Google Video Blows

I guess I’m one of the many people that thought, Is this what we’ve been waiting for when I finally got a chance to purchase a video from Google’s new online video store. There were a bunch of hiccups right after the launch yesterday and I couldn’t buy a video as their authentication system was hosed (that’s a technical term 🙂 ). After I supplied my credit card information, it wanted me to re-enter my Google Account password which I did correctly several times but it wouldn’t accept it. Pass that off as launch issues – we’ve all been there, right?

So I finally go out and buy a music video from the extensive collection (count 9) of music video and the quality is crap. Total crap – and yes, that is another technical term. The quality of the video is just horrible and that’s watching it normal size and not double size or full-screen. To compare apples to apples, I go to iTunes to try and purchase the same music video but I couldn’t find the video of ‘Kelly Clarkson – Behind These Hazel Eyes’ on iTunes. So I end up buying ‘Because of You’ to compare quality and there is no competition. The quality of video from iTunes is far superior when compared to Google Video. And they both cost $1.99.

The biggest problem with Google Video in my opinion is that you always need to be online to watch any of your purchased videos. When you purchase a video, you are downloaded a little file with the extension .qvp. Google Video Player opens this file and then uses the URL in this file to essentially stream the video to you. I’m not fan of DRM but Apple at least lets you keep your music/video on your machine but Google’s do-no-evil video store keeps it on their server. And because this video is not available offline, you can’t copy it over to your video iPod (assuming that the Google DRM was on the iPod).

Google Video gvp file

Now I shouldn’t blame Google completely for this as my expectations were out of whack, but that’s partly Google’s fault. Like others, I was looking forward to something off an iTunes killer and we ended up with a dud. How can you deliver gems like GMail, and Google Maps and then a total dud like Google Video? Now I know this is really a market place for selling videos ala eBay but the limitation of the DRM’d format ensures me that I will never buy anything from Google video. If I can’t physically have the file, and the quality is questionable at best, why wouldn’t I just go to iTunes and buy the video there. In the near term, content providers will make proprietary deals where you can only get ABC content through this vendor and NBC content through this vendor but they will eventually come to their senses and sell their content through all the available channels. Makes sense – If DRM is DRM and the content you are distributing is protected, why would you limit the potential pool of buyers by only using Google Video or Vongo or Yahoo or any other store for that matter.

Is this a big misstep for Google? If Microsoft buys Yahoo, what would that do to Google? As of market close today, Yahoo’s market cap is about $60 billion and Microsoft could muster up $100 billion for Yahoo and everything they brought to the table. While everyone has focused on Google and Microsoft, Yahoo has been quietly buying up companies and building a very nice portfolio of products and people. Wouldn’t that be an interesting place if Microsoft and Yahoo banded together to take on Google? Life certainty would be interesting. I guess it’s like the old Chinese curse or blessing: May you live in interesting times. 🙂

google, google+video, yahoo, microsoft, itunes, ipod, apple, drm


5 thoughts on “Google Video Blows

  1. Funny, I have the exact opposite perception: Yahoo buys plenty of very highly visible companies but Google says absolutely nothing about its acquisitions and people only find out six months later (e.g. ReqWireless).

    Makes you wonder who is in for the PR and who is in to actually deliver innovative products that nobody expects…


  2. You actually do take possession of the physical file. Check out the Google Videos folder under My Videos. You’ll see the 1K .gvp file, which is a pointer to the content, but you’ll also see a much larger .gvi file, which is the video.

    For content that’s not copy protected, you don’t have to be online at all. And for videos that are copy protected, you need to be online when you first start playing the video so you can be authenticated, but can disconnect after that.

    This seems like better copy protection than iTunes and MS, since I can play files on multiple machines as long as I use the same Google Account to authenticate.

    And as long as the content provider hasn’t applied copy protection, you can also download in PSP or iPod format.


  3. Do I dare ask why you chose to purchase a Kelly Clarkson video? I don’t know if you actually are interested in her music but I think she is a pretty good artist.

    But anyways, I never thought (other than Google Maps) that Google had the highest quality products. Their search engine is good because it is simple and relatively effective. I think that Yahoo or MSN would be a competitor if their engine didn’t include a lot of visual crap and just returned results. As for Google attempting to venture into new arenas, I think this is their first real attempt at a new idea. Most of their other services were improvements to existing technologies. I think they should continue to innovate like Microsoft instead of inventing new types of technology.


  4. Hi Mario. Good question 🙂 I just bought the Kelly Clarkson video as that was the only name that sounded remotely familiar from the 9 videos that were available 🙂

    Google Maps rocks but so does GMail. GMail was kind of disruptive technology/product with AJAX support and 2 GB+ mailbox. Changed the market for Hotmail and Yahoo mail overnight.


  5. Good point about GMail, it really did change the market. But other than the fact that it uses AJAX (an old technology) and provides GB+ mailbox space, it is not really that attractive. I think the fact that it had the Google brand made it instantly popular. At this point in time, it seems that Google and Microsoft almost have the same philosphy on developing products: make something that is relatively innovative but use your large customer base to promote the product. Microsoft does it with their office suite and other products and now Google is using their search engine as a tool to ‘hook’ users into their new products. It’s sort of a monopoly on the business.


Comments are closed.