Google really wants to be everywhere on the Internet. The latest news involving one of the biggest search engines is that Google teamed up with Intel and Sony to create a new set-top box for in-home streaming.
The project, called Google TV, is based on the Android operating system available on some smartphones. According to the New York Times, Google TV will let consumers browse and stream the Internet right to their televisions. The new project has been underway for several months.
The three companies all decline comment on the project. But if the rumors are right, they will face some big competitors including Cisco, Motorola, Microsoft, Apple, TiVo, Roku and Boxee. Not to mention Yahoo!, who demonstrated Widgets on the new lineup of LG HDTV’s.
The New York Times published a very interesting discussion about Google and its effect on the Internet and the media. Attending the discussion were Ken Auletta, author of “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It” and Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist at Union Square Ventures and an early-stage investor in many Web companies, including Twitter. John Markoff, a reporter for The Times that has been writing about technology since 1976, was the moderator of the discussion.
Both Auletta and Wilson believe that the biggest potential threat to Google is coming from social networks like Facebook and Twitter. “Imagine you want to buy a camera. Would you rather have the advice of 20 friends whom you know and trust and who share their experience with cameras, or 20,000 or so links from a Google search?”, they explained.
The mobile Web represents another new user behavior. The use of apps on mobile devices is becoming the dominant form of content discovery and usage on the mobile Web. Google is aware of these threats and is working to address them, but it is not the dominant technology provider in social media (Facebook) or mobile (Apple).
There is no doubt that Google has a near-monopoly over the current form of Internet search and is still a very powerful tool. However, technology moves very quickly and one decade’s dominant monopoly may be the next decade’s fading giant.
The space agency and the most powerful search engine may team up to track if countries are keeping their carbon dioxide emission promises. NASA and Google are developing satellites to monitor both carbon dioxide pollution and the levels of forest destruction.
Google has been developing a new program called Earth Engine which is a massive storehouse that forested countries will be able to access for free, probably by the next U.N. climate conference in Mexico next year.
The new technology was demonstrated in Copenhagen at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Deforestation in third world countries is one of the biggest issues related to increased atmospheric CO2. The Earth Engine system could help everyone keep track of what is happening with the forests. This will, in turn, give scientists more information about the theoretical relationships between human activities, CO2 levels, and global climate change.
Meanwhile, NASA is awaiting White House approval and going through the budget process to re-launch the satellite that monitors carbon dioxide emissions. This kind of teamwork between public and private entities is a promising note in an otherwise rancorous debate.