Google and the Dish Network are implementing Google's Web search experience through a Google Android set-top box. Users' search queries bring back both TV content and YouTube video content. IDC analyst Hadley Reynolds says the test runs only on Android-powered set-top boxes, for users able to use a keyboard and TV remote control to enter queries. Richard Doherty, research director for the Envisioneering Group, tells eWEEK he believes Google has at least three strategies for melding the TV with the Web. Read on to learn about them.
Google and the Dish Network are implementing Google's Web search experience via
a Google Android set-top box,
through which users' search
queries bring back both TV content and YouTube video content, an IDC
analyst told eWEEK.
The Wall Street Journal said
Google is testing its search software on
TV set-top boxes, which as one of the modern replacements for the cable box
enable content to be transmitted from the Internet. Google is testing this
search service with a "very small number of the company's employees and
their families," the Journal said.
IDC analyst Hadley Reynolds told eWEEK
the test with Dish runs only on Android-powered set-top boxes,
"and you can use a
keyboard, not just a remote, to issue queries."
Reynolds noted that while such a blend of TV and Web video content will
become standard in the industry within five years, Google will not be able to
graft the standard Web search experience onto the video world. Reynolds argued:
"Searchers will need a much more
visual environment that is tuned to discovery-that is, the user will need to be
presented with categories (e.g. sports, drama, news, etc.) and then with rich
visual representation of results, like little clips of shows, perhaps, or at
least an image that represents visually what the video will be about. Good
metadata annotation of video objects will be the key to the success of the
search experience, since the text around video content description can be
sparse at best."
Reynolds said unlike with text search, in which users click links to reach pages
and read them, no one wants to click to videos and have to watch a few minutes
to see if what's been found is "the one."
Richard Doherty, research director for the Envisioneering Group, told eWEEK
he believes Google has at least three strategies for melding the TV with the
First, Doherty said, he imagines a special TV and set-top box version of
Android. Second, he sees the Google Chrome Web browser running on smart networked TVs
and Tru2way boxes. Finally, Google will serve YouTube videos with embedded ad
If Google can get search and YouTube running on TVs well enough, there's
good reason to believe Google could extend this approach to the rest of its
Google Apps. Users could even log into their Google Accounts through the TV
remote or keyboard and access Gmail and other Web services through their
Imagine posting to Google Buzz on a 52-inch plasma or LCD screen. The TV
would appear to become another computer in the home.
A spokesperson for Dish declined to comment. A Google spokesperson told
eWEEK the company wouldn't comment on rumors or speculation. However, he
confirmed that Google is still keen on the value of targeting the television
market with Web-based advertising.
Indeed, Google in 2007 struck
with Dish's parent company EchoStar over automated TV ads on Dish
Network's national satellite programming network.
Google also offers YouTube
a version of the video-sharing site optimized for TVs, and encourages
video game console manufacturers and set-top box makers to use Google APIs to
serve YouTube on TVs.
Getting Google search on TVs, then, may seem like a foregone conclusion at
this point, and one of much interest for those keen on the convergence of the
Internet with television.