Google has asked the FCC to let them test an experimental multimedia device in the homes of 253 employees in 4 cities. But the company isn’t saying what the hardware is, or what it will do.
You can read Google’s application here. The application says this of the new gizmo:
Google is developing an entertainment device that requires testing outside the laboratory environment. The device is in the prototyping phase and will be modified prior to final compliance testing. … Users will connect their device to home WiFi networks and use Bluetooth to connect to other home electronics equipment. This line of testing will reveal real world engineering issues and reliability of networks. The device utilizes a standard WiFi/Bluetooth module, and the planned testing is not directed at evaluating the radio frequency characteristics of the module (which are known), but rather at the throughput and stability of the home WiFi networks that will support the device, as well as the basic functionality of the device. From this testing we hope to modify the design in order to maximize product robustness and user experience. Utilizing the requested number of units will allow testing of real world network performance and its impact on applications running on the device, so that any problems can be discovered and addressed promptly.
Which says a lot, for not really giving us any insight.
The testing is slated to occur between January 17 and July 17, so if you know a Google employee, now might be a good time to renew that friendship.