Up next for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)? A networked TV set that runs Android and Chrome, does Google ads, and enables potentially tens of thousands of third-party apps provided via a built-in app store.

According to The New York Times, industry giants Google, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), and Sony (NYSE: SNE) are teaming up on a far-reaching project called Google TV. Why should couch potatoes be excited? Because they'll be able to endlessly customize and enhance their viewing experience with third-party apps, just like on smartphones.

In a nutshell, Google TV takes a regular TV set and spices it up with a bit of silicon logic and a layer of intelligent software. More precisely, Google and partners are planning to engineer an Intel Atom-powered networked TV set that runs Android and third-party apps. Such TV sets should run the Chrome browser, have an app-store built-in, and sport shiny menus similar to the Apple TV.

True to its openness mantra, Google plans to open up the new television platform to third-party developers and provide an open-sourced variant of Android that will power it free of charge. As a result, the paper wrote, such a move could "spur the same outpouring of creativity that consumers have seen in applications for cellphones."

The first apps are allegedly due out by the summer. In addition, the partners have commissioned Logitech to create authorized peripherals like clever remotes and keyboards. Google is obviously trying to secure its place in our living rooms in order to hit us with more adverts and sell us to advertisers at a premium. By doing so, the search monster will once more step all over Apple's toes.

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