Earlier this week during the Microsoft E3 Media Briefing, the next version of Bing voice search for Xbox 360 was shown off. We were able to see searches performed in both English and Spanish in order to find video content to watch. You are able to use your voice to search for genres (like comedies, horror, etc.) as well as for specific titles. Bing will then search across all video services, showing you the results that it finds in a grid. So if you look for Rango, it'll show you that you can rent it, but also that you can watch it for free as part of your Netflix subscription. Bing search will also allow you to search for YouTube content as well. This will all come as part of the fall 2012 dashboard update, supporting six languages in the US, and hitting dozens of other countries as well.
Microsoft also announced a significant number of related content partnerships, bringing most major services to the Xbox platform this week or by early 2012. On Dec. 6, Starting Dec. 6, a free Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone will let also let users find, learn more about and control content from popular entertainment services on Xbox LIVE.
Shortly after midnight on Sunday night, Microsoft said that the "Bing on Xbox" update would arrive on U.S. consoles beginning "tomorrow," and roll out to U.S. console owners over the coming weeks. Those without a Kinect peripheral will be able to search using Bing text search.
The voice search capability, first revealed in June, will work with both the Xbox Live Marketplace, Zune Video, and selected content partners. On Dec. 6, presumably the date of the update, Microsoft plans to add content from new entertainment partners, including apps, from EPIX, ESPN, Hulu Plus, Netflix, and MSNBC's Today.
Microsoft's vision for the Xbox platform, including voice search via Kinect, probably was more significant six months ago before Apple's Siri began dominating headlines with its ability to naturally search and interact with the user and a variety of apps. Nevertheless, it allows users to interact with a growing sea of content as simply as possible.
Earlier this morning at the Google I/O event, a major portion was dedicated to the announcement of Google TV. Google TV is basically a software layer that lets you find content to watch on your television. It’s build on Android, Chrome, and Flash, and lets you control things like live TV, as well as giving you the full power of the Internet. You can throw TV into a picture-in-picture box to fire up a web browser, search YouTube, pull up Hulu, or really just about anything else that you can do in a browser. Google Search sits on top of everything, and can be pulled up at any time. When you do a search, it will pull results from the web, as well as from TV listings, giving you the ability to find whatever you want to watch. If you like a show, channel, or search, you can save that as a bookmark for easy access later.
The interesting thing here is the integration with Android. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are mandatory in the Google TV hardware, which will be built by partners. That means that you can use an Android handheld device, pull up a website, and just beam it right over to Google TV. You can also perform a voice search on the device, and have that search carried out on the TV. Eliminating the frustrating tap-typing that we are all so tired of when it comes to searching on a big screen like a television? That is fairly awesome. Oh, and since Google TV runs Android, that also means that it runs apps as well. You get complete access to the Android market.
Take a look at the video above for a simple explanation of what Google TV is all about. You can expect to see devices shipping, like a Logitech set-top box, that will give you Google TV capabilities, later this year in the fall.
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