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Monday, February 13, 2012

Google Is Moving Toward Consumer Electronics?

First appeared in LA Times
Sounds like Google is changing its tune.

The company behind the Web’s most popular search engine is working on a home entertainment device, according to a filing with the Federal Communications Commission. And reports say that device will stream music wirelessly in people's homes.

Google plans to test 252 of the devices in its employees’ homes in Mountain View, Calif., where it has its headquarters; in Los Angeles; in New York; and in Cambridge, Mass. The device uses wireless home networks and “requires testing outside the laboratory environment,” the filing said.

The device isn’t ready to ship yet. The company says it’s still in the “prototyping phase.”

Google is looking for promising gushers other than its gangbusters search advertising business, which accounts for nearly all its revenue.

It may be targeting consumer electronics, which would bring Google into closer competition with Apple.

Last May at its annual Google I/O developers conference, Google showed off Android@Home devices that played music. Android@Home enables Android apps to connect with devices in the home. Late last year, Google launched a music service that sells songs through the Android market.

Google is also trying to close its $12.5-billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., which makes set-top boxes and mobile handsets.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the new device would stream music wirelessly in the home and would be marketed as a Google product. According to the report, the device has been in the works for years and will be out this year.

That would be a departure for Google, which has created the Android operating system for other companies to use in devices such as smartphones, tablets and televisions.

Testing of the device was first reported by technology blog GigaOm.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.