Google TV is adding a new feature that could make it easier for users to search and navigate all the different content on various video applications, without having to use keypads or clunky text interfaces. It’s also rebranding its digital video store PrimeTime, as a way to entice users to shop for — and buy — movies and TV shows on their devices.
The latest Google TV update, which will launch on LG devices, brings voice search to the platform for the first time. Users will be able to search for movies and TV shows, open applications, and go to websites, simply by harnessing the power of their voice. The functionality will work across multiple applications, which will let users see all the various ways to access their favorite content, whether it be on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or in other apps.
The Google TV voice search feature mimics capability that is already built into Microsoft Kinect and similar functionality that was demoed by Samsung at CES last year. Apple, too, is reportedly looking at Siri’s voice search as a new way to navigate the currently clunky Apple TV interface.
Of course, voice search is only really useful if it actually works, something that millions of Apple fans learned when Siri first hit the iPhone. The actual amount that people search by talking into their remote controls or mobile devices will largely depend on how good it is, which remains to be seen.
In addition to the new voice search functionality, Google TV will also be re-branding its digital video store. Once simply called “TV & Movies,” the storefront will continue to be the place to find — and pay for — TV & movie content. But it’ll now be called PrimeTime.
The changes come just a day after YouTube announced a new Android app that will let users to pair up with Google TV devices. The app allows users to search and navigate on the small screen while watching videos on the big one. By doing so, YouTube reduces the need to search through billions of videos with an up-down-left-right remote control.
While launching on LG devices over the next week, Google will be looking to make the update available on other second-generation Google TV devices over the coming months. Those who bought first-gen Google TVs won’t get voice search, though they will have an updated PrimeTime video store and new YouTube apps to marvel at.
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