Google Testing Wireless Entertainment Device for Consumers, Filing Shows

Google Inc. (GOOG), the world’s largest Internet-search company, is developing an entertainment device that will rely on wireless home networks, according to a filing with the Federal Communications Commission.

The testing is slated to take place in Mountain View, California, where Google is based, along with three other cities, according to the filing. Google’s testing of 252 devices was scheduled to begin in January and continue to July.

“Google is developing an entertainment device that requires testing outside the laboratory environment,” according to the filing. “The device is in the prototyping phase and will be modified prior to final compliance testing.”

The company is weighing a deeper push into consumer electronics as a way to lessen its dependence on search-related advertising for growth. Google expanded into mobile software with its Android operating system, which runs on smartphones and tablets. It also unveiled an initiative in May called “Android@Home” that lets Android applications “discover, connect and communicate” with devices in the home.

At the Google I/O conference last year, the company demonstrated Android@Home hub devices that played music. The company is providing more entertainment content as well. In November, it introduced a music service that lets people buy songs through the Android Market.

Google declined to comment on the wireless tests. The project was previously reported by the GigaOM technology blog.

Targeting Apple?

The Google device in the filing could step up competition with Cupertino, California-based Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Sonos Inc., a Santa Barbara, California-based company. Both rivals offer devices that use wireless networks to transmit music throughout the house.

Google also is trying to broaden its horizons through the $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI), a maker of handsets and set-top box devices that work with televisions. That deal hasn’t yet closed.

Shares of the company were little changed yesterday, closing at $611.46. The stock has fallen 5.3 percent this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net; Olga Kharif in Portland, Oregon, at okharif@bloomberg.net; Cliff Edwards in San Francisco at cedwards28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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