Google Wants the Airwaves


"9 to 5 and 5 to 9
Ain't gonna take it, it's our time
We want the world and we want it now
We're gonna take it anyhow

We want the airwaves
We want the airwaves
We want the airwaves, baby..."
-- The Ramones

As it turns out, the Ramones aren't the only ones who "want the airwaves." Google (NAS: GOOG) wants 'em, too. Or rather, Google wants to dominate the fat cable "pipes" that have largely taken over from broadcast television. In what's been described as "unapologetic" speech given to the British television community over the weekend, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt laid out his vision for the future of television in Europe.

What Google wants
What Google wants, in a word, is "convergence." Announcing the introduction of Google TV to the continent, Schmidt argued persuasively that "the Internet is fundamental to the future of television for one simple reason: because it's what people want."

People watching a television show and seeing a familiar face ask, "What movie did I see that actor in?" -- and they want to get the answer immediately from their web-enabled telly. When they see Lada Gaga on stage at the MTV video awards, they ask, "Hey! Where can I buy a meat dress?" and want to check right there and then to see if they can get free shipping with Prime. Google TV, Schmidt argues, was invented specifically to satisfy these desires.

By all accounts, Schmidt allayed few concerns with his speech. British TV execs who've seen CBS (NYS: CBS) , Comcast's (NAS: CMCSA) NBC subsidiary, and Disney's (NYS: DIS) ABC give Google TV the cold shoulder (and block its access to their websites) are just as worried that what Google really wants is to expand its 85% share of search advertising into similar dominance over TV ad spending in Europe. They're not thrilled with the idea.

Problem is, they may not have much choice. Last week, we talked about perhaps the least talked-about aspect of Google's bid to acquire Motorola Mobility (NYS: MMI) . Specifically, the catbird seat it's about to perch upon once Google inherits Motorola's leading position in the TV set-top box market. TV execs in Europe worry that soon, Google will be "coming into their space and selling ads to their customers." If they're using Motorola hardware to service those customers, Motorola hardware that could soon be loaded with Google TV software ... they're right to worry.

Will Google TV have more success in Europe than in the U.S.?Add it to your watchlistand find out.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorRich Smithowns shares of Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Walt Disney, and Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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