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Google Plans Siri-like Controls for Google TV

Is Google planning its own voice assistant
February 20, 2012
Google TV

A patent filed just days before the launch of Apple’s Siri defines Google’s vision on how we will interact with our TV sets in the near future. The brand new patent describes a dedicated remote control device or an app that will let users control TVs via voice commands, but also run queries, or program the set to turn on automatically when the user gets close to home.

As Patently Apple reports, Google is likely to integrate the technology in its Google TV smart TV platform and will probably materialize the invention as an Android app, although a voice-enabled remote control is also plausible.

Couch potatoes rejoice

According to Google’s patent, future Google TV users will be able to turn on the TV, switch channels, or start recording a football game by simply talking to their smartphone or tablet, which will act as a remote control. The mobile device will analyze the command and transmit it to the set box or the smart TV.

However, the invention covers much more than simple command issuing. One scenario described in the patent shows how users will be able to ask the app about the running times of a sitcom, all in natural language. The system will process the question, retrieve the relevant information, and display it both on the mobile device and on the TV screen. In this respect, the technology is quite similar to Apple’s virtual assistant Siri.

Users will also be able to instruct their smart TVs (via an Android phone) to turn on when they approach home, to switch to a specific channel at a certain hour, or to start a playlist according to a mood set by the user.

Apple too is rumored to launch a voice-controlled HDTV in the close future. On the other hand, Google, which has enjoyed modest success with Google TV, may decide to license the technology to Samsung, LG, or to other manufacturers.

No matter how things turn out, it’s always good to know that Android devices earn yet another amazing capability.