Reports indicate that Google has teamed up with Sony and Intel to invade our televisions. The tech giants are working together to create new software integrated into TVs and set-top boxes. Details of the companies' precise plans are limited, but from what we do know it sounds like a pretty smart endeavor.
The New York Times explains:
Some existing televisions and set-top boxes offer access to Web content, but the choice of sites is limited. Google intends to open its TV platform, which is based on its Android operating system for smartphones, to software developers. The company hopes the move will spur the same outpouring of creativity that consumers have seen in applications for cellphones.
Right now, some new televisions and Blu-ray players come equip with software that offers various internet widgets, but in my experience they've been quite limited -- even frustrating. Google is right to see this as a new opportunity to assert itself in a market that's bound to grow. If it succeeds in creating a superior product prior to other competitors, then that could also help the exposure of its Android operating system. If you like Android on your TV, you'll like it on your phone, and vice-versa.
Speaking of competitors, the Times article indicates that Microsoft and Apple are also working on their operating systems for TV. Apple, in particular, could do very well here, especially if it finds a way to leverage its extensive iPhone application store for televisions. I know if I had my iPhone apps through my TV that would be far superior to the five or six lame widgets my TV's software currently offers.
This also foreshadows where the future of TV is heading: to the Internet. YouTube, owned by Google, is already offered as a widget through many existing TV/Blu-ray operating systems. As the Internet becomes more integrated, traditional on-demand services through cable and satellite will suffer. One could imagine websites like Hulu even making viewers less dependent on those cable and satellite companies' TV-watching services as well. One day, all our television viewing may stream from the Internet. It's no wonder Google would want to be a major player in this market.