Linking Internet with television

Google announced what it calls “multimillion-channel TV,” which aims to link everything online and on television to Internet capable TV.

Beginning Oct. 16, users could have an operating system on their television where they can access movies, Youtube, music, Netflix, sporting events, shows and Facebook. Google has already made deals with the renting giant Netflix, along with HBO and the NBA.

What this means for cable and satellite providers is uncertain, but they probably won’t be happy. If Google can customize the television experience to have exactly what customers want to watch and nothing else, why bother with 5,000 channels of Lifetime movies and Family Guy reruns?

Cost will be the decisive factor for Google TV’s success. With a reasonable price tag, people who already rely heavily on Internet-based media will be quick to jump on board. Currently, Sony is selling a line of TVs with Google TV retailing anywhere from $600 to $1,400.

Many people have already left behind cable or satellite in favor of hulu.com and other sites that show TV shows online. Google TV just may make the separation from satellite that much easier.

Advertisers and producers must also be concerned. Selling ads to online viewers is a difficult process that hasn’t been developed fully yet. Most streaming sites now have ads before and during videos, but the viewership is difficult to calculate. The success rate of online ads is also undetermined.

But Google has one advantage that Facebook already capitalizes on. Personalization. They know users’ every search term, and handle all Gmail users’ messages. They could sell ads based on each viewer, meaning advertisers would not have to worry that their ads would be wasted on someone uninterested.

This is already how Google ads on websites work. It means no more male sexuality drug ads for young people or feminine hygiene ads for men, and that alone seems pretty utopian.

Google already dominates search, mail and maps. Even their lesser successes such as GoogleWave, iGoogle, and Google Docs are highly intuitive. Their business is simple — blend entertainment to give users and viewers what they want.

Google TV can now dominate TV. It will have sporting events, movies, shows, all on demand. When you want it, they have it. Even more deadly to satellite: Youtube, Facebook and Twitter will all be linked as well.

Imagine watching American Idol and tweeting about a contestant’s performance right on screen. How about pausing Shawshank Redemption to video conference on Gtalk with your parents? Or muting that conference and smiling and nodding while you resume Shawshank. No one has to know right?

Expect GoogleTV to treat cable networks as they plan to treat phone companies with Google phone numbers. Dish network will go the way of Ask.com and Hotmail.

The only thing left to stop Google: legislation.

Author: Evan Duncan

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