Feeds

Google tests TV set-top search, says report

Satellite TV meets YouTube meets online ad machine

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Google is privately testing a television set-top box that lets users search satellite TV programming as well as video websites like its very own YouTube, according to a new report.

Citing "people familiar with the matter," The Wall Street Journal reports that Mountain View is testing this Google software-powered set-top box in tandem with satellite TV provider Dish Network and that the tests are limited to a small number of Google employees and their families.

According to the paper, the service also lets users "personalize a lineup of shows," and searches are done from a keyboard rather than remote control. Google hopes, the paper says, to plug the service into its fledgling Google TV Ads program, which lets marketing types serve television advertising from their online Google AdWords accounts. This would allow Google to target ads not only based on viewing habits but searches as well.

The WSJ said, however, that the service could be discontinued at any time.

It's no secret that Google has long hoped to reinvent television using its online search and ad expertise. As far back as the summer of 2007, when it launched its TV ads program, the company said that its internet know-how could save traditional TV types from DVRs and an increasingly fragmented audience. "A lot of the recipes and lessons that work on the web can actually apply to TV," Google head of TV technology Vincent Dureau told a Silicon Valley audience that summer, arguing that things like audience fragmentation and ad skipping are actually good news for the television industry.

"You can actually make more money, because you can increase the relevancy of your ads," he said. "You can cut down on the number of ads - and still reach more people. At the end of the day, you're changing the attitude of the consumer. They've reached a point where they expect the ad to be relevant and they're more likely to watch it."

Google now sells ads for over 100 cable TV networks.

If Google does follow the likes of Microsoft and Apple into the set-top box market, you can be sure that the company will do so in tandem with a hardware partner. With the release of the Google-branded Nexus One Android, the company showed a pathological aversion to anyone calling it a hardware manufacturer.

With Google reportedly partnering with The Dish Network on its tests, it would seem that the company's strategy is to get its software onto TV provider boxes rather than sell a box of its own. That, of course, is the way it began in the phone business - before muscling further into the market with the Nexus One.

Third-party developers are already developing set-top boxes using Android, Google's open source mobile OS. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.