Google looking to challenge Microsoft and Apple with home entertainment system


Google is working on a home entertainment system that will utilize WiFi to stream music to speakers installed in a home, and will likely control Google TV and other home products, a new report revealed. Both Microsoft and Apple are also working on something similar.

The report suggests that Google is working on a Google-branded home entertainment system that will stream music from Google’s cloud-based music service to speakers installed around the house, as well as other devices. Basically, users will connect their device to home WiFi networks and use Bluetooth technology to connect to other home electronics. The system will use Google’s Music streaming service and be controlled via an Android smartphone or tablet. Google wants to market and brand the home entertainment system under its own name, rather than giving the technology to OEMs. Eventually, Google will want to have a device that does more than control entertainemt, but also the entire home. Remember the Android@Home initiative? Google has said that this was the first step into “the internet of things.” During a demonstration, Google showcased a tablet that could control lights and music around the house. Google said its aim was to let a range of devices “discover, connect, and communicate” with each other. “We want to think of every appliance in your home as a potential I/O device.”

This is where Microsoft comes in. About six months ago, Microsoft made an interesting point. 40% of Xbox users are not using the console for gaming related activities, instead, they are watching movies, using the built-in DVD player, checking Facebook, or sending messages to other Xbox users. Microsoft outlined its vision towards the future of TV and entertainment in the living room by stating that the company sees the Xbox 360, Kinect, and Bing as the big three that will transform entertainment related technology in the living room, and not Windows. “The vision for Xbox is straightforward: All of the entertainment you want. With the people you care about. Made easy. That is why you’ve seen us invest in partnerships with ESPN, Netflix and Hulu. That is why we’ve baked social directly into the experience with Xbox LIVE – connecting gamers, friends and families across the globe. That is why you’ll see Xbox marketed more as an entertainment brand this year,” said Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s VP of Corporate Communications.

Apple is also reported to be working on the same thing. Apple is working on its own web-based home entertainment system that would sync across all Macs, iPhones, and iPads, and tether to the company’s iCloud storage service. Apple is looking to launch this later this year.

So what remains to be seen here is which company gets there first. Google, Microsoft, or Apple? Apple will most likely target existing Apple users while Google will have an advantage by addressing a larger market due to the open source nature of Android, which doesn’t really bode well for Microsoft. Which one would you go for?