After several abortive attempts to link television and the web - see Apple TV etc - Google is now weighing into the arena with its Android and Chrome-powered Google TV. Can open source succeed where others failed?
Here's the copy of the rather breathless announcement on Google's blog:
"Google TV is a new experience for television that combines the TV that you already know with the freedom and power of the Internet. With Google Chrome built in, you can access all of your favorite websites and easily move between television and the web. This opens up your TV from a few hundred channels to millions of channels of entertainment across TV and the web. Your television is also no longer confined to showing just video. With the entire Internet in your living room, your TV becomes more than a TV — it can be a photo slideshow viewer, a gaming console, a music player and much more.
"Google TV uses search to give you an easy and fast way to navigate to television channels, websites, apps, shows and movies. For example, already know the channel or program you want to watch? Just type in the name and you’re there. Want to check out that funny YouTube video on your 48” flat screen? It’s just a quick search away. If you know what you want to watch, but you’re not sure where to find it, just type in what you’re looking for and Google TV will help you find it on the web or on one of your many TV channels. If you’d rather browse than search, you can use your standard program guide, your DVR or the Google TV home screen, which provides quick access to all of your favorite entertainment so you’re always within reach of the content you love most.
"Because Google TV is built on open platforms like Android and Google Chrome, these features are just a fraction of what Google TV can do. In our announcement today at Google I/O, we challenged web developers to start coming up with the next great web and Android apps designed specifically for the TV experience. Developers can start optimizing their websites for Google TV today. Soon after launch, we’ll release the Google TV SDK and web APIs for TV so that developers can build even richer applications and distribute them through Android Market. We've already started building strategic alliances with a number of companies — like Jinni.com and Rovi — at the leading edge of innovation in TV technology. Jinni.com is a next-generation TV application working to provide semantic search, personalized recommendation and social features for Google TV across all sources of premium content available to the user. Rovi is one of the world's leading guide applications. We’re looking forward to seeing all of the ways developers will use this new platform.
"We’re working together with Sony and Logitech to put Google TV inside of televisions, Blu-ray players and companion boxes. These devices will go on sale this fall, and will be available at Best Buy stores nationwide."
Plans beyond the US have yet to be unveiled, but Google is not known for doing anything by halves, so it will be interesting to monitor how this announcement and any subsequent rollout affects the other major players in the space - all of whom will have paid close attention to the name-dropping of the likes of Sony and Logitech in the announcement.