Google is reportedly testing a new service with Dish Network that would let subscribers search via their TVs for shows and online video from sites like YouTube.
The new search service would run on Internet-connected set-top boxes loaded with Google software, according to The Wall Street Journal, and would let Dish's satellite TV subscribers search for and create their own lineups of shows and online content using a keyboard.
The test started last year and so far has been limited to only some Google employees and their families, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The search giant is apparently eyeing the new service as a way of bringing its keyword and search advertising to the TV audience, as subscribers would bump into Google display ads as they search for their favorite shows. The set-top box would also run Google's Android operating system, providing additional markets for the platform beyond smartphones and mobile devices.
As the worlds of television and the Internet continue to come together, Google joins a growing list of companies trying to offer consumers convenient access to both. Surveys have shown that people increasingly want to be able to view Web-based content on their big-screen TVs. Several major players, such as Apple and Microsoft, already offer their own services that flow in both TV and Web content via set-top boxes.
Other companies are now joining the game. Cablevision is testing a new wireless service that would pipe content from a computer to the TV. Last week, TiVo unveiled a new DVR that lets viewers search for online video.
Google, which generates significant revenue through online ads, is apparently looking to the Dish service as a way to target new content and new advertisements specifically to TV viewers.