Google set to bridge PC-TV divide with new application media server

Google just announced its odd Google Media Server, a Windows app that finds photos, music, and video and makes it available to devices like the PlayStation 3, XBox 360, and most Media Center PCs.

Google Media Server is a Windows application that aims to bridge the gap between Google and television. It uses Google Desktop technology such as Desktop gadgets for the administration tool and Google Desktop Search to locate media files.

All one needs to use the feature is a PC running Google Desktop and a Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)-enabled device (e.g. a PlayStation 3). At the touch of a button, the user can then:

  • Access videos, music, and photos stored on the PC
  • View Picasa Web Albums
  • Play favourite YouTube videos

In order to protect your privacy, Google Media Server requires the user to authorise which devices are allowed access.

"Google Media Server is a Windows application that aims to bridge the gap between Google and your TV," the search engine said in a Thursday posting on the company blog.

In releasing the software, Google moves closer to an area of the home entertainment market coveted by Microsoft and Apple. Both companies have software within their respective operating systems for connecting a Windows Vista PC and Mac, respectively, to a TV.

Microsoft for quite a while has offered Windows software that turns a PC into a set-top box for delivering cable programming and recording video. Apple is connecting the Mac or PC with the home TV through its Apple TV hardware. Analysts expect home networking, which is the ability for multiple devices in the home to share content, to be a lucrative market in the future.

''In the old days, we used to watch a simple device called a television,'' posted software engineer David Garcia, on the Inside Google Desktop blog. ''Nowadays, all the stuff worth watching and listening to tends to be stored on or accessed through a computer. To help remedy this, we are pleased to release the Google Media Server.''