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Video services

Google Searches for TV Guy

An ad at the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Website suggests that the search giant is ready to extend its search and advertising services into the world of television.

Google wants to hire a “Product Manager – Interactive TV.” That product manager’s job will be to “identify areas where use of Google’s search and advertising technology can enhance this user experience and define appropriate products to deliver these user benefits,” the ad reads.

“You will identify key market trends that are shaping user behavior when watching Television. These include but are not limited to the intersection of internet and Television technologies, video-on-demand, personal video recorders and emergence of next generation set-top-boxes with IP connectivity.”

Google believes the new product manager’s products might be sold “in the telecom and cable segments.”

The winning candidate might find him or herself in the middle of a collision between the Internet and television that could yield some crazy, and exciting, results. The whole idea of channels might go out the window in favor of a classic Google interface from which the viewer “searches” for things to watch.

Of course, Google tracks the keywords used in each one of those searches. And with that data, it would likely do what telco IPTV players are just beginning to talk about -- targeting video ads to individual people, not just broad groups. Google has already begun testing video ads at certain consumer Websites. (See Google's Ad-Mad Network .) Google media relations people did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

“This might be for their own original content,” says chief strategy officer Hunter Newby of the carrier connection company Telx Group Inc. “I'm sure Google will have their own Sopranos-like mafia series once their backbone goes live and they have peering with the [cable] MSO IP networks.” (See Google's Own Private Internet.)

Google already operates a retail video service at its Website. (See Google Plans Video Service.) The service has gotten poor reviews so far, mainly due to its underdeveloped user interface and the poor picture quality of the videos.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that the site has a very limited amount of watchable content, unless you’re into talk show reruns and home-made “backyard wrestling” videos.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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