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Google Introduces Google TV

Google showcased Google TV this morning at its Google I/O developer conference, entering what's been a growing arena since this year's Consumer Electronics Show last January.

The most obvious feature brought to television by the company that wants to organize all the world's information is search, but that's far from where Google's innovation to bringing the Web to the TV ends - it's just the beginning.

Google TV will be offered as an Internet and wifi enabled box that can connect to a television using an HDMI connection. It will have a keyboard and a "pointing device", though no more specific information on the hardware was offered.

Much of this morning's demo consisted of showing off the search feature and how users will be able to browse the Web using their television. Searching on Google TV allows users to find content both on the Web and on the TV. From there, they can view web content, view TV content or even set their DVR to record TV shows that air at a later time.

The demo got interesting when the presenters started showing off some of the integration with smartphones and the Android marketplace. Not only can Google TV be controlled using a smartphone and speech recognition, but the Google TV hardware will be able to run any Android app in the market place that doesn't require phone-specific hardware to operate. So Pandora, Twitter, Facebook - anything that's an app for Android - will be available in a simplified form for the television.

Google also previewed a number of integrations and partnerships, such as with the NBA or Netflix. These integrations optimized Web content for the television experience by connecting online schedules with DVR programming in the case of or by allowing users to peruse suggested content according to previous Netflix viewings.

As Google notes in its blog about Google TV, much of what it showed today is just the tip of the iceberg, as the company is opening up Google TV to developers with an upcoming SDK and API release. We think this is likely where Google TV will be most exciting - the creations of developers using Google developer tools. Instead of having a more closed system, Google's use of developer tools and integration of the Android market place is going to make Google TV the real rebirth of Web TV.

Google is working together with Sony and Logitech to bring Google TV to televisions, Blu-ray players and companion boxes, and you should expect to see it in Best Buy stores by next fall.

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