January 10, 2006 6:22 PM PST

Google Video goes live

The Google Video was online late Monday after being announced Friday--and judging from first impressions, Blockbuster Video and NetFlix may not have much to worry about yet.

The video store was accessible at the top of the main Google Video page with four rotating featured videos. At one point they were: "Star Trek Voyager-Tattoo," on sale for $1.99; the Jan. 4 Heat-Hornets basketball game for $3.95; an ITV news segment of the Christmas dinner held by British troops in Bosnia in 1995; and a video that teaches youngsters "essential early-learning color concepts" for $2.49.

A drop-down menu lets people browse selections of NBA basketball games, movies and music videos, as well as television shows like "The Brady Bunch," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "Nova" and "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Diving into the video selections unearthed tantalizing titles including "Birth Control: Myths & Methods, Spanish Version," "Bobbito's Basics to Boogie" and "ChinaPortal Presents: Xu Genbao and the Future of Chinese Soccer Part 1."

A search for the keywords "John Wayne" turned up a 1934 movie titled "Blue Steel" for sale for $1.99, a bunch of interviews with James Garner and other movie stars, and video from a 2005 Long Beach city council meeting.

The main Google Video page also has rotating feature videos categorized under "popular" and "random" sections. Samples of those included the notorious Tom Cruise appearance on "Oprah Winfrey," a "biker dancing silly" and a documentary claiming to expose "the conspiracy between the Free Masons, U.S. presidents and the 9/11 terrorists attacks."

The Web site adheres to the Google philosophy of less-is-more but lacks any slick design elements that would signal the existence of sexy content such as, say, movies. And, rather than still images from videos to click on for a sample clip, many thumbnail images and preview boxes feature only plain screens with the name of the show--or a blank black box.

Peter Chane, senior business product manager at Google Video, said the content providers are responsible for choosing the thumbnail images and if they don't supply one, Google displays the first frame as the image. The company is working to replace the black thumbnails with something more eye catching, he said.

"This is the first day of the store so we have kind of a default experience and we are making improvements all the time," he told CNET News.com.

Some of the free videos looked fine, but a test download and purchase of the "Where is Everybody?" episode of the quirky classic Twilight Zone television series yielded some problems.

The nearly 25-minute file downloaded extremely quickly. But the image quality was poor. That could put the service at a disadvantage to Apple Computer, whose iTunes store offers consistent video quality for commercial downloads. (Google does not enhance images received from content partners, so if the quality is poor, that's the way Google got it, Chane said.)

The purchase process was simple except for a glitch that forced the buyer to log out of other Google accounts, such as Gmail, before completing the transaction. Chane said he had not heard about the payment processing problem and would look into it.

On its Google Video Blog, the company announced Monday night that its Video was live: "Those of you following this blog over the last few months know that Google Video prides itself on the thousands of smaller, unique titles created by the community. And in the near future, any content creator will be able to sell their videos at a price of their choosing using the Google Video Upload Program," the blog posting said.

However, the video store--which like some other Google services is unavailable on Mac computers--was not an instant hit with everybody. Dave Pell wrote on his Davenetics blog: "Hey, is it my imagination, or is (this) the first really bad product Google has launched? The dropdown nav disappears when you leave the front page. There are about nine music videos for sale. Why not be the search engine and not the store? I don't get it. I know these are the first hours of the service, but I just don't understand the move."

On the Unofficial Google Weblog, poster Brad Hill complained about the lack of selection and high prices.

"At first glance, the prices for this home-grown content are...well, optimistic, to put it graciously. Unrealistic or inflated, to be harsh about it," Hill wrote. "A short description and a 30-second clip are the only audition clues you have to decide whether to plunk down 10 bucks (to pick a random example) for 'Segment '76,' an 84-minute comedy set in Poland."

In response, Google's Chane said the company was adding more video from content partners every day. As for price, the content provider decides what that will be, he said. "If the content providers find they are not selling enough (of a video) they can drop the price," he added.

He denied that the product was late. "We wanted to ship a product that was good for users and good for content providers and we think we did that on Monday," Chane said. "We shipped it when it was ready."

