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Local Tech Wire and From Wire Reports

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – “TV meets web. Web meets TV” is the slogan Google is using for this new endeavor.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) believes it has come up with the technology to unite Web surfing with channel surfing on televisions.
To reach this long-elusive goal, Google has partnered with Sony, Intel, and Logitech International. The companies unveiled their much-anticipated plan for a "Smart" TV on Thursday in front of about 5,000 software programmers.

Sony will make the TVs, which will rely on Intel’s Atom microprocessor. Google will provide the software, including Android and the company’s Chrome Web browser. Logitech will supply a special remote control and wireless keyboard.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, was joined on stage for the announcement with Paul Otellini of Intel, Howard Stringer of Sony, Gerry Quindlen from Logitech, Charlie Ergen from the Dish Network, Brian Dunn of Best Buy, and chief executive of Adobe, Shantanu Narayen.

Local Tech Wire watched the announcement on a live video stream along with about 1.3 million channel subscribers. And, while some glitches in the demo (too many folks using the WiFi network at once disabled the Bluetooth keyboard) prevented it from being a “wow” moment; the implications are pretty clear what Google is going for.

There are an estimated four billion TV users worldwide, which means advertising to four billion TV users worldwide.

Google notes that people spend five hours a day on average in the U.S. watching television. Then the real stat came out – $70 billion. That’s the estimated annual spending on advertising on television in just the U.S.

The search-engine giant generated nearly $24 billion in revenue last year from Web advertising.

Once it got enough bandwidth for the demo after pleading with the audience to shut down their smartphones, Google was able to conduct a series of Internet searches in a drop-down box that appears at the top of television programs. The search results pointed to Internet videos and other content related to the television program on the screen.

For example, a telecast of a sporting event (they used the LA Lakers/Phoenix Suns game last night) can be shrunk into a small "picture-in-picture" box so a viewer can look at the statistics or other material about the game on TV. The presenters also noted that you can now follow a twitter feed on American Idol while watching American Idol live on your television – all in one place and in real-time.

Consumers who already have splurged on flat-panel TVs will be able to plug into the new technology by buying a set-top box made by Logitech or a Blu-ray player from Sony. Both devices will contain the same software and microprocessor as the new TV sets. And, it also will work with Android phones.

Additionally, viewers can make search requests by speaking into a remote running on Android’s OS.

Other companies have tried to turn televisions into Internet gateways with little success during the past decade. But, Google and its partners believe they have developed a system that will make Internet TV more simple and appealing.

Watch a demo of and see for yourself.