Google I/O: Curtain Lifts on Google TV

Google showcased the hotly- anticipated Google TV service that promises to combine Web search and TV programming.
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SAN FRANCISCO (

TheStreet

) -- Google, in what can be seen as the biggest leap into a new market since its Android hit wireless, introduced a TV and Internet service dubbed Google TV.

Taking aim at TV settop boxmakers like

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

and

Motorola

(MOT)

, Rishi Chandra, Google TV product manager, introduced the service, which harkens back to

Microsoft's

(MSFT) - Get Report

WebTV. The product is basically a TV with an Internet connection controlled by a computer keyboard and a set-top box.

Google is on familiar but largely

barren ground in Net TV

. Mighty innovators including

AOL

(AOL)

,

Roku

,

Microsoft

and even the seemingly infallible

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

have attempted and failed to bridge the divide between TV programming and Web content.

Google says it is working with

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

and

Logitech

(LOGI) - Get Report

on the hardware for Google TV and using

Intel's

(INTC) - Get Report

Atom processor as the chip developer. The systems are expected to be available at

Best Buy

(BBY) - Get Report

this fall, says Google.

Google fired up what had started Tuesday as a dull Google I/O developers event by giving away

Sprint's

(S) - Get Report

new

HTC EVO

phone to all 4,000-plus developers at the show Thursday.

"Thank you for supporting open access," Google engineering chief Vic Gundotra said to the audience.

The giveaway of the not-yet-released 4G WiMax phone was a warm-up to Google's main event: the unveiling of Google TV.

After an initial glitch with the wireless keyboard connection, Chandra was able to demonstrate the Google search box on the screen, giving users the ability to find programs on TV or the Internet.

"All we are doing is making the content that's available on the Web available on your HD TV," said Chandra.

Using a

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

Sports site, Chandra demonstrated how users can view player statistics and simultaneously watch a basketball game.

And in another nod to Yahoo!, Chandra showed how Google TV can use

Flickr

, Yahoo's popular photography collection, and run the shots through the TV as a photo viewer.

Google also demonstrated how an Android-powered phone could be used as a remote for Google TV. Using WiFi, the Android phones can connect to the Google TV box and search for programs or play videos on the TV that may be running on the phone.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.