Chane also asked people to contact Google with complaints or information about any problems they may find with the service. "I invite users to e-mail us with specific concerns. We take those user comments very serious," he said.

Meanwhile, America Online said Tuesday that it had acquired video search engine Truveo for an undisclosed amount. But there was no news from AOL or Google on any video distribution deal, despite the $1 billion Google agreed to pay last month for a 5 percent interest in Time Warner's AOL unit.

CNET News.com's John Borland contributed to this report.

See more CNET content tagged:
Peter Chane, Google Video, payment processing, Google Inc., Star Trek

50 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Horrendous interface
Google needs to hire some UI gurus asap. the minimalist stuff is great for search, but not for browsing a store! ewwwww!

still great that independents can sell content, but frankly as a consumer I would much prefer to buy from iTunes. If Google can spruce up the UI maybe I'll have the confidence to return.
Posted by df561 (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree. I really dislike the experience.
I can only speak for myself, but I really dislike the Google Video Store. Your discription is perfect: "ewwwww!"

I don't like the layout. If I go to Star Trek Voyager from the drop down menu, there are only five episodes. I don't know which season they are from unless I click on each one.

If I go to the 'movies' section from the drop down menu, I just get a bunch of random movies with no organization whatsoever.

The one thing I do like is the preview window which is nice and big.

I hope they make some improvements or I don;t see myself shopping there. I'll stick with Apple iTunes which has a very slick and very organized UI.
Posted by (61 comments )
Link Flag
Horrendous interface
Google needs to hire some UI gurus asap. the minimalist stuff is great for search, but not for browsing a store! ewwwww!

still great that independents can sell content, but frankly as a consumer I would much prefer to buy from iTunes. If Google can spruce up the UI maybe I'll have the confidence to return.
Posted by df561 (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree. I really dislike the experience.
I can only speak for myself, but I really dislike the Google Video Store. Your discription is perfect: "ewwwww!"

I don't like the layout. If I go to Star Trek Voyager from the drop down menu, there are only five episodes. I don't know which season they are from unless I click on each one.

If I go to the 'movies' section from the drop down menu, I just get a bunch of random movies with no organization whatsoever.

The one thing I do like is the preview window which is nice and big.

I hope they make some improvements or I don;t see myself shopping there. I'll stick with Apple iTunes which has a very slick and very organized UI.
Posted by (61 comments )
Link Flag
Didn't mind it but...
Here's what I get when I clicked the buy link:
"We're sorry, but this video is not available in your country". Content providers don't get it, won't get it and never will get it - that's why this will fail. It's comforting to know that anytime someone fires up a P2P client to get the same content, they are actively taking money out of the pockets of those idiots who put stupid restrictions like this on content.
Posted by timb2006 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Didn't mind it but...
Here's what I get when I clicked the buy link:
"We're sorry, but this video is not available in your country". Content providers don't get it, won't get it and never will get it - that's why this will fail. It's comforting to know that anytime someone fires up a P2P client to get the same content, they are actively taking money out of the pockets of those idiots who put stupid restrictions like this on content.
Posted by timb2006 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google is better than you think!
We have uploaded 15 ready for primetime shows to Google which include some real insight with Fess Parker, Bob Dornan and even one with Minuteman Founder Chris Simcox.....Try our Sydney Pollack or Caspar Weinberger for fun or find out everything you ever wanted to know about DNA at
50....during a one hour show......all for free..
thank you very much!

Ron & Anna Winship
Cutting Edge - a talk show
Posted by ronwinship (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google is better than you think!
We have uploaded 15 ready for primetime shows to Google which include some real insight with Fess Parker, Bob Dornan and even one with Minuteman Founder Chris Simcox.....Try our Sydney Pollack or Caspar Weinberger for fun or find out everything you ever wanted to know about DNA at
50....during a one hour show......all for free..
thank you very much!

Ron & Anna Winship
Cutting Edge - a talk show
Posted by ronwinship (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not Mac compatible
The ugly interface aside, it also does not seem to work on Mac,
When you click on a video it says:

"Sorry, purchasing this video requires Windows 2000 or Windows
XP."
Posted by jedbroadbent (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not Mac compatible
The ugly interface aside, it also does not seem to work on Mac,
When you click on a video it says:

"Sorry, purchasing this video requires Windows 2000 or Windows
XP."
Posted by jedbroadbent (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Linux Test
Allot seemed to work for Linux and some needed Windows.

