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How Google TV will make money still up in the air

Google TV is scheduled to launch in October, but the monetization strategy is "still being discussed."

The first Google TV products expected from Logitech and Sony this fall.
The first Google TV products expected from Logitech and Sony this fall. Google

SAN JOSE, Calif.--Google made a big splash in May announcing its entrance to the TV business, but how the company plans to make money for Google TV and for its content partners is still a bit muddled.

Google TV is the search giant's platform that will allow people to search on their home television to find videos from anywhere on the Web or a channel service provider. At the DisplaySearch TV Ecosystem Conference here Wednesday, Shalini Govil-Pai, the group manager for partnerships at YouTube and Google TV, told attendees that "monetization models are still being discussed. Obviously advertising is going to play a big role."

Google has several options in that area. DoubleClick, which does its display ads and in-video ads, AdSense for TV, which has signed up cable and satellite partners for TV ads, and more.

There seems to be a lot unknown still, except for the initial hardware makers involved in the project and where you can buy the products come October. As previously announced, Logitech will be making a Google TV set-top box with that can hook up to any TV. Sony will be making a TV and a Blu-ray player with Google TV integrated into the panel. Both will be at sale at Best Buy, though price has not yet been announced.

Who else will build Google TV-capable devices is also up for grabs, Govil-Pai said.

"Anyone can take it an put it on their device," she said. "You can be a Google-certified device and work with us. Or you can take it and (build it into) a fridge if you'd like."

The almost-anything-goes sense extends to software too. The Google TV operating system "is going to follow the same business model as Android. It's open source and licensed free."

Emphasizing its "open" nature, Govil-Pai said that though Intel is a current partner on Google TV devices, they'll "eventually work with chipmakers besides Intel."

And you might say Google is also remote-control agnostic. "We're looking at expanding the ecosystem so that any remote control works with Google TV," said Govil-Pai.