Google TV adds voice controls to program guide running on LG devices

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is beginning to offer viewers who buy connected TVs from LG the ability to use voice controls to navigate cable channels and Web video content.

Google TV voice control video

Click here for a video detailing Google TV voice controls.

The Internet giant said Wednesday that it is rolling out a software update to LG devices this week that allow consumers that buy new LG TVs that come with a remote control containing a microphone to use voice commands to channel surf. Google TV will also power voice controls "in the coming months" in connected TVs that Samsung, Sony and Vizio are manufacturing, Google TV product managers Greg Funk and Eric Liu wrote in a blog post.

Google launched its Google TV software in 2010, initially distributing it through over-the-top video set-tops from Logitech and connected TVs from Sony. Viewers who buy the devices can use Google TV software to navigate pay TV programming by connecting a cable or satellite set-top to the device, and Google TV also offers access to content from Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), YouTube and other online video providers.

Adding voice controls to Google TV devices could help it compete against Microsoft  (Nasdaq: MSFT), Boxee, Roku, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and other companies that market over-the-top video devices and software platforms. 

Voice-enabled program guides are also emerging in the pay TV sector. Google plans to supply subscribers in the Kansas City area that order its new Google Fiber TV service with a Nexus 7 tablet that accepts voice commands. AT&T (NYSE: T) recently launched an "Easy Remote" app that lets subscribers navigate U-verse TV programming by speaking commands into an iPhone, and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) has said that it plans to offer similar mobile apps that accept voice commands for its Xfinity X1 service.

For more:
- see the Google blog post

Commentary: A look at advanced guides from Cablevision, DirecTV, AT&T, and the future of channel surfing

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