Offering a potential peek into the company plans, Google Inc. posted job openings Friday for software engineers with knowledge of television technology. In the Web-site posting, Google said it's looking for people with experience developing client- or server-based applications for consumer devices, such as mobile, TV and games.
"We are hiring well-rounded Software Engineers with a proven track record in creating and deploying robust, high-volume applications for consumer devices," the ad reads.
The positions are based in Mountain View, Calif., and London, and ask that the applicant have experience with content management systems, user interface development for content-rich applications, cable and Internet-protocol television (IPTV) headend systems and digital video technology in embedded systems.
Headend systems are used to process, receive and distribute television signals over a cable television system.
Requirements include strong Java and/or C++ skills and object-oriented design experience, including working knowledge of core libraries and design patterns.
Google broadcasts video on the Web and on select cable networks, but IPTV would give the company an interactive platform. The company has a short clip called "Google Current" that runs on the Current TV Web network, whose chairman is Al Gore, and chief executive officer Joel Hyatt. Current TV is owned by private investors.
Job postings are some of the best leading indicators on the types of services companies plan to offer, said Roger Entner, vice president of wireless telecoms at research firm Ovum. "People don't get hired for pet projects, and this could mean that Google is seriously looking into IPTV projects," he said. "It sounds like they're looking for someone who once worked at Qualcomm or Nokia."
Google's job description indicates the company wants experts in emerging TV standards such as digital video broadcasting (DVB), multi-media home platform (MHP) and real-time streaming protocol (RTSP), as well as "deploying applications with cable or telecommunications partners across the world." Google could become a distribution channel similar to AT&T and Verizon, Entner said.
But other job postings on the company's Web site point toward a true interactive IPTV network. Google, close lipped about the postings, also is looking for product managers for its IPTV venture.