10 Things You Should Know About Google TV

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10 Things You Should Know About Google TV

by Clint Boulton

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Google TV

Google TV aims to blend the TV-watching experience with surfing the Web. The service is based on the Android 2.1 mobile operating system and uses Google's Chrome Web browser with support for Adobe Systems' Flash 10.1. Users will watch programs on Internet-connected TVs from Sony and other partners with the ability to search the Web and accessing Web apps via a search box controlled by a Logitech remote keypad. Intel Atom chips power the Sony TVs and Logitech boxes, which will appear on shelves at Best Buy this fall.

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No Downloads Necessary

Most of Google's software is available over the cloud. Google TV is only available pre-installed on Sony TVs and Blu-ray players, as well as Logitech companion boxes.

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The Logitech Set Top Boxes

At I/O, Logitech was circumspect about its set-top box for Google TV. Logitech announced June 16 its companion box will be called the Logitech Revue. See it here!

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The Relationship

Users don't need a set top box to run Google TV, but most users already have a set top box and service to access TV content. Google TV will come with its own input device, but eventually other input devices may be created and used with Google TV.

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Chrome for Google TV

Many users may already be familiar with Google's Chrome Web browser, which comes in Windows, Mac and Linux flavors. The good news is Chrome for Google TV is just the Linux-based version of Chrome, with a modified user interface for TV. Google TV will ship with Chrome for Linux 5.0, which will receive upgrades over the air. Also, Google TV supports Flash, a mainstay for today's Websites.

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What Android Developers Need to Know

Google is counting on Android developers to take up the Google TV march the same way they fervently write programs for Android on smartphones. Google will release a Google TV SDK add-on (sign up here!) with TV-specific extensions. Unfortunately, it won't come for a few months after the initial launch of Google TV this fall. That means 2011. Our guess is Google wants to be careful the service gets picked up by users to see if it's worth it. Google probably also wants to work on any technical kinks.

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That Means No Apps Until 2011

Android Market should be available on Google TV in early 2011 once the SDK is out and developers start programming games and social and productivity apps for the wider-screen format. Also, while Google TV will be based on Android 2.1, it can be upgraded over the air to a higher version. Expect programmers to bolt on the souped up Android 2.2 to Google TV ASAP.

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App Installation

Because Android Market won't be available for Google TV at launch, Google said only preinstalled applications will be available at initial product launch; application downloads will not be officially supported.

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Good News

For those Android developers who already have apps for smartphones, those apps will work on Google TV unless they require a hardware or software tool not supported by Google TV. That is, of course, once the Android Market is available for Google TV.

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Developer Guidelines

Here are the user interface guidelines for designing optimized Websites for TV. Happy coding!

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