For me the interface didnt look too bad I will post a screenshot.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.supload.com/thumbs/default/snapshot6.png" target="_newWindow">http://www.supload.com/thumbs/default/snapshot6.png</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.supload.com/thumbs/default/snapshot7.png" target="_newWindow">http://www.supload.com/thumbs/default/snapshot7.png</a>

Not bad as I dont have cable or tv and it's nice to see Charle Rose although I just wish they would give it out for freee on their websites but...

Probably a FLAT FEE rate would be nice like the musicnow.com service I use.
I might pay 5 dollars a month right now because of weak content.
I dont feel comfortable with that many credit card purchases.
Posted by Blito (436 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Larger pictures
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.supload.com/free/snapshot6.png/view/" target="_newWindow">http://www.supload.com/free/snapshot6.png/view/</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.supload.com/free/snapshot7.png/view/" target="_newWindow">http://www.supload.com/free/snapshot7.png/view/</a>
Posted by Blito (436 comments )
Link Flag
The Linux Test
Allot seemed to work for Linux and some needed Windows.

For me the interface didnt look too bad I will post a screenshot.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.supload.com/thumbs/default/snapshot6.png" target="_newWindow">http://www.supload.com/thumbs/default/snapshot6.png</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.supload.com/thumbs/default/snapshot7.png" target="_newWindow">http://www.supload.com/thumbs/default/snapshot7.png</a>

Not bad as I dont have cable or tv and it's nice to see Charle Rose although I just wish they would give it out for freee on their websites but...

Probably a FLAT FEE rate would be nice like the musicnow.com service I use.
I might pay 5 dollars a month right now because of weak content.
I dont feel comfortable with that many credit card purchases.
Posted by Blito (436 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Larger pictures
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.supload.com/free/snapshot6.png/view/" target="_newWindow">http://www.supload.com/free/snapshot6.png/view/</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.supload.com/free/snapshot7.png/view/" target="_newWindow">http://www.supload.com/free/snapshot7.png/view/</a>
Posted by Blito (436 comments )
Link Flag
What else will Google Big Media machine try to control next!!!
The more I see from Google, the more I become
certain that it truly is the Big brother, right
along with Microsoft &#38; other Big US media ources.
After all they keep passing Billions of dollars
to each other and hyping each other.

That is why I have been looking for a search
engine that is both pure play on search and that
it is people driven rather than wanting to ontrol
the peoples (eye balls) minds world wide. I have
found it, you should know about it too. It is AnooX:
www.anoox.com

But problem with AnooX is that again it is a US
based search engine - again! However they offer
their search engine for free under Open Source
license to those whom want to provide it in
under languages. So I hope top quality ISPs in
various countries in Europe and elsewhere will
grab their code and start offering AnooX french, German, Italian, etc, outside of US, that would
be only way to ensure the highest freedom of
information.
Posted by 207495111267145837975635436522 (58 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What else will Google Big Media machine try to control next!!!
The more I see from Google, the more I become
certain that it truly is the Big brother, right
along with Microsoft &#38; other Big US media ources.
After all they keep passing Billions of dollars
to each other and hyping each other.

That is why I have been looking for a search
engine that is both pure play on search and that
it is people driven rather than wanting to ontrol
the peoples (eye balls) minds world wide. I have
found it, you should know about it too. It is AnooX:
www.anoox.com

