Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Google Video and missing the wow

Mike at TechDirt perfectly captures my reaction to the new Google Video in his post, "We Sat Around Waiting For Google Video And All We Got Was This?":
Remember the good old days when Google used to "wow" people with their new products? AdSense. Gmail. Google Maps. These were products that took what was apparently a mature market and completely changed the game -- and did so in a way that made people say "wow."

Google ... really misplaced the magic pixie dust with Google Video.

The product clearly isn't ready for prime time ... Sure, it's "beta." But just because it's "beta" doesn't mean it should be terrible ... Something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.
As Brad Hill said, painfully disappointing.

Update: David Pogue at the NYT writes, "Review: Google Video lays an egg". [Found on Findory]


mb said...

The focus on content is missing the point.

I can see how people would be disappointed with the content at launch, but the real story is that Google just created a brand new marketplace for content where none existed before.

Just like AdWords created a new market out of thin air that has fueled an industry, this new market for paid content will bring providers and consumers together.

There's a lot of content (not just video, but books, premium databases and industry material) that doesn't work on a free, ad-supported basis. Google just delivered a platform that can unlock this wealth of information.

Seems to me that in one release, Google delivered an awful lot:

1. Google delivered a revolutionary player with a better user experience than Windows Media Player or Apple Quicktime - no nag screens or indecipherable UI
2. Google created a video marketplace where content owners not only set the price, but can also customize several levels of copy protection
3. Google instantly democratized DRM so it works for everybody, not just the big guys -- the independent short-film producer needs copy protection just as much as Disney in order to profit from her work
4. DRM is linked to you, not your machine, so the content you buy is now portable to any machines you own now or in the future, so you're more likely to invest in new content
5. A simple, unobtrusive micropayment system -- you can buy content with two clicks of the mouse without leaving the page you're on -- imagine the power of this platform when extended to other content like books or premium databases

And is the content at launch really that bad? When you compare what Google has now to the thin catalog of Desperate Housewives on the Video iPod when it launched, it doesn't seem so bad.

Given that that Google has just created a market with no competitors, and Time Warner about to fill in the content vacuum, I'd say that's worthy of a "Wow."

More here: It's not just video, it's a new market

Greg Linden said...

You make some good points, Mahlon.

Perhaps Google Video is like Google Base. Both seem disappointing at first glance, but both could be used as a platform to build something great.

We shall see.

Jeff and Emily Schrock said...

google video has a long way to go before it's a platform for video enterpeneurs and consumers...sure it's got a nice player but can you view mainstream content on your TV, your mobile device? unlikely....

and the primary navigation scheme is search? puhhhleeasse - if you've never heard of an independent producer/director before, how exactly do you search for it?

entertainment and information are different creatures....

but i do like that it's basically free video hosting and streaming for the world....and the new options on DRM was innovative