Google Video, What’s The Point?

Dave Zatz —  January 7, 2006 — 7 Comments

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.

7 responses to Google Video, What’s The Point?

  1. Enter me

    I absolutely agree, the last thing we need is another media player, especially a proprietary one like this. What happened to “Do No Evil”, Google???

    On a more general topic, I also view this “portable media” craze as fairweather. Transcoding videos (be it DVDs, TiVo TV shows, etc.) to whatever format your portable device takes is sufficient, and avoids the silly $1.99 per episode “tax” that media companies are trying to get away with. Hello, I already pay for cable to get these shows once…

  2. Enter Me -

    I agree….this doesn’t seem well thought out. I love the idea of TV on demand via the web….but I think these companies are counting on too much profit to make these endevears succesful. Probably the best thing to do for a while is to use T2GO and roll your own portable TV shows…

  3. The only remotely ‘cool’ feature of google video was the ability to preview a video by a series of screenshots and be able to jump to anyone by clicking.

    -Roll

  4. “Apple broke the seal on this category”

    Thats funny because as far as I know msn.video.com and portable media centers which offer video on the go content have been around for years now?

  5. Yup, portable video has been around for years in one form or another. Heck, I was pulling video off ReplayTV 5 years ago for PDA playback.

    However, Apple has the distinction of being first to sell current television programming — that’s the category I’m referring to. They’re also pushing portable video into the mainstream, rather than continuing to languish in my geeky world.

    MS-based portable media centers haven’t been around all that along… less than two years. More importantly, they’ve had a low adption rate. The Zen Vision and the upcoming Gigabeat S have better specs/features and sleeker designs which should get more attention now that services like Vongo are busting out.

  6. whoops. posted in wrong section!

    I tried this and it’s really lame! Has google hit a wall? Is there no more good companies to buy?

    PS Enter me for the tivo adapter!

  7. ENTER ME This service is not Mac compatible, so we Mac users must go with iTunes Video Store. Oh well, I’m an Apple loyalist anyway.

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