Google has been dabbling in the TV sector for almost four years, though it has never been quite clear exactly what role the Internet giant would play. Within the last few months, the speculation has been spiced up by some interesting moves by Google.
First, hot on the heels of success in the mobile industry, the company's Android operating system started to work its way into set-top box developments. Second, Google announced somewhat surprising fiber network ambitions which, more than anything else, seemed like a way of throwing down a challenge to traditional network operators as the Federal Communications Commission readied its national broadband plan. Third, Google reportedly has been testing a TV content search service with Dish Network that may have some relevance to Google's targeted advertising strategy.
That last bit was reported by The Wall Street Journal yesterday, and suggests the evolution that Android-based set-top boxes are likely to take. In most sectors of telecom, companies have been concerned about the Google effect: Will the giant infringe on everything and everyone, or just on their own little corner of the sector?
If Google sticks to its search roots and the core talents of its OS unit, most service providers and vendors will not have much to fear. The main companies that will have to think about Google's affronts are like-minded giants like Microsoft, Apple and Yahoo!, because Google may have a chance to encroach on their partnerships with IPTV carriers and other service providers.
Still, there's a lot left uncertain about where Google is headed and how far it will go. It is not even clear what will come of the reported test with Dish. What is clear is that Google, through Android as well as other efforts, is getting closer to having a real effect on the TV market.
P.S.: Read the Wall Street Journal's report on Google