Michele Masterson

Google Might Be Readying Siri-Like TV Features

Google has recently filed a patent for a Google TV remote and applications that incorporate voice controls and Google’s cloud services, according to the Web site PatentlyApple.com.

The patent, officially filed on September 29, 2011, but just recently made public, lets consumers use their Android phones as remote controls to search TV shows. The smartphone can be programmed to accept voice input, which it then sends it to a speech-to-text server through the Web and receives a text of what was spoken by the user, the Web site reported. The smartphone app could then forward the text to a TV, set-top box, or DVD.

A search system could be used so a viewer who submits a question has to use a trigger word before the query. The voice interface could also have to be programmed to extract the trigger word from the text after the speech-to-text conversion occurs, because the trigger word is not truly part of the user’s intended query, the Web site notes.

The Google patent, according to the Web site, also lets consumers use voice commands on a future Android phone that remotely turns on televisions and tunes it to the channel showing the specified program.

The patent states that, “the provision of the query to the television may occur when the user is within a set distance of his home also (e.g., by determining with GPS functionality on the smartphone that he is within a quarter mile of the home), and, “the television may be turned on automatically as he approaches the home, with the television tuned to a channel that is determined to be most relevant to the query.”

Additionally, the patent shows smartphone technology that displays results best suited for small or large screen displays. “For example, the smartphone may display a vertical list of programs that are responsive to a query (e.g., all upcoming episodes of Seinfeld if the user spoke the question “When is Seinfeld?”), while the television may show the same results but in the context of a two-dimensional program guide grid,” according to Patentlyapple. “If the user selects one of the episodes on the list, the television may immediately tune to the episode if it is currently being shown, or may jump to it later when it starts and/or set it for recording on a personal video recorder.”

Google’s rush to file its patent begs the question, where is Apple’s long rumored TV with Siri technology? Stay tuned.