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Google Reader… on the Wii?

Everyday seems to have at least a few headlines about Google.  Much of yesterday’s Google-related news centered on the announced release of Google’s redesigned web analytics platform, Google Analytics.  The improved user-interface and tools made with the added assistance of the folks brought on in the acquisition of Measure Map will no doubt be a help to web marketers and web masters from beginner to pro. 

The torrent of news drowned out a small, whisper of information: Google has ported its RSS reader/Feed Aggregator, Google Reader, to work with the Nintendo Wii and the Opera browser embedded in it.  The Google engineers even went so far as to insure that it works with the buttons and interface of the Wii’s innovative controller.   News of the effort was mentioned on the Google Reader’s official blog

The original Google Reader is technically still a Google Labs development project and not a fully functional, supported service/feature.  The Wii, for all its strengths and popularity, is for now (for most users) a gaming device and not a home-media PC/Device or a platform for web surfing.   Combined, those facts mean the unannounced side-project to join the two is well below the radar – probably less notable than hackers modding Apple TV to run non supported video formats as reported in March.  Still, the effort at Google might prove meaningful, or at least a glimpse of the future.

For one thing, Nintendo has been active in adding functionality to the Wii beyond its highly demanded gaming abilities and user interface.  Back in January, Nintendo partnered with the Associated Press and other news agencies to provide news through the Wii’s integrated Opera web browser.  (See the Metue article here  for more info on that announcement).

It’s also no secret that Google, like many companies, sees’s a convergence of technologies leading to some form of set-top appliance integrating the Internet, the Entertainment Computer and our Television.  (Note: I use the term appliance and set-top very loosely, it’s far to soon to know whether streaming technologies, hardware, set-top boxes, gaming platforms, DVR’s or the other potential competitors will bring the best-in breed solution for making all this happen).

Google’s first major recognition of the value of gaming, and PC-TV convergence came a few months back when they followed Microsoft’s lead and bough an In-game advertising company.  In Google’s case – Adscape Media (see here for more information)

Google’s application of its RSS Reader/Personal news aggregator to the Wii may be nothing more than a group of engineer’s “amusement-project.”  There’s no reason to insinuate it’s part of a master plan being implemented at Google.  I’m not reading much into it.  I definitely wouldn’t speculate on an upcoming Nintendo and Google partnership, but the development is fascinating.

I’d love to check it out, if only the Wii wasn’t so hard to get.

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