Is there any tech pie that Google
doesn’t have its fingers in? According to a Wall Street Journal report, the search giant may be looking into the pay TV business, which would (be an attempt to) undermine the dominance of satellite and cable TV providers.
The article mentions a Google high-speed Internet pilot project in Kansas City, which apparently could include a video service that, among other things, distributes TV channels from the likes of Disney, Time Warner, and Discovery.
Google has been sniffing around TVs for a while now, specifically with its Google TV software, and mostly with unimpressive results. Apple has done the same, and plenty of companies have developed or are developing video services that deliver content via the Internet.
This is all speculative, of course; there’s no official word from Google on the pay TV rumor, or even if the Kansas City project will expand regionally or nationwide.
However, nobody would be surprised to see Google make a play in TV land. Traditional TV content providers are not exactly beloved, so there’s room for a competitor to do it better, in terms of price, service, and selection. Traditional models of subscription TV are on a collision course with the behemoth that is the Internet and the companies (Google, Apple, Amazon, etc.) that populate it, and it’s fueled by faster Internet speeds, more Internet service availability, and more Web-connected devices such as TVs.
In this case, though, Google would be providing the cable infrastructure and the service; in other words, the offering would likely be cable TV from Google as opposed to online content delivered via Google or a Google site (such as YouTube).
You can always count on Google to try anything once (or twice, or thrice). That’s both one of the endearing qualities of the company and also one of the most galling, depending on your point of view. Thus, it’s no surprise that Google is sniffing around at the TV content market. Further, as an online company, Google is limited in what it can offer due to Internet speeds and availability, which up to this point has been out of its control. Expanding into the Internet infrastructure business is a big, bold step.
In any case, the Kansas City project reportedly should be rolling by 2012. It will be interesting to see what Google will do there.