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Thursday, 20 May 2010

Google I/O Day Two: Google TV

So is this Marty Mcfly Junior's vision of T.V. realised??

Kind of...

Google have just finished the day 2 keynote at Google I/O and as well as Froyo they announced the rumoured Google T.V.

So what is it?

Essentially the 'smart T.V.' service will allow users to browse the internet while watching their favourite show.
The service will theoretically work with any T.V. as long as you have Hdmi on your DVR and have a WiFi network. Google mentioned an IR blaster in the keynote, so this service is destined to co-exist with your set top box, however at the moment there are no international details, so how this will or won't fit in to your Sky HD box remains a mystery.

Watching the demo, I have to say I'm sold. For a long time people have been trying to converge the 50 year old television with more modern standards, is it web widgets on your tv or is it youtube style internet t.v. watching. Well thankfully for Google it's neither.
The service runs on top of Android, however has a full version of Chrome (with Flash) handling browsing. It seamlessly allows Picture in Picture viewing of tv while browsing of the internet. Imagine watching The Open while checking the leaderboard on, it just works and it looks great.
Developers are also being encouraged to optimize their websites for T.V. in resolution (presumably 1080P) and in terms of functionality. An NBA executive stumbled through a presentation showing the ability of the website to issue DVR record commands via Google T.V., so you can imagine there are a lot of possibilities.
The service will also be able to run Android applications and in fact browse and download from the Android Market, however similar to the scaling issues of the iPad running iPhone apps, developers are being encouraged to optimize apps also.
Sony have announced that come 'fall 2010' they will begin integrating Google T.V. in to their sets and Blu-Ray players. I have to say this is way way nicer than Sony's current widget style Applicast and should give them a competitive edge in an increasingly difficult to differentiate market. However given the open nature of Google T.V. it seems unlikely this will be an exclusive arrangement.
In addition to Sony Google have partnered with Logitech, Intel, Adobe and Bestbuy and watching the respective CEO's on stage with Google's CEO Eric Schmidt it seemed like eavesdropping on a quaterly anti-Apple consortium meeting.

One thing is for certain Google are getting serious about entering in to Apple's domain of digital content and Microsoft's digital living room. While Android is often seen as catching up to the iPhone, today we have seen Google surpass and lap Apple's "hobby" in Apple T.V.  Suddenly the iTunes ecosystem is under threat and the Anti-Apple Consortium have gathered and mean business.

Apple, Microsoft, it's your serve.


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