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Will Google beat Apple to a voice-controlled television?

Google TV Voice Command Patent

The rise of Siri’s popularity on the iPhone has left the general public wondering when they will have the same technology with other gadgets in their lives. Get ready to speak up because a Google patent has been released, hoping to beat Apple to integrating voice control with the modern day television set.

To ensure your Google TV doesn’t experience a sound mix-up, 30 Rock style, the patent calls for your remote or Android device to alert the TV that you’re about to say a command. This will likely either mute your TV for the small duration or listen to the sound closest to the device. Why press a button to change the channel when you can just scream at your phone when Celebrity Apprentice is on?

With voice command available through your mobile devices, you can also use your phones to remotely turn your TV on or off in case you forget to shut it down after you’ve left the house or want to walk into the room with your desired channel loaded and ready to watch. Since your device has a GPS system, you can set your phone to recognize if you are a certain distance away from the house before the TV is automatically set to turn on. With this feature, you may have to make sure that the command is turned off if you’re only out lounging in the backyard or passing by your house without the intention of going in to watch TV. Lastly, you can also ask your Android phone for a schedule of shows. If you realize you won’t make it home in time to watch something, you can tell your phone to record the show so you won’t miss a thing.

The patent describes how the technology will work over Wi-Fi, with direct device-to-TV verbal commands sent to remote servers for speech-to-text translation before the smartphone transfers the command to your TV. Assuming Google TV will also be capable of running various apps, we hope to see voice command available for use with those apps as well. You might be able to run Skype on your Google TV and read out the number instead of using your remote to dial, search for a YouTube video without typing, or name a song off your preferred music app to play. The voice command function will also be cloud-based to work with devices other than your TV, and all you’ll have to do is specify to your phone which gadget you’re assigning the task.

With the patent filed last September, the execution of this technology in a Google TV may appear sooner than later. Samsung is also working on its own voice-controlled entertainment system, so it will be a good competition to see who will be the first to put out a Siri-like TV.

Image credit: Patently Apple