Yesterday, as the press coverage of Google Video trickled in, I was psyched to see the big G enter this space. After sleeping on it, I’ve totally lost interest in the first incarnation of Google’s Video Marketplace.
Google is not providing anything new here… Apple broke the seal on this category and has the distinction of seamlessly integrating portable media device playback for watching shows on the go. Until the portable DivX devices with Google-DRM appear, we’re limited to watching content via Google’s (PC only) bare bones video player. Google touts playback via PSP or iPod, but the fine print limits it to unlicensed content. Meaning you’ll have to wade through thousands of clips (for a search company, their organization of video is piss-poor) to find that diamond in the rough, such as the Asian Backstreet Boys.
Speaking of content… Will anyone pay $1.99 per episode of I Love Lucy when you can buy an entire season on DVD for about $1/episode to watch on PC, Mac, TV, or portable player? Furthermore, current shows, such as CSI and Amazing Race, expire after only 24 hours. They’re making Apple’s licensing look downright generous by comparison.
These video download services strike me as novelties or something someone might use if they forget to record a show via DVR, but I just don’t see them getting regular usage. Though Google is a motivated company with deep pockets… this might be their opening salvo. At the very least, I’ll need a Windows Mobile, Palm, or MS PMC “G-player” for the service to me meaningful to me. Neither Apple nor Google are offering me what I really want though… a limitless selection of movies that I can easily watch on my TV — still the primary viewing device in every home. TiVo’s deal with Netflix may have died, but I believe they are still moving in this direction. So is Apple next week at MacWorld, if recent rumors are to be believed.