Google Australia, whose YouTube operation is 5 years old this month, has confirmed that they are currently talking to several local content partners including free to air TV stations with a view to delivering TV content in Australia via YouTube.
The global search Company hashowever refused to confirm that that they are working with both Sony and Intel to develop a new Google TV platform which could be launched later this year, or at the latest at the 2011, CES Show in Las Vegas.
The Australian operation recently appointed Richard North to head up a YouTube partner program. They have also admitted that users of the current YouTube service will have access to content such as the Indian Premier League which has already attracted 10 million visitors as well as sporting and TV drama content from European and US TV stations.
Overnight speculation emerged that Google has developed a new content box which is being jointly developed with Sony and Intel. According to the New York Times the new Google TV Box will incorporate Android software that will make it easy for TV users to navigate Web applications, like the Twitter social network and the Picasa photo site, applications that are already available on TV’s from Samsung, Panasonic and LG.
What is not known is whether the Google TV software will be made available to vendors other than Sony to use on embedded chipsets inside a TV, or whether users will be forced to buy an additional piece of hardware to access Google TV.
According to Lucinda Barlow Communications Manager of Google Australia it is still early days. “We have recently appointed a local partner manager who is already talking to local content partners. We are looking at delivering locally a new content platform for all forms of content. We are in a competitive market and it is going to take time to set up the content offering”. She said.
In other developments Logitech, has been chosen to create peripherals for the system, including a remote with a tiny keyboard.
The initial Google TV box will be powered by an Intel Atom CPU and Android software according to sources, however insiders are saying that over time the new technology could be directly integrated into future TVs via the introduction of a small motherboard.
What is not known is whether the Intel powered motherboard will be prone to crashing or freezing like Intel powered PC’s.
Google’s efforts to break into TV advertising date back three years. Through a program called Google TV Ads, the company sells advertising on a handful of satellite and small cable TV systems, as well as some cable networks.
Google says thousands of advertisers have signed up for the program, but analysts say they believe the amount of revenue generated is too small to have a significant impact on Google’s overall business.