Social networking and other popular applications will be key drivers for Google TV, which will be just one of many new "smart TV" consumer products to hit shelves, according to an Intel executive.
Google TV uses the Google Android operating system to support TV content and Web applications accessed through a Chrome browser and remote control on Web-connected televisions and Blu-ray players.
Sony is building the Internet TVs and Blu-ray players, while Logitech is making set-top boxes and remote controls consumers will use to surf channels and browse applications.
Intel, which has tried unsuccessfully for a decade to put Web content on TVs, is providing the Atom chipsets for the Sony and Logitech hardware.
"Google TV represents a very high-profile kind of smart TV, and we're proud to be a part of it," said Wilfred Martis, general manager of the digital home group at Intel, speaking June 10 at the Connections conference in Santa Clara, Calif. "But smart TV is going to be bigger than just one company or one technology. It is going to be an entire category of smart TV products with lots of new, interactive TV experiences."
Google TV blends Web search with the channel surfing experience. With a special remote control keypad, users will access a drag-down search box to jump from channel to channel.
These actions won't necessarily be siloed; users may search for information about a program, including comments from Twitter or ESPN.com, while they watch that program in the lower right-and corner of the screen.
Search is obviously a big draw for such a service, but Martis said social networking functionality will serve as big lures for Google TV and comparable services, such as those built on the open-source MeeGo platform developed by Intel and Nokia.
"Imagine social networking integrated into a reality show viewing experience, enabled by having an interactive, open platform," Martis said.