Having already taken over the way consumers use the Internet to find things, and while currently making a run for how consumers use their mobile phones, Google is now taking aim at consumers' living rooms with the announcement of its Google TV, an application intended to bring Internet functionality and video to the television set.
"They've got the right concept. When people had been talking about convergence, they had been talking about watching TV on their computers, as opposed to doing computer-type things on their TVs," Dan Olds, a senior analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group, tells Marketing Daily. "This is the direction that they're definitely going, and that has a lot of merit. It will be interesting to see what the equipment prices are."
Announced at a developers' conference on Thursday, the new application has a broad array of partners enlisted by Google to bring it to market. Among them: Intel, Sony, Logitech, Best Buy and Dish Network.
"We are very proud to be working with this distinguished set of partners, all of whom have decades of experience in hardware, design and retail," Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
Sony and Logitech have committed to making products based on Intel's Atom processor, to be sold through Best Buy locations this fall. And although Google TV will work with any TV operator, Google said its potential would be maximized with Dish Network. But considering the Google TV platform is based on the company's open-source Android mobile platform, it's unclear how long the competitive advantage of being first to market will last, Olds says.
"If I were Google, I'd be interested in getting this in many more devices. I don't think there's any reason why somebody else couldn't do it with either Intel or AMD chip, for instance," he says. "Sony gets to be first; they now have the Google aura and blessing, which is nice and will help. [But] I think this is going to be a pretty standard component in the next two to three years, if not sooner."
In the meantime, however, the partners announced on Thursday have the advantage of a halo effect of all things Google. Look for them to run with it for as long as they can. "They're going to brand the hell out of it," he says. "If I'm Sony, I'm going to play that Intel and Google association for everything it's worth."