Sony's proprietary default browser on PlayStation 3 offers some search functions. Through it gamers can access Google, Yahoo or Bing. But what if the PS3 nixed the default browser and adopted Google.com? Those decisions "are made in Japan," according to Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing and PlayStation Network at Sony. "We provided our feedback and I think it should be considered," he says. "As you point out, Sony already has a relationship with Google. We're already doing business with them."
Dille refers to the relationship announced in May that builds the Google TV service into a series of televisions that Sony plans to release this fall. The TVs will sell through Best Buy stores, and most likely Sony Style online and brick-and-mortar stores.
Obviously, Bing wouldn't become PS3's search engine, considering Microsoft owns the Xbox 360. And since Bing will power Yahoo's backend search features, the remaining candidate, Google, of course, unless Sony would want to rely on Ask.com, a smaller real-time search engine OneRiot, Cuil, or an aggregator like Dogpile.
If Google became the PS3's default search engine it could give the Mountain View, Calif., company and advertisers a new revenue stream through a market it will attempt to take next. That market, gaming, led by Mark DeLoura, which Google appointed developer advocate in April, would expand past Android causal games into the PS3. Of course, Google has not confirmed this hypothetical gaming strategy. It just makes sense.
Geoffrey Shenk, managing director at Kenshoo, agrees that Google search would give PS3 gamers a "richer experience." Similar to the Apple iAds experience for iPads, Google would become a mobile and local play through the PS3 that adds another way to connect screens. "If people like the search experience in the PS3 they won't leave the console experience for their laptop," he says.
Game industry experts also agree Sony could soon expand on its relationship with Google to include the search engine on the PS3. It makes sense to put Chrome in the console, according to William Volk, chief executive at PlayScreen, Encinitas. Volk, who came from Activision and Lightspan, says Nintendo's Wii supports the Opera browser and offers casual games that run in Flash. The question is whether Sony will do something similar and allow HTML 5 widgets to live on the PS3 supported by a browser like Chrome, Volk says.