Google rolled out Gmail to tremendous applause, Google Earth found a devoted following for its services, but Google Video has received nothing but grief from the online world.
Google refunded The Register and other Google Video users for download purchases that were never fulfilled. Despite an apology from Google…
“You may have noticed some problems with some of the video(s) that you downloaded and we have issued you a full refund for these purchases,” Google wrote in a customer service e-mail. “Rest assured, the affected video files have been replaced and are now available on Google Video. In addition to the refund, the episode that you purchased are available for re-download at no charge.”
…unhappiness reigns when it comes to discussing Google Video.
“Google Video Quietly Arrives,” USA Today wrote. “Google Video: Trash Mixed With Treasure,” David Pogue declared at the New York Times. And that’s just the tippety-top of the mainstream media. Imagine what the commentary has been like in the blogosphere and other online news sources.
On second thought, don’t.
Google has underwhelmed its audience with a variety of price points, skimpy content, a new DRM system, and an unattractive interface. It is in beta, as are most of Google’s other services like Google News, which has been around for years now and seems to be working fine.
There’s also the disparate schemes for how Google offers videos, as Pogue summarized in his Times piece:
Some videos are copy-protected, others not. Some can be downloaded, others viewed only online. The resolution and production quality vary widely. Some have ads. Some offer a three-minute preview, others only 10 seconds. Some videos are free, some cost money. (The price can be anything, although the sell-your-own-video feature won’t go live for a couple of weeks. Google keeps 30 percent.) This sort of anarchy isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
But it’s not necessarily a good thing, either. With inconsistency comes disappointment and frustration. Why is it that you can download a Charlie Rose talk show to have and to hold forever, but a “CSI” episode self-destructs after 24 hours?
CBS has been less willing than its network broadcast rivals ABC and NBC to leap online. Both rivals appear on Apple’s iTunes store with video downloads of their programs. For all of CBS’ talk about becoming more of a bold, broadband-first presence with the news, it hasn’t taken hold with the rest of the company’s divisions.
Perhaps CBS has plans to go with iTunes, eventually. Maybe CBS wants to keep the money in-house, and will partner with Microsoft on DRM and build a video store after testing interest with Google Video. That’s just speculation on my part, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a network like CBS do something to maintain control of video distribution of its content.
About the Author:
David is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.