Google Inc unveiled Google TV on Thursday in an effort to bring Web- connected television into living rooms and its reach into the $70 billion TV advertising market.
The widely expected multi-pronged effort marks the latest attempt to bring the Internet into living rooms, a vision that has challenged virtually every major player in the technology and consumer electronics industry for years, from Apple Inc to Microsoft Corp.
For Google, television represents an attractive market in which to expand its Internet advertising business, which generated the bulk of its $23.7 billion in 2009 revenue.
Executives demonstrated how Google TV will work. A Google search box pops up directly on the screen, allowing surfing through broadcasting channels as well as the Internet. Searches can be typed on input devices resembling a tablet-like gadget.
Google has lined up partners to supply components, which will include a microprocessor as well as a graphics processor. The TV comes with both WiFi wireless and ethernet connections.
Intel Corp and Sony Corp are widely reported to have teamed up with Google, extending Google and Intel's reach beyond personal computers and into broadcasting. For Sony, whose dominance in electronics has been eroded by the likes of Samsung Electronics, the effort helps it get ahead of rivals in developing a new generation of devices.
Video should be consumed on the biggest, best and brightest screen in the house. And that's a TV. It's not a PC or a phone or anything else in between, said Google project senior product manager Rishi Chandra.
Whether consumers will greet the new crop of TV-Internet hybrids more enthusiastically than they have with previous incarnations remains to be seen.
Portending potentially the speed and bandwidth limitations of such a device, embarrassed Google engineers struggled initially to get their TV up and running, and had to ask their audience to turn off their bandwidth-siphoning cellphones.
Google also said on Thursday that more than 100,000 smartphones running on its Android mobile operating system are now activated daily and its library of applications has grown to 50,000 from less than 40,000 in the first quarter, underscoring the rapid adoption of the devices.
The Internet search and advertising leader added that searches on its mobile Internet search engine have quintupled in the past two years.
At its annual developer's conference, executives outlined how the Android -- an operating system introduced last year in competition with Apple's and Palm Inc PALM.O> -- is gaining traction in the intensely competitive market.
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Writing by Edwin Chan; Editing by Andre Grenon and Richard Chang)