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10 Things to know about Google TV

Internet giant Google is all set to enter your living room. The Silicon Valley company is launching a service that includes Google Search and merges applications and a Web browser with television programming. Google TV will serve as an `entertainment hub' that lets viewers search channels, recorded shows and websites. Here's looking into Google TV, the innovation that has been called `the biggest improvement to television since colour'.

Google TV aims to turn the TV into a regular internet terminal, allowing people to access services like Facebook, Twitter or any internet site while they are watching programmes on a split screen.In a demonstration, Google showed a TV screen with an Internet search box. A search for a particular TV programme got both the programme playing on a traditional channel, and related episodes along with other content available online.

Google will provide the software, while Sony will make the TVs with Intel chips, and Logitech will supply a special remote control and wireless keyboard. The service will be incorporated into televisions and Blu-ray players made by Sony and set-top boxes from Logitech.

Google service will run on the company's mobile platform, Android operating system that is increasingly gaining traction in smartphone market. It also will use the Chrome browser. Based on Android platform, Google TV will turn Android phones into controls that can be used in the same room as the television or remotely across the Web.

Google did not talk about its advertising strategy for Google TV. The company isn’t currently selling ads specifically designed for the new platform, said Rishi Chandra, a product manager at Google. Users could see Google’s ads as they browse Web sites when accessing the Internet on the new TV service. “We want to get the product experience right first,” Chandra said. “Over time, there will be opportunities to really rethink how ads can actually work better on this TV experience.”

According to Google, Google TV will be using search to give users an easy and fast way to navigate to television channels, websites, apps, shows and movies. For example, if a user already knows the channel or programme he wants to watch, all he needs to do is type in the name and he will be there.

Since Google TV is built on open platforms like Android and Google Chrome, third-party developers will be able to build applications for it. In its announcement at Google I/O, the company challenged Web developers to start coming up with the Web and Android apps designed specifically for the TV experience. Soon after launch, the company will release Google TV SDK and web APIs for TV so that developers can build applications and distribute them through Android Market.

Google TV service will include video-on-demand products from Amazon.com, Netflix and Hulu, a video site partly owned by Walt Disney, Google said at the conference.

he effort is likely to face formidable challenges. One, Google will need to persuade TV manufacturers other than Sony to use its software, as well as retailers to sell the devices. Also, in the past too several companies have already tried to bridge the gap between the TV and the Web with little success. Microsoft for example, has for years sought to make technology that can blend Internet and TV content. Apple too has offered its Apple TV device for transmitting Internet content to TV. Google executives said that previous efforts failed because they dumbed down the Web for television, were closed to participation by others, and made people choose between using the Web or television.

Google and its partners said the service would be free and prices for Sony's TV and Logitech's box would be announced at a later date.
While Google TV will be launched around Christmas in the US, international launch is expected in 2011.

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