There’s no denying that Siri has become the next big thing for Apple. Google appears to be taking the idea behind Siri and applying it to where it's needed most - the television.
Patently Apple got the exclusive scoop on a new patent filed by Google that brings text and voice control to a Google television via a remote or smartphone. The patent details how a user will be able to use voice or text commands on an Android phone to perform basic functionality like turning the TV on or having it change the channel to the program of their choice.
That all seems nice and fine, but it’s important to remember that Apple has had a similar functionality with their Remote app that allows users to use their iPhone or iPad to control their Apple TV or MacBook.
The other details in the patent is where things get really cool. The patent details how the Google TV will communicate with the Android phone’s GPS. This will allow the TV to know when the user is close to being home so it turns the TV on for them before they walk in the door. The technology applies to music as well, so people can have their favorite after work rock anthem playing as soon as they enter the door.
But how does this technology apply to the act of just watching TV? The patent details how a user can ask their phone, “When is Seinfeld?” Upon the request, the phone and TV will both spring into action. The phone will list a scrollable list of episodes with times while the TV will display the program guide with the relative information.
After this vibrant display of the future, the user can go about picking the episode they want to watch on their phone. If the episode is currently airing, the TV will go straight to that channel. If the episode is set to air at a later time, the user can set the TV to turn to that channel at the time of the airing or set it to record the episode to a DVR.
Since it’s the future, Google’s system will be cloud based. All inquiries made over the phone will be sent to a cloud server where it will be processed and then the user will see the result on their phone and television. The patent points out that users may have to use a trigger word for the phone to recognize the query. This is similar to the Kinect for Xbox 360 which requires users to start each voice command with a word like “Xbox” before it recognizes any voice commands.
It remains to be seen whether or not Apple will fire back with something similar of their own for a TV product. The Apple TV has been underwhelming so we’ll just have to wait and see what the company has planned. With all their attention seemingly on the rumored March launch of the iPad 3, I don’t really expect anything on the TV front from them yet.[Lead image courtesy of Patently Apple]