Google is on a roll these days in regards to interesting patent filings. The company filed a patent for Android’s pattern unlock feature in November, and a new filing suggests more unlocking methods with one involving voice recognition and the other based on a two-icon methodology. Today, Patently Apple pointed to another document the search company filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on Sept. 29, 2011.

Being made public only recently, it describes methods and apparatus for a Google TV remote that lets you search for televisions shows, movies, music and other media simply by asking. This sounds a lot like Apple’s Siri voice assistant the rumor-mill speculates could enhance an alleged Apple-branded HD TV set.

The difference, per the publication:

Apple has had a similar feature under Remote for several years now, but it doesn’t relate to live TV as Google’s will. Google’s real competitor on this particular front will come from Samsung who just announced their latest TV remote with voice controls and a touch pad. The race to bring the best next generation TV Remote to market is officially on.

One embodiment of the invention describes a situation where a user searches for the popular sitcom “Seinfeld” simply by asking their Android phone, “When is Seinfeld on?” The phone would parse and send the query up to the Google cloud, beaming down the results to your Google TV set-top box.

GPS positioning could enhance the scope of the invention in interesting ways:

The patent specifically states that “the provision of the query to the television may occur when the user is within a set distance of his home also (e.g., by determining with GPS functionality on the smartphone that he is within 1/4 mile of the home), and the television may be turned on automatically as he approaches the home, with the television tuned to a channel that is determined to be most relevant to the query…”

One thing immediately springs to mind: Samsung’s recently introduced Smart Touch Remote control with voice recognition for the ES8000 Smart TV. With several companies working to bring voice-based navigation to Smart TVs, it is no surprise that a similar feature is cooking in Google’s labs for the Google TV.

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