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Google plays coy on Google TV ads, data

During an event for Logitech's new Revue Google TV box, Google has little to share regarding its plans for ads in Google TV or data-sharing policies.

Someday, Google might put ads on the Google TV interface, but for now, it plans to keep things clean.
Someday, Google might put ads on the Google TV interface, but for now, it plans to keep things clean.
Sarah Tew/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO--Two things Google ordinarily loves talking about, ads and data, were not on the agenda during its Google TV launch party.

Rishi Chandra, lead product manager for Google TV, deflected questions about whether Google intends to run its own advertising alongside ads already shown on regular TV or Web programs running through the Google TV software, introduced today on the Logitech Revue box. Logitech has begun selling Revues for $299, it showed off many of its capabilities during launch events in San Francisco and New York. (Check out CNET's first take).

Chandra confirmed, however, that Google is not planning to put any ads within the Google TV interface quite yet. He wouldn't comment on exactly when that stance might change, proclaiming ignorance of a New York Post report that Google would wait a year before placing ads within the Google TV interface.

It's not hard to imagine Google wanting to pursue such a strategy at some point. Couch potatoes are a sought-after audience, and Google could offer its current search and display advertisers a whole new market, should Google TV prove popular: imagine ads for cooking gear alongside listings for Food Network shows, or ads intended for a male audiences alongside searches for sporting events.

But inundating early Google TV users with ads is probably a bad idea, considering that Google and its partners are going to have to work hard to convince people to spend $299 on a Logitech Google TV box, when competing Internet-on-TV boxes sell for far less. It's hard to imagine that Google won't consider Google TV ads down the road, but for now, it's playing coy.

Another perennial issue with Google is data: how Google collects personal data and how that data is used. Obviously, there's a ton of information about viewing habits, show selection, and Internet sites people like to visit while watching certain shows that product marketers, advertising agencies, and content companies would love to have, and Google's software is in a position to track every piece of content viewed using the software, including when and how it was consumed.

Chandra said Google plans to release a privacy policy attached to Google TV shortly, which will detail what kind of information the company will collect and how that will be shared with partners. It wasn't clear if Google TV would get its own place on the Google Dashboard, or whether Google TV would somehow be connected with one's global Google account.