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December 7, 2006

Sky, Powered by Google

British Sky Broadcasting, a satellite broadcaster owned by News Corp., signed a deal with Google that makes the Mountain View-based company the provider of search, advertising and communication services for Sky Broadband customers.

Google will provide a customized version of Gmail, essentially a flavor of hosted Gmail for the domain, that will also include access to Google Calendar and Google Talk. There will be a video portal that uses YouTube back-end to "allow users to edit, upload and share their own video content, including the facility to upload and download from a mobile phone".

Google's Eric Schmidt seemed dangerously excited:
"I've been waiting for this for a while," he said at a meeting in London, adding that the significance was boosted as it marked the first time Google had sold the use of the back-end technology of YouTube and GMail.

He said that Google was planning similar deals with other large media firms and content providers. "If we can get this structure right over the next few months and it rolls out, then it becomes the index case for every other country and every other operator."

The partnership with Sky is also a sign that Google is making its way into the TV advertising market. The Guardian reports that "Google is looking to use information about viewing habits, which can be obtained through the broadcaster's set-top boxes, to produce more targeted TV advertising."

If everything works well, Sky will "provide further services such as Google's VoIP (voice over internet protocol) telephony services, enhanced storage and future product developments".

This blog is not affiliated with Google.