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All aboard the Google TV train: Sony and Intel get tickets stamped for TV partnership

Google TV may be on its way to fruition as a rumoured partnership with technology giants Intel and Sony increases anticipation

It's full steam ahead for Google TV, as a reported team-up with Sony and Intel has fired up rumours that an Atom- and Android-powered set-top box will bring powerful Internet capabilities to your television.

The New York Times reports that Google and Intel are eager to gain a foothold in the field of TV, with Sony desperate to gain a one-up on other TV manufacturers such as Samsung, Panasonic and Philips.

According to unnamed sources, the partnership will develop a set-top box that will allow fully functioning Internet access in your telly. Web 2.0 applications are said to be at the forefront of the service, as social networking and YouTube integration figure alongside Google's powerful search engine. This would leap-frog the fairly limited Web capabilities of TVs and set-top boxes currently on the market.

Codenamed Google TV, the project is said to be based on Google's Android operating system and, according to one source, could even implement the company's Chrome Web browser. A prototype of the set-top box running on Intel's Atom chip has seemingly been manufactured, but Google TV could also make its way directly into TVs.

This wouldn't be the first time a powerful processor has been incorporated into TVs, since Toshiba included the PlayStation 3's Cell processor (an Intel/Sony partnership) into its Cell range. Although the chip was used to boost Web capabilities, significant Internet integration was left on the cutting-room floor.

The news of this three-way partnership comes by way of "people with knowledge of the project", which has reportedly been underway for several months. These knowledgeable people have requested anonymity since the partners cannot currently talk of it. So keep this to yourself.

Beyond anonymous sources there is a little stack of evidence building, with Intel recruiting engineers experienced in Android programming alongside the description "from PC screen to mobile screen and TV screen". Google, Intel and Sony have also been said to have recruited Logitech to produce peripherals for the project, such as remote controls, and this company also has several job listings for experienced Android software engineers.

Further evidence for the project comes by way of a report by The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, again sourcing people who know stuff, who claim that Google and its TV Ads partner Dish Network have begun testing a TV programme search service that allows users to find shows on satellite TV and Web sites.

Google is expected to deliver open-source tools to outside programmers within the next couple of months -- but that's only if you believe these nameless, faceless chimps who know things about stuff. Can you see Google TV working in your home? Are you ready to tweet via a remote control?

Image credit: Beefman on Flickr, via CC