Feeds

Google tests TV set-top search, says report

Satellite TV meets YouTube meets online ad machine

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.