Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on, Bruce Springsteen once sang. Oh, Bruce, if only you'd had Google TV to cut down on the endless wading through pages and pages of channels. Crave got a first look at the service in action on the Sony stand at technology trade show IFA in Germany last week.

Google TV will power Sony's Internet television service, starting from next year. You'll be able to search for specific keywords in future programmes, your recordings, rentals, and the Web, just like typing a search into Google on your computer. You'll be able to bookmark TV channels and place them alongside your Web bookmarks on a customised home screen.

When you're on the Web, the programme you're watching stays in the corner of the screen. That's handy for tweeting about a show or finding out more information about what you're watching.

Google TV ties together the various services owned by the big G. Search for something, and you can click between Picasa, Google Maps, YouTube and other options to find relevant photographs, locations, videos and more.

It remains to be seen how easy this system is to control: the humble remote might be overwhelmed by the options. In its guidelines for developers building sites for viewing on a telly, Google revealed that GTV remotes will all have a Qwerty keyboard.

Google TV is not to be confused with Android TV. Google TV is a platform for searching and aggregating TV and Web content, whereas Android TV is set to be a platform that brings apps to televisions. Quite why Google has done a Microsoft and come up with two confusingly similar products is beyond us.

Click through our gallery to see Google TV in action. Is this the Internet TV service you've been waiting for, or is the living room merely another stage in Google's plot to take over the entire world, one screen at a time?

Search TV programme as well as the Web.
Search the Web from your TV.
Don't miss any of the match even as you tweet a hilarious insight.
Search Google maps.
Watch YouTube videos.
Find photos on Picasa.
They don't have to be pictures of cats.
Watch music videos, like Sony artist Shakira.
Customise your home screen with bookmarks.
Multitasking, like Shakira -- she can sing and dance at the same time!
Google TV shouldn't be confused with Android TV.


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