly typing text.
Google suggests that its limited examples are merely "scratching the surface" of the potential capabilities. Developers will be able to create a wide range of applications dedicated for the system, utilizing the same framework as apps web-based apps or content for Android. Like Android Market for mobile phones, users will be able to browse apps from a desktop browser and push downloads directly to Google TV-enabled devices.
Google is currently posting guidelines for TV-optimized websites. The SDK and other features are expected to be available following a public launch. Best Buy will help sell the first devices, including Sony products and Logitech boxes expected as early as the fall.