With the introduction of *Google TV*, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is now the latest company to try to bridge the gap between the web and the TV. The key feature of the long-expected platform, which the company is unveiling right now at Google I/O: A “quick search box” that lets users quickly look up and access TV broadcasts and web content. Engineers demonstrated how users could seamlessly switch between watching a video from anywhere on the web and watching a live TV broadcast. Users can also visit a website at the same time that they watch a broadcast — a scenario that could be useful if, for instance, somebody wanted to look up sports stats related to an ongoing game.
“The web has had very little adoption on the premier entertainment device in your living room — your TV,” said Google’s Rishi Chandra. “(Web) video should be consumed on the biggest screen in your house.”
Why will the platform succeed when others attempts to bring the web to the TV– like Yahoo’s TV widgets — have not? Google executives claim that Google TV will not “dumb down the web for TV;” Google TV users who navigate to the web see full-fledged versions of sites. Companies can also optimize their sites for the platform, however. Bryan Perez, the SVP and GM of NBA Digital, for instance, showed off a Google TV version of NBA.com.
The software is also based on Android, so users will also be able to access apps from the Android marketplace on their TVs — and developers will also be able to build apps specifically designed for Google TV. One app, for instance, lets users instantly translate captions.
And, indeed, apps could be crucial to the success of the product. At the end of the announcement, Google CEO Eric Schmidt came on stage, along with the CEOs of Sony (NYSE: SNE), Logitech, Best Buy, Intel (NSDQ: INTC) and Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) and asked them to build apps, along with optimized sites: “We need you to build extraordinary things,” he said.
The platform will launch in fall 2010. Google says Google TV will be built into a line of Sony made TVs and Blu-Ray players. Logitech will also launch a “companion box” so that users will be able to add Google TV to their existing setups. Intel is powering the chip set and BestBuy is partnering to sell the devices.
The introductory video: