Android Market on Google TV now close to reality

Hey, remember back when Google TV was introduced last year? It was supposed to change the way we interact with our TVs.

Instead, it ended up almost being an embarrassment for Google. After a poor showing in its flagship product partnership with Sony, the search giant told other TV manufacturers to stop discussing their respective Google TV plans.

It started to seem like Google was ready to abandon its flagship TV project, but the company has just introduced developer tools that may finally unleash the potential that Google TV should have been all along.

Google TV is an operating system for television sets, built into the TV itself. The idea is that users should be able to do everything on their boob tube – play games, stream videos, brose the Web, look at personal photos, etc – without needing to connect any sort of external box or device.

It was supposed to be what Android was for the smartphone industry. Instead, due to a closed developer interface and a frustrating lack of support for Google, there was almost no growth after the first Google TV sets were released.

Now, though, Google has just released an add-on to its Android software development kit that will make it easy for developers to create special TV apps, in addition to porting over their existing Android apps and games to the TV platform.

This means Google TV owners will soon be able to browse the Android Market and choose from thousands of apps to download. In the future, the hope is developers will create new ways to interact with TVs – some ideas that have floated around include being able to chat live with other Google TV owners who are watching the same show, or letting viewers automatically change channels during commercials and then swap back to the show when the commercials are over.

There is a world of possibilities, and it looks like Google is finally ready to open that door; too bad it’s about a year after that was supposed to happen.