Search giant targets television industry with Google TV

SAN FRANCISCO - Google has unveiled its Google TV offering, which transports internet services including access to the vast archive of programmes available online into the television-viewing experience.

Google TV: marrying its internet services into the TV viewing experience
Google TV: marrying its internet services into the TV viewing experience

The system will have the Google Chrome browser built in, allowing users to surf sites such as the Google-owned video-streaming site YouTube and social networking site Facebook.

It will use the company's Android operating system, which also powers mobile phones. Google Android smartphone users will be able to wirelessly connect video from their phone to Google TV, and use their phones as a remote control.

Broadcast through a television set, Google TV uses search, not dissimilar to the company’s online offering, to navigate television channels, websites, apps, shows and movies.

It will initially be incorporated into televisions and Blu-ray players made by Sony, and set-top boxes from Logitech. Google will also partner with software company Intel for the launch. A price for the system has yet to be announced.

Addressing 5,000 developers at the company's I/O Conference in San Francisco, Google project leader Rishi Chandra said: "As other technologies have evolved and changed, TV has remained the same. Video should be consumed on the biggest, best and brightest screen in the house, and that is a TV."

The service aims to turn the TV set into a regular internet terminal, allowing people to access services such as Facebook, Twitter or any internet site while they are watching programmes on a split screen.

On the Google blog, the company said: "This is an incredibly exciting time - for TV watchers, for developers and for the entire TV ecosystem. By giving people the power to experience what they love on TV and on the web on a single screen, Google TV turns the living room into a new platform for innovation. We're excited about what’s coming. We hope you are too."

Yesterday (20 May), Google launched an apps store to rival Apple's iTunes download store through its Google Chrome browser.

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