We've been joking for years now that Google
is taking over the world. Slowly but surely, our laugh is growing dim, because it actually does actually look like Google is doing their best to achieve global domination. First it was search domination, then it was e-mail domination, then it was breaking into the clean energy market, then announcing a 1Gbps Internet service
, and now they're planning to invade your TV set. It's not quite 2012, but boy if it doesn't feel like it.
According to new reports, Google has teamed with Intel
and Sony (two obviously huge names in the media and technology industries) in order to develop a platform, which is rather unimaginatively named Google TV. The goal is to bring the best of the Web to the living room "through a new generation of televisions and set top boxes
," but we have to think this has already been done. The Apple TV does this; a number of Western Digital boxes do this; Roku
does this; Vudu does this; homegrown HTPCs
do this. The difference of course, is that Google's name isn't on any of those, and as we've seen with the HTC-built Nexus One
, having Google's name on anything makes it instantly more recognizable and potentially more viable.
When you think about it, this makes perfect sense for Google. Google is a master of indexing, and their fingers are stretched throughout the Internet. Taking something that they're already good at and honing it for release on a TV seems relatively simple, and with digital consumption on the rise and typical pay-TV subscriptions on the decline, it's a perfect opportunity for Google to jump in. Imagine this: Google's laying fiber now in order to bring out a 1Gbps Internet service. What makes you think they wouldn't use that same fiber to deliver television and Web programming? Or should we say, why wouldn't they? Verizon's FiOS service is the primary competitor here, though traditional broadband cable services obviously compete on the same turf as well. Oh, and that Nexus One we mentioned? What if you had a "triple-play" bundle from Google to get your cellphone, Internet and television programming? It sounds like a pipe dream, but when you lay out all the pieces, you're actually not that far from this very situation becoming a reality.
The other important aspect here are the partners. Sony is a huge name in the TV arena, and lately they've been struggling. Sony needs help to regain their swagger in the industry, and nothing says "swagger" like an official partnership with Google. Imagine a Google-powered TV. Now, wouldn't that sell well? Also, Intel is a giant in the chip industry, and Google needs CPU power in order to bring in content from the Web, power the user interface and make things smooth for the living room user. Intel definitely has the research and product line to make it all happen, and it's definitely a name people associate with quality.
Beyond just programming, users will also have access to Twitter, Web apps, photo websites and everything else that makes the Internet great. You can even imagine using Google to sift through media files in the cloud and enjoy them right on your TV. With a dream team like Intel, Sony and Google, the possibilities are nearly limitless. We're told that this partnership has been boiling for months now, and they've also looking into technology from Logitech to potentially source hardware and accessories to make managing the experience a lot easier. You could even imagine Android being used as the main interface to navigate through. Given the lackluster UI presently installed on most cable boxes and the like, we think Android would bring a fresh face to a tired sector. One source close to the project had this to sa it's pretty telling and relates back to our original statement:
"Google wants to be everywhere the Internet is so they can put ads there."
Also, reportedly there is a prototype Google TV set top box already in existance somewhere, and there's even the possibility of using the Chrome web browser in order to surf to content. Google in your living room? You can almost count on it, be it sooner or later.