Google TV News Round-Up

--"Social GTV" App Launched
--Funny or Die Launches Google TV Comedy App
--Blancspot Launches Google TV Social News App
--Software Update Upgrades Google TV to Android 3.2
--Google Asks FCC for Permission to Test WiFi- and Bluetooth-Enabled "Entertainment Device"

The Google TV platform has generated a fair amount of news over the past few days. Here is a round-up:

  • Google has launched a Google TV app called Social GTV. "What is Social GTV?" the app's creator, Will Carter, writes on the Google TV blog. "It is an app that allows you to show in-the-moment, relevant tweets overlayed on top of whatever you are watching, and it works with any show or event on any channel. Specify keywords, trends, user names or hashtags, then sit back and see what the world is saying about what you are watching, in real time. Not only can it overlay live TV, Social GTV can enhance anything showing on your Google TV. It could be the latest trending videos on YouTube or a game you just can't stop playing on OnLive. You have complete control of how the tweet displays, with the ability to make it appear on the top or bottom of the screen, control its duration, text size, typeface and other options. Social GTV lets you customize the tweet appearance in any way you like. Also, many new social features are in the works. Our goal is to evolve TV watching to an immersive social experience."
  • Original Web comedy programmer, Funny or Die, has launched a Google TV app. "With our new app in the Google TV Spotlight folder, you can access all your favorite Funny or Die classics like 'Between Two Ferns,' 'Drunk History,' or the one that started it all off: 'The Landlord,'" Funny or Die's VP of marketing, Patrick Starzan writes on the Google TV blog.

  • Blancspot Media has launched an app, priced at $1.99, that brings its interactive/social news service to Google TV. "Backed by Hollywood producer Frank Marshall, Blancspot Media is a next-generation, global media company focused on engaging the fastest-growing, most media-literate and technically astute generation in history," the company states in its press materials. "Blancspot goes beyond reporting the news to provide an engaging framework for users to connect with their communities and get involved in topics that interest them. Blancspot's news platform delivers content in a rich, cinematic and interactive experience that has captivated the youth market across the globe." Said Blancspot founder and CEO, Camille LeBlanc: "We created Blancspot to offer a social news experience that would follow users from their Android phones, tablets and now to Google TV. As a result, news becomes socially relevant to young adults who are looking to engage with a more creative and positive way to consume and share media. We are thrilled Google has featured Blancspot on the Google TV Android Market. Blancspot arrives in the living room as the first truly interactive global news service available for television viewing."

  • Google has rolled out a Google TV update that upgrades the platform to Android Honeycomb 3.2. The update, which is currently available on Sony's Google TV devices and will shortly be available on the Logitech Revue, provides support for hardware acceleration and HTTP live streaming; updates the Google TV version of the Chrome browser; and improves how Google TV identifies channels. NewTeeVee's Janko Roettgers has more.

  • In what may be Google TV-related news, Google has asked the FCC for permission to test a WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled "entertainment device" in employee homes in four US cities, according to an application unearthed by GigaOm's Stacey Higginbotham. In answer to a question on the application about the purpose of the testing requested, Google writes the following: "Testing throughput and stability of home WiFi networks using an entertainment device. Testing will include functional testing of all subsystems, including WiFi and Bluetooth radio. Users will connect their device to home WiFi networks and use Bluetooth to connect to other home electronics equipment. This line of testing will reveal real-world engineering issues and reliability of networks. The device utilizes a standard WiFi/Bluetooth module, and the planned testing is not directed at evaluating the radio frequency characteristics of the module (which are known), but rather at the throughput and stability of the home WiFi networks that will support the device, as well as the basic functionality of the device. From this testing we hope to modify the design in order to maximize product robustness and user experience. Utilizing the requested number of units will allow testing of real-world network performance and its impact on applications running on the device, so that any problems can be discovered and addressed promptly. All devices will be used by and registered to specific individuals (all Google employees), and Google will maintain a record of each device, so that they can be easily recalled at any time during testing and when testing is complete. The devices will be tested at Google facilities and within employees residences in the following areas: Mountain View, CA: 37.421265 N, -122.085314 W; Los Angeles, CA: 33.995388 N, -118.477035 W; Cambridge, MA: 42.362754 N, -71.088023 W; and New York, NY: 40.741872 N, -74.004579 W."
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