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Google unveils new TV service

Google TV to merge web and television; SDK confirmed for Flash-based gaming

Google has unveiled a new web-to-TV service, Google TV, which will launch later in the year and enable users to search for videos to watch on their televisions via the Google search engine.

Google TV will also make games more accessible on televisions - with Adobe Flash Player 10.1 directly integrated into the Google Chrome browser it uses, television users will be able to access Flash games from the web.

"In our announcement today at Google I/O, we challenged web developers to start coming up with the next great web and Android apps designed specifically for the TV experience," said Google TV product manager Salahuddin Choudhary, writing on Google's blog.

"Developers can start optimising their websites for Google TV today," he added. "Soon after launch, we'll release the Google TV SDK and web APIs for TV so that developers can build even richer applications and distribute them through Android Market. [...] We're looking forward to seeing all of the ways developers will use this new platform."

The new technology will be based on the company's Android operating system, and numerous companies have already signed up to support it, including Sony and Logitech who will release compatible products such as TVs, Blu-ray players and companion boxes later this year.

Logitech also confirmed that it would release a remote control that combines keyboard and remote control capabilities, and Google added that it would introduce other methods of navigation and control, but didn't give examples, according to Gamasutra.

Flash gaming site Kongregate announced it has partnered with Adobe to bring over 100 of its games to Google's Android mobile platform and Google said that it is also starting to build strategic alliances with a number of companies including Jinni.com and Rovi to provide enhanced searches, personalised recommendations and social features for Google TV.

The first devices are set to go on sale in the autumn, with software developments kits coming soon after.

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Kath Brice