Google and Dish Network are testing a search service that would enable users to find video content on conventional TV and on the Internet, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The test, which uses Google's Android software, could determine whether TV viewers would favor Web-like searches over the use of remote control searches, which usually involve the use of menus and much clicking around via a TV's remote control. The test is said to be restricted to a small number of set-top boxes in the hands of Google employees.
The experiment is another indication that a wide range of companies is seeking to take advantage of the emerging convergence of TV and Internet video offerings. Google and Dish Network officials have declined to discuss the test publically. Google's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, however, has suggested that Android technology could be used by TV hardware manufacturers.
"It makes sense that people would use Android as an operating system for set-top boxes, buddy boxes and TVs," he said, according to published reports. "All of those ideas have been proposed by our partners."
Two years ago, Google teamed up with satellite TV provider Dish Network to test the automation of ad buying, delivery sales, and metrics to study how TV search and advertising operate. At the time Schmidt said that test was important because Google said it believed it could add value to TV by delivering more relevant ads to viewers.
The 2007 experiment was also meant to test the waters by providing better accountability for advertisers and to better monetize inventory for TV operators and programmers.