Google's ever-expanding tentacles are now moving into the entertainment world with this week's launch of Google TV, a platform that purportedly combines "current TV programming and the open web into a single, seamless entertainment experience." Essentially, it's a Google-style platform for watching Internet video on the big screen.
Google TV does use some hardware--it requires a Logitech Revue set-top and a remote control, or an Android-enabled Sony television (all sold by Best Buy) for optimum viewing--but the platform itself is free. So how does it work? Google explains:
Google TV uses search to give you an easy and fast way to navigate to television channels, websites, apps, shows, and movies. For example, already know the channel or program you want to watch? Just type in the name and you’re there. Want to check out that funny YouTube video on your 48” flat screen? It’s just a quick search away. If you know what you want to watch, but you’re not sure where to find it, just type in what you’re looking for and Google TV will help you find it on the web or on one of your many TV channels. If you’d rather browse than search, you can use your standard program guide, your DVR or the Google TV home screen, which provides quick access to all of your favorite entertainment so you’re always within reach of the content you love most.
Google already has a number of content partners, including Turner Broadcasting, NBC Universal (for the CNBC Real-Time app), HBO (on-demand content for subscribers), the NBA (for the NBA Game Time app), Amazon Video On Demand, and Netflix. The platform is also integrated with Twitter, Pandora, Napster, and YouTube--the Leanback feature, which shows off YouTube content in full-screen HD, is particularly exciting.
Users aren't limited to video viewing on Google TV--they can also play Flash games, view photos (the platform can act as a virtual picture frame, chat with friends, listen to music, check the news, and more.
Google TV-powered devices will launch later this month. Stay tuned.