Google TV Update Improves Voice Search - InformationWeek

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11/14/2012
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Google TV Update Improves Voice Search

An updated YouTube app puts Android device content on Google TV screens.

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Google says it will begin sending out a software update to select Google TV devices this week to add several new features, with broader distribution to follow.

Google TV customers might experience a sense of deja vu: The update makes Google's Voice Search available, so viewers can speak into their Google TV remote to watch shows, play YouTube videos, open applications, visit websites, or conduct Google searches.

Google previously made voice search available in December 2010 -- before it had gone upscale with capital letters -- as part of the Google TV Remote app for Android and iOS devices.

But this latest update integrates Voice Search into the Google TV platform, taking it beyond voice transcription and content navigation. The new Voice Search relies on Google's Knowledge Graph, which allows spoken queries to be understood more accurately.

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As an example, Google TV product managers Greg Funk and Eric Liu explain in a blog post that speaking the phrase "how to tie a bow tie" will prompt an appropriate YouTube video to play. That's the Knowledge Graph in action, interpreting the query and launching a relevant video. Without the Knowledge Graph, you'd have to speak the video's title.

Google also has replaced its TV & Movies app with an integrated viewing guide called PrimeTime, which is intended to make it easier to find interesting content to watch on Google TV devices.

In addition, YouTube on Tuesday updated the YouTube app for Android so it can stream content from Android devices to Google TV screens. Think of it as Google's answer to Apple's AirPlay technology.

Google says it will make the update available for Google TV-enabled LG devices this week and to other second-generation Google TV hardware in coming months. First-generation devices such as the Logitech Revue will only see updates to PrimeTime and YouTube.

Asked about sales of Google TV devices, a Google spokesman said only that the company was pleased with adoption so far.

In February, the number of Google TV customers appeared to be somewhere in the 500,000 to 1 million range, based on counts of default app installations. Current installation counts published on Google Play suggest those numbers have not changed much.

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