We've been hearing about the rumored Google TV for more than two months now, and it appears that May could bring an official unveiling of sorts. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google plans to debut its Web-meets-television software to some 3,000 developers at the Google I/O conference, which runs May 19-20 in San Francisco.
Google TV is an Android-based technology designed to bring Internet-style content, including Web search, apps, and of course video entertainment, to the bigger screen in your livingroom. And Google TV software could come embedded in a new generation of Internet-ready TVs, game consoles, set-top boxes, and Blu-ray players. Or it could bomb miserably like Google Wave and other half-baked Google science projects.
Assuming it does succeed, Google TV could very well expedite the metamorphosis of your big-screen HDTV into a giant Web terminal, perhaps with smartphone-style apps that pull in cloud-based content to perform a myriad of tasks.
For Google, the potential upside is simple: More eyeballs to view its Web-based ads, which provide nearly all of the search giant's ever-growing revenues. For you the consumer, Google TV, as well as up-and-coming Internet streaming services from Netflix, VUDU, Apple, and others, might provide an affordable alternative to the traditional cable/satellite bundle. Hey, if you don't want the Siberian Sewing Channel, why pay for it?
Google is reportedly partnering with fellow tech leaders Intel, Sony, and Logitech in its TV initiative. A likely first-gen consumer product is Google TV-branded set-top box powered by Intel's Atom processor. The device would run the Android OS and use a Logitech-built remote. Given the Web app-oriented nature of the initiative, a touchscreen or physical keyboard would be included. As for Sony, it may add Google TV software to its lineup of Internet-ready TVs, as well as set-top box, the Journal reports.
What's particularly interesting about the Internet-to-TV niche is that it's uncharted territory. No one's sure how it'll evolve. Consumers are still learning about Internet streaming--what's a Roku again?--and the technology is rife with glitches, particularly when Wi-Fi is involved. Google TV could help drive end-user adoption, especially if there's some sort of cost savings or other advantage associated with Web-to-TV integration.
Google has made a name for itself as the Great Disrupter. Will its Google TV change television as we know it?