Technology

Google Readies Next Version of TV Software for 2012 Release


(Bloomberg) — Google Inc. plans to release an updated version of software for its namesake television service by year-end, adding content and making it easier for users to find shows.

Google TV will undergo annual software upgrades, Rishi Chandra, director of product management at the company, said in an interview yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

“We don’t intend to stop iterating,” Chandra said. “You’ll see cool interaction stuff, you’ll see a lot of cool things happening on the recommendation engine and on the discovery experience.”

Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine, is working to build on momentum for its fledgling efforts in television. After debuting to lackluster sales in 2010, Google TV earned the support of hardware manufacturers including LG Electronics Inc. and OnLive Inc., an application developer, both of which unveiled products around the service this week in Las Vegas.

The third version of Google TV will become available in the second half of this year, Chris Dale, a spokesman for the Mountain View, California-based company, said in an interview.

Google TV is focused on helping users make sense of all the TV shows and Web videos available to them, Chandra said.

‘Biggest Challenge’

“The biggest challenge facing the content industry going forward is that in a world of unlimited choice, how do you actually bring the right content to the user?” he said.

The software will eventually be able to track all the material people watch — including live programming and online videos — and offer recommendations on other content they might enjoy. These personalized features will be opt-in, and not mandatory for all users, Chandra said.

“We need to make it so that any time you turn on the TV we know what you want to watch,” he said.

Since upgrading Google TV in October, the company has seen activations of the service more than double, the company said in a blog posting last week.

The company develops the software for the service and relies on manufacturers of TVs and other electronics to build products that work with the technology.

Google rose 0.6 percent to $629.64 at the close in New York. The shares gained 8.7 percent last year.

With Jun Yang and Brian Womack
MacMillan is a reporter for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek in San Francisco.

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