Google is testing a new search service that will make it easier for people to find their favourite TV shows and YouTube videos, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The trial is being carried out in association with Dish Network, the second biggest satellite television provider in the United States. The new service enables television viewers to more easily find the shows they want to watch, discover content from internet video sites such as YouTube, and create a personalised TV schedule, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The service runs on a new range of set-top boxes that use a version of Google's Android operating system, and aims to bring together traditional broadcast television with the increasing number of online video services. The trial is limited to a small selection of Google employees, say sources close to the project. Both Google and Dish Network have refused to comment on rumours about the trial.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Google will hope to combine its TV search service with its new television advertising-brokering business, Google TV, enabling it to target specific adverts to individual households based on their search and viewing habits.
Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive, said last month that Android could be the perfect platform for TV hardware manufacturers. "It makes sense that people would use Android as an operating system for set-top boxes, buddy boxes and TVs," he said. "All of those ideas have been proposed by our partners."
Technology companies are increasingly searching for ways to replicate their online dominance in the living room by combining on-demand services with the best of the web. YouTube, which is owned by Google, has a growing number of long-form content deals in place with broadcasters, which means full episodes of many popular television shows, such as The Inbetweeners, are available through the video-sharing site as well as directly from the broadcaster's catch-up TV service.
Apple's Apple TV box, which allows users to directly download movies and TV shows to their television, as well as access Flickr and YouTube, has enjoyed limited success, and been dismissed as a "hobby" project by Apple. And TiVo plans to re-enter the UK television market before the end of this year, in a partnership with Virgin Media, creating a set top box which will blend the best of broadcast and online video content, and allows users to create a personalised viewing experience.