Google has launched its new Google TV service, announcing that the open-source platform merging television and the internet would be rolled out onto the market later this year.
The project, which was announced in San Francisco last night, involves cooperation between Google and several other media and technology companies including Sony, Intel, Logitech, Adobe and Dish Network. Sony will produce the first high-definition televisions and Blu-ray players incorporating Google TV, with the "Sony Internet TV" set to be rolled out later this year. Logitech is developing a Google TV set-top box which will enable viewers with existing home entertainment systems to access the new service. It is not yet clear how much such devices are likely to cost.
As previously reported in TSR, Google TV will harness the internet giant's Android operating system - currently used on smartphones, tablet PCs and other mobile devices - and the Google Chrome browser. It will enable users to switch between the conventional television-viewing experience and internet browsing, with access to search facilities and any other website.
In a press statement accompanying the launch, Google said that the new venture would greatly enhance consumers' experience of both television and the web.
"Over the past decade, the Internet has created unprecedented opportunity for innovation and development across the world, but so far the web has largely been absent from living rooms.
"With Google TV, consumers will now be able to search and watch an expanded universe of content available from a variety of sources including TV providers, the web, their personal content libraries, and mobile applications."
Google's chairman and CEO, Eric Schmidt, indicated that working with several partners on the venture had been a boost to Google TV's viability, saying that the company was "very proud to be working with this distinguished set of partners, all of whom have decades of experience in hardware, design and retail".
The announcement also highlighted the opportunities for developers to incorporate their own improvements to the Google TV service. Because the open-source platform is based on the Android operating system, developers will be able to build web applications for use on Google-enabled sets. Google has indicated that it will be releasing an updated software development kit (SDK) to facilitate the development process.
Media Spy discussion: Google TV