Google is testing a TV search service on Android OS set-top boxes, according to a Wall Street Journal report, but it's still unclear whether the experiment will go anywhere. The service, being tested in conjunction with Dish Network satellite TV service, would allow users to search Dish programming as well as video Web properties, such as YouTube.
The WSJ report is thin on details but notes that users would search via keyboard, rather than remote control. It also notes that Google hoped to link the service with its TV ad-brokering business. The tests reportedly began last year. Google declined comment for the WSJ story.
Linking Web content and traditional TV programming into a searchable database for viewing is a smart idea. Eventually, TV programming will be funneled through the Internet instead of cable and satellite systems. Viewers will need a way to not only find programming but discover new ones, as well. I imagine search will be one of those new ways of discovering programming.
What's also interesting is Google's use of the Android OS as the backbone technology for the set-top box. The operating system has largely been talked about in the form of netbooks - but there's no reason that it couldn't power something like a set-top box.
Still, it's hard to imagine that set-top boxes will be around for much longer as Web technology moves directly to the TV screen itself and eliminates the need for add-on devices.