Google TV: Party Like It’s 1997!

As rumored in March and earlier this week, Google is bringing the web to your television. You know, like WebTV more than a decade ago. And it didn’t take off then, either.

Google TV will be a set-top box available this fall (and integrated into a new Sony TV coming then, too), allowing us to access the Internet from our televisions (including Flash!). The previews look like really slick On-Demand:

While companies including Apple have continued to try to make Web-TV integration work, the original WebTV was purchased by Microsoft and eventually rebranded as MSN TV. They continue to support existing customers, but Microsoft finally gave up on selling the hardware last year. But Google has tapped Logitech to make some auxiliary devices, including a remote control with a mini keyboard. Isn’t it great? All the inconveniences of your other devices—the tiny keyboard on your phone, the constant distraction of the Internet and the mind-numbing power of the tube—combined into one ultimate time-wasting device. (YouTwitFace?)

Google Chrome Getting App Store (Maybe Mozilla, Too?)

Third party apps are on a roll with Google. Earlier this month, they added apps for Google Analytics, and this week at Google I/O, the search giant’s developer conference, Google announced an app store for the Google Chrome web browser.

Says Google:

Google Chrome users who find web apps in the store will be able to create convenient shortcuts in Chrome for easy access. Also, developers will have the option to easily sell their apps through the store using a convenient and secure payment system.

Although the store has yet to launch, you can see a sample of the offerings:

Meanwhile, Mozilla may be considering jumping on the bandwagon, too (via). Right now, they’re just reviewing the underlying principles of an “open web app store,” rather than making plans.

Google Looking at Facial Recognition

Just what Google needs right now: a way to look even more invasive. Privacy concerns for the Internet and Google in particular have skyrocketed this year, as Buzz has prompted privacy concerns since the day it rolled out. But the trend goes further back with Google Street View.

Although that service blurs the images of passersby and license plates (and will remove images on request), Google is thinking about going to the opposite extreme soon: facial recognition technology, the Financial Times reports.

Oh great.

FT points out that Google already uses the technology in Picasa, so it certainly has the capacity to expand the service. (They chose not to include it in Google Goggles, though.) CEO Eric Schmidt said:

Will Privacy Regulation Reduce Ads’ Effectiveness?

In the European Union, it’s illegal to track consumers online with cookies without their consent (though the opt in/out question is still in the air). A recent study looked at what effect this regulation has had on purchase intent and, therefore, online ad effectiveness—and the results aren’t so pretty.

Looking at 3M+ Internet users and nearly 10,000 campaigns over 8 years, researchers asked users if they’d seen the ad and if they’d intended to purchase the product. They then compared the purchase intent based on the responses before and after the EU introduced its behavioral targeting regulations, as well as non-EU users’ purchase intent. MediaPost reports the results:

Google Gearing Up to Fight for AdMob

Although Apple’s conveniently doing all it can to tout iAds, Google may still be facing an inquiry from the FTC as the search giant looks to buy its way into the mobile advertising market. Google announced its acquisition of AdMob six months ago, but it looks like the regulatory committee has its sights on Google as final approval has not been forthcoming.

But Google’s not about to give up. The $750M (in stock) acquisition is that important to the company—or perhaps it’s the reported $700M kill fee built into the agreement, the amount Google will have to pay if the deal doesn’t go through.

Yeah, I’d spring for the mobile advertising company for the extra $50M, too.

Facebook, MySpace Expanding Mobile Offerings

Both MySpace and Facebook are working on pushes to expand their offerings to mobile users—but it looks like they’re heading in opposite directions this time. While MySpace is working on bringing its platform to Android users, Facebook is offering a stripped-down version of its site for those on limited-bandwidth plans.

As announced at Google I/O, the search giant’s developer conference, MySpace will be offering a developer kit to allow Android users to access their MySpace accounts within an app:

The developer kit provides access to login capabilities, meaning that users can login to MySpace without leaving the app.; Status updates, allowing users to update their mood or update their profile; Friends lists; and Photo and video upload functionality. Access to the SDK is free, and is the same tools that MySpace developers use in house to create their own applications.

Facebook Makes a Deal with App Maker Zynga

Zynga has made some of the most popular apps on Facebook, such as FarmVille with its 75M users. With a total of 239 million monthly active users of their apps, Zynga has a significant proportion of Facebook users hooked. But they just about got unhooked: Zynga and Facebook were in a tense face-off over Facebook’s currency and the site’s cut.

Facebook is moving wholly to the Facebook Credits system, with the network taking a 30% of transactions with apps. A new agreement, announced today, has averted the war. The two companies have finally realized that they are interdependent, though I daresay Zynga needs FB a bit more than FB needs Zynga.