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Google TV to launch in US later this year, Europe next year

Google CEO says that Google will parter with television manufacturers to incorporate the Web. Company reps also demonstrate a new voice translation service that will run on Google Translate on Google's Android phones.

Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt also said that giving Germans the opportunity to opt-out of Street View was "unusual"

In a keynote speech at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin today, Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced that his company would be bringing the Web to television screens across the United States later this year.

Schmidt said that this service would bring full Internet browsing to televisions, and would link television programming metadata, and the larger Internet with what viewers are watching at any given moment.

"We will work with content providers but it is very unlikely that we will get into actual content production," Schmidt told journalists after a keynote speech to the IFA.

He added that this service would extend to Europe and the rest of the world sometime in 2011.

Previously, the company had announced on its blog in May that it would be bringing Google TV to market, but had not announced a firm release timeframe.

In the United States, Google TV will be available via three new products, including a Sony HDTV, a Sony Blu-ray player and a Logitech set-top box.

Deutschland Google Street View Kamarawagen in Hannover

Google CEO Eric Schmidt added that he met with members of the German government to discuss Google Street View

Following his talk, audience members asked the CEO about Google Street View, which has come under fire from the German government.

Schmidt said he had anticipated that there would be problems in Germany. He also mentioned that he had talks with some members of the German government during his stay in Berlin.

"What's unusual is that we've given you (the Germans) the possibility to opt out before (the launch)," he said. "We have never done that anywhere else."

Google voice translation also on its way

Google representatives also demonstrated a new voice translation technology that can slowly interpret different spoken foreign languages.

During Schmidt's keynote, Miguel Barra, a product management director at Google, showed that like its online text counterpart, the translation algorithm is not perfect.

Initially, it translated the phrase from a native German speaker – "Welche Farbe?" – as "Which cable?" instead of "What color?" But on the third try, the software worked correctly.

The voice translation capability can be installed on an Internet-connected Android phone and allows people to utter simple messages into a phone and hear a translation, although it does not yet work for live telephone conversations between two different phones.

Barra added that Conversation Mode in Google Translate would be released in the next few months.

Author: Cyrus Farivar (Reuters, dpa)
Editor: Eva Wutke

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