Those folks at Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) just keep churning out new applications. Yesterday it was Google Video, which allows users to search the Internet for content of a number of television shows by using the show's closed-captioning information. "What Google did for the Web," Google founder Larry Page said in a press release, "Google Video aims to do for television."

To say that this service is in beta mode might be an understatement -- even for the company with the understated, plain-white-background home page. For the moment, the number of TV providers the company currently indexes is limited -- PBS, the NBA, Fox (NYSE:FOX) News, and C-SPAN got top billing in the press release. And Google has been indexing TV data since only last month. (Meanwhile, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) has added a search to its front page that lets you search and inspect video clips.)

But the possibilities for Google are nonetheless impressive. Among the highlights the company listed: program previews using still images, information about upcoming airings, and keyword searches within specific programs. This all has the potential to be of great interest to paying broadcasters who are looking for new ways to raise awareness of their programming.

It's pretty neat. Typing "Gilbert Arenas" into the box lets me know that CBS Morning News covered the Washington Wizards' recent impressive win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. "Bart Simpson" returns airtime information I can tailor by ZIP code. And "Johnny Carson" turns up several results discussing the passing of the late late-night comic legend.

With one move, Google has sent a warning shot across the bow of Gemstar-TV Guide's (NASDAQ:GMST) magazine and program-guide businesses -- and even, perhaps, of services such as LexisNexis, which people use to read news transcripts, among other things -- while giving the surfing masses one more thing they didn't know they needed but will probably warm to quickly once the service builds up.

In short, while it doesn't take a genius to know that people are going to spend more and more time online, Google seems to have a certain genius for figuring out how to serve surfers -- and its paying customers.

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Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this story.