Google Tunes In to Social TV

By Devon Glenn 

Google’s latest update to Google Now gives television viewers in the U.S. instant background information on the shows and the actors they see on the screen.

Much like the local traffic jam and rainy day warnings that pop up when users check the search engine on their mobile devices, TV cards for Google Now are similarly aware of users’ television sets. “So if you were watching Nik Wallenda cross the Grand Canyon this weekend, with Google Now, you could learn that the ‘King of the Wire’ in fact holds seven Guinness World Records, including highest bike ride on a high-wire,” explained the Android team in a blog post.

While some people may go to Twitter to follow stars and read commentary, or to GetGlue to meet other fans and get incentives for watching, Google seems to be solidifying its role as the service people turn to for trivial knowledge — a second-screen experience that can pick up the slack when viewers’ memories and friends fail.

However, the feature only works when viewers connect their Android phones or tablets to the same network that their internet-connected television sets are on.