Google Video Store opens door of possibilities
As if we needed another reason to lament not purchasing Google stock when it was trading at $85, or $185, or $285, or $385, the company has announced a new service that seems poised to garner even greater profits.
Known as the Google Video Store, this service offers the ability for providers to upload video content and make it searchable via the Google Video search engine.
This includes commercial-free TV shows old and new, sporting events, and even amateur videos, such as jubilant "Longhorn" (no, not the operating system) fans singing of "The Eyes of Texas" after the Rose Bowl. A plethora of Hawaii-based home videos is also available.
Although it's similar in some respects to Apple's iTunes offering, Google Video Store differs in one major respect. While both offer commercial-free TV shows and other offerings, the Google Video Store allows content owners to set their own price. All iTunes videos sell for $1.99.
CBS has indicated that it will sell recent episodes of "Survivor" and "CSI," for $1.99, the same price that Apple sells similar content for on its iTunes site. The National Basketball Association is making available day-after replays of its games for $3.95 each. "The Eyes of Texas" is currently available at no charge.
Uploaders of content must share 30 percent of the revenues with Google. Google handles the bulk of payment and revenue distribution mechanisms, so this is a fair deal.
Videos can be uploaded on either a copy-protected, or an unrestricted basis. The catch is that copy-protected videos can only be viewed online through Google's proprietary video player.
What might be even more problematic for some - this player only works on Windows-based PC's. Unrestricted videos can be downloaded to just about any device, unlike Apple's videos, which can only be viewed on iPod's.
What exactly does all this mean? Well, for one, this is a great deal for institutions and individuals that do not have the ability to host and stream their own video, but would like to get their message out. Companies could put together a simple 2-3 minute commercial, upload it to Google as a free download, and let the world find it.
It also means that video will become much more prevalent on the Web. After all, video is the last true form of off-line content that hasn't been made widely available online. For example, Google has announced that future offerings will include old episodes of "I Love Lucy," "The Twilight Zone," and "The Brady Bunch." While these products may not seem too enlightening, the possibilities are endless. Old news footage, for example could be a wonderful educational tool.
Of course, cynics often say that the Internet is only good for one thing. For now, however, Google Video Store does not allow pornographic content, claiming that market space is already well served.
is president of ISDI Technologies Inc., a Honolulu-based IT consultancy. Call him at 944-8742 or e-mail email@example.com