Google to launch Smart TV for easy surfing between Internet and TV content

May 18, 2010, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

 Google has announced that it will unveil a new Internet TV software jointly developed by the company along with Sony, Intel and Logitech, at a conference on Thursday. The new software called Smart TV is expected to allow users to shift easily between content such as YouTube videos, TV shows and on-demand movies on their television.

Smart TV software will most likely be used in TVs connected to the Internet, set-top boxes and Blu-Ray players. Google and its partners on the project Intel Corp, Sony Corp and Logitech International, will display it for the first time in front of 3000 software developers at an upcoming conference scheduled to be held at San Francisco. However, the release date of the software or products using the software is yet to be revealed.

Analysts say that Google intends to profit from the knowledge of channels accessed by a user on his television. The information gained from TVs and set-top boxes could be used by the company to increase its search and advertising business. Interactive advertisements targeted at a specific user will become possible with the new software. The revenue obtained from TV advertising is very high, with last year’s TV advertising expenditure by various brands estimated at $60.4 million.

Google has also planned to encourage independent development of third party tools and softwares for Smart TV. The company will use the same tactics used by phone companies for the purpose and release tools for developing additional softwares for Smart TV.

Many online companies have entered the market for TVs and related equipment in the past. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook were made available on TVs by Yahoo Inc and Netflix is responsible for beginning the trend of streaming movies to television sets. Buying and renting movies and TV shows are possible on set-top boxes created by Apple Inc. However, these companies provide limited internet services and features.

The potential of internet-connected TV market is very high as over 1 million such TV sets have already been sold and sales by the end of 2011 are expected to touch 10 million.

The Smart TV project is also expected to profit Sony Corp, which is a partner in the project. The manufacturer of consumer electronics equipment is placed third in the television market due to the growing market shares of LG Electronics Inc and Samsung Electronics Inc. The company needs a product that sets it apart from its competitors and Smart TV software may just be that product.

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