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).
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