Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

Summary: It's anyone's guess what Google will do with the "place-shifting" technology company, but the smart money says that Google will involve the cloud.

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Google's over-the-weekend acquisition of SageTV, a company focused on "place-shifting" technology for TV programming, has revived the chatter around the next version of Google TV, which hasn't really taken off with consumers since its rollout last fall.

Not only did the Logitech Revue, one of the first Google TV products released, come with a full-size keyboard for navigating the interface - an immediate cyanide pill, as far as I'm concerned - it also fell short when some content providers blocked its access to their programming.

There was some initial speculation that Google might be trying to get into the DVR space with this acquisition - but that makes no sense, seeing how DVRs are largely devices with big hard drives for storing video and the only place where Google seems to want you to store your data is in the cloud. Google hasn't said what it plans to do with SageTV and SageTV's announcement of the acquisition was also vague. It read, in part:

Since 2002, we’ve worked to change the TV viewing experience by building cutting-edge software and technology that allows you to create and control your media center from multiple devices. And as the media landscape continues to evolve, we think it’s time our vision of entertainment management grows as well. By teaming up with Google, we believe our ideas will reach an even larger audience of users worldwide on many different products, platforms and services.

It's anyone's guess what Google will do with a technology that is working to give users control over their own content and allow them to watch it from multiple devices and/or platforms.

But I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that this could be Google's push into personal video clouds, an "entertainment management" system that would allow users to presumably access a list of their favorite shows or online videos and not only access them from phones or tablets, but also wirelessly stream them to any Internet-connected display.

(Remember: the other rollout Google TV offering came as embedded technology in a Sony Internet TV, though it also came with a keyboard - just not a full-size one.)

Google has already said it wants to merge Web video and TV programming into one big searchable index to give viewers access to all of the content out there so my speculation about focusing on the "entertainment management" shouldn't be too far-fetched. Personally, I'd welcome a Google TV service that would allow me to manage my catalog of favorites through a Web interface and then access them from a smartphone, tablet, living room display or even a hotel room TV.

If I'm dreaming, I might as well go big, right? Still, this seems to be the path that the industry is heading down.

Apple's updated AirPlay service allows users to mirror their iPad displays to their Apple TV-connected screens, which means that the iCloud content that can be accessed by computer, iPhone and iPad can now reach the TV, too.

I'm also intrigued by what Fanhattan is doing with its iPad app, allowing users to search for content anywhere and then watch it on the device. That "search everywhere" capability is what Google has been playing up.

Last fall's Google TV product may not have been perfect out of the gate, but Google is working to make it better and better with every version, just as it has continued to do with Android, GMail, search and more.

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Topics: Google, Hardware, Mobility

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20 comments
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  • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

    You've gotta give it to Google. They are sitting on an enormous amount of money and they spend that money when an opportunity arises. Sure some of there ideas have flopped, but some have become bargains in the long run (Youtube). I would say, win or lose, for whatever reason tey bought Sage TV, there's a real good reason for it. Besides, one more company that's part of Google and makes it, just a tad bit more, a more valuable company.
    Charles_B
    • My guess at a reason...

      @cboquin
      Maybe SageTV has some juicy patents that Google wants?!?
      Bit-Smacker
    • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

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      robinstar11
  • Heading to the dumpster, more likely

    Just my opinion.
    Will Pharaoh
  • Not their worst decision...

    Google's worst decision was to actively promote homosexuality in a TV commercial aired last week. What's next on their political agenda? Pedophilia? Beastiality?
    If they are going to promote mental illness, let's celebrate depression and drug addiction.
    hughjohanson
    • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

      @hughjohanson

      is it possible that, if, someone uses their products, whatever they may be, one give tacit approval to their points of view?
      Charles_B
    • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

      @hughjohanson
      What does your deranged bigotry have to do with a tech column?
      riledupone
      • I think he meant to post on John Carroll's blog

        @riledupone

        But it would still be deranged, bigoted post over there, too.
        Will Pharaoh
    • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

      @hughjohanson

      Hey, maybe if you spent a little less time fighting "evil" you could do some good...ya homophobic-right-wing-Sarah-Palin-followin'-mouth-breathin'-Fox-News-watchin'-NRA-supportin'-FREAK!
      HappyXWindowsUser
      • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

        @Maconvert
        Nothing wrong with being a member of the NRA just remember if your leftwing idots have you way only the criminals and the crimails with badges would have the guns.
        rparker009
      • hughjohanson might be &quot;bigoted&quot;, but you're an imbecile.

        hughjohanson's kind of opinion is most often heard from the mouths of liberals, who will use any and all tactics to get their agenda pushed.
        adornoe
      • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

        @Maconvert <br><br>I'm a liberal and a gun owner... There's nothing wrong with guns. Granted, I don't really like the NRA because after every school shooting they release statements like, "This wouldn't have happened if everyone had guns"

        I think you should leave the gun arguments out of the arguments about bigots like the OP though...
        snoop0x7b
      • Your name says it all...

        @Maconvert
        I don't want to "profile" or "stereotype" (typical lib hot-points) as you just did with hughjohanson), but it seems his comment really struck a nerve with you...
        Bit-Smacker
    • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

      @hughjohanson
      How do you reconcile your narrow-minded bigoted comments as even relevant to a business conversation? It's time for some deep introspection as to where this hatred comes from. Cleanse brother cleanse.
      mdewid
  • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

    Sage TV was a good piece of software. Now, it has become Google Wave. It was a sad Father's Day for many.
    dhmccoy
    • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

      Amen to that. Here's to hoping SageTV survives in some usable form... 7.x may have to last in my home.
      BearBrad
  • Waiting for inflection

    What the hell is TV even good for anymore? Watercooler conversation? "OMG did you see Jersey Shore?! WTF?!" Frankly, I have better uses for the money and the bandwidth. I'll call Comcast again when they're rates go down and their capital expenditures go up. I'm a customer, not a stockholder. I don't care that they want 30% margin. I'll go back to "TV" when TV cares about its consumers again.
    tkejlboom
  • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

    As a SageTV user. This SUCKS
    What google will do is strip out what they want of it all. Then through that into a box you have to buy from them and pay a monthly charge ontop of the cost of the unit.
    And those of us with the sagetv will be left with noting to show for all the money we have been paying to support sagetv
    rparker009
    • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

      @rparker009
      All true. Google won't care about alienating current SageTv users. This is the beginning of the end of SageTv. I have mixed thoughts about the former owners selling us out.
      robtk21
  • RE: Google buys SageTV; Could Google TV be heading for the cloud?

    From Google or Apple, a standard 40" LCD with multi-touch and running Android/iOS would reduce the need for kayboard.

    It would be like being in NCIS Operations :-)

    Apple could even call it the iTV :-)

    Add a camera, and you get Facetime on the Big screen - and it would piss all over Cisco's Telepresence.
    neilpost