Google TV adds context-aware voice search

If you're anything like me, your thoughts on Google TV generally run along the lines of "Oh, is that still around?" After a high profile launch the service just seemed to fade into the background and the only big news we heard was bad, specifically when Logitech called their Google TV device, the Revue, a big mistake that cost the company $100 million.

A few months back there was a small flurry of excitement when Vizio announced its $100 Co-Star Google TV set-top box, and Sony and LG both are making TVs with Google TV built in. But still it had the feeling of a project on life-support.

But Google hasn't given up and Google TV is still being worked on and moving forward. Yesterday came news of a new version of the firmware headed (initially) towards LG TVs. This new build rebrands the "TV & Movies" section to PrimeTime and allows users to search for content across both external sources and the Google Play store.

But the big news is the addition of Voice Search. A post over at GigaOM digs into the details but the crib notes version is that Google TV's voice search will be 'intelligent.' If you say "ITworld" Google TV will bring you to our website, but if you say "CNN" it'll tune into that TV station. If you ask it how to tie a tie, you'll get a YouTube video demonstrating that skill. That's the theory at least.

If it works it could be great, but in my experience "almost" doesn't cut it with voice activated services.

As mentioned, Google TV 3.0 will roll out to LG TVs initially, then will hit devices like the Co-Star, where your smartphone will work as the microphone for voice search. Bad news for early adopters: this version won't be coming to first generation Google TV hardware (that includes Logitech's $100 million mistake).

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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