But problem with AnooX is that again it is a US
based search engine - again! However they offer
their search engine for free under Open Source
license to those whom want to provide it in
under languages. So I hope top quality ISPs in
various countries in Europe and elsewhere will
grab their code and start offering AnooX french, German, Italian, etc, outside of US, that would
be only way to ensure the highest freedom of
information.
Posted by 207495111267145837975635436522 (58 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google's only good at text search
I don't think this is Google's first bad product, I think ALL of their products except text and image search are inferior to the competition. Gmail changed webmail not because the UI or functionality is better (e.g., feelings about its folderless model are mixed at best) but simply because of the 1 gig storage; Froogle is OK, but not a category winner by any means; Google News finds some good stories, but often has very odd or fringe sources in its lead stories; Orkut never took off; their Google Pack is a joke (wow, Adobe Reader!); the list goes on. I love Google's text search, but I think these guys are a one trick pony. It's a company run by engineers, and it shows - take a look at the video on CNET of Larry Page at CES and tell me it doesn't make you want to sell your Google shares.
Posted by enowtom (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No Steve Jobs...
He's definitely no Steve Jobs. Ofcourse he is a
great geek ;)
Posted by Johnny Mnemonic (374 comments )
Link Flag
When you put it that way
When you put it that way, I think you're right. I would also call their AdSense advertising system very innovative, and the best of the bunch (far better than overture). But thats not really a consumer product, nor is it new.

The only really cool product of late was Google Earth, and that was bought from Keyhole.
Posted by (402 comments )
Link Flag
you nailed it!
100% agreed, unfortunately
Posted by df561 (94 comments )
Link Flag
Google's only good at text search
I don't think this is Google's first bad product, I think ALL of their products except text and image search are inferior to the competition. Gmail changed webmail not because the UI or functionality is better (e.g., feelings about its folderless model are mixed at best) but simply because of the 1 gig storage; Froogle is OK, but not a category winner by any means; Google News finds some good stories, but often has very odd or fringe sources in its lead stories; Orkut never took off; their Google Pack is a joke (wow, Adobe Reader!); the list goes on. I love Google's text search, but I think these guys are a one trick pony. It's a company run by engineers, and it shows - take a look at the video on CNET of Larry Page at CES and tell me it doesn't make you want to sell your Google shares.
Posted by enowtom (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No Steve Jobs...
He's definitely no Steve Jobs. Ofcourse he is a
great geek ;)
Posted by Johnny Mnemonic (374 comments )
Link Flag
When you put it that way
When you put it that way, I think you're right. I would also call their AdSense advertising system very innovative, and the best of the bunch (far better than overture). But thats not really a consumer product, nor is it new.

The only really cool product of late was Google Earth, and that was bought from Keyhole.
Posted by (402 comments )
Link Flag
you nailed it!
100% agreed, unfortunately
Posted by df561 (94 comments )
Link Flag
Underwhelmed
I was looking at it yesterday. Kind of underwhelming. Interface is next to useless. Most of the videos I was interested in were 'rentals', and you had to use their viewer to watch them (thus making the purchase pointless). I really expected something far more innovative from google, but they failed to deliver.
Posted by (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Underwhelmed
I was looking at it yesterday. Kind of underwhelming. Interface is next to useless. Most of the videos I was interested in were 'rentals', and you had to use their viewer to watch them (thus making the purchase pointless). I really expected something far more innovative from google, but they failed to deliver.
Posted by (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"don't throw the baby out with the bath water"
I respectfully disagree with your generalization attacking the quality of the roll out by Video Google. For those of us who are independent producers of cost and commercial free content we are very pleased to have access to this worthy public service. Currently we have over 12 unique and informative programs on Google. Check out our Caspar Weinberger, Bob Dornan or DNA at 50 shows and see for yourselves what Google and Cutting Edge freely offer to viewers worldwide.
Larry Gilbert, investigative reporter, Cutting Edge a talk show
Posted by ontarget (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just What I'm Looking For
Casper freakin Weinberger, Bob Dornan or DNA at 50! LOL

No I'm sorry to say that while a SMALL market may be interested in THIS stuff... most people as can be seen from other comments are looking for MAIN STREAM items... TV &#38; Movies

While this new Google product is certainly a great tool for independant producers to put out their own content. And hopefully they will get some play due to it being on Google instead of some personal web space.

However, I believe that Google's intent was to provide a service that would appeal to the MAINSTREAM CONSUMER... and unfortunately that means episodes from actual TV and a video store selection of movies.

Also iTunes model stops consumer unhappiness by making ALL content available to all USERS... no "sorry this is not available to your country" and no outrageous prices for limited fair and limited interest selections...

Sorry....
Posted by The user with no name (259 comments )
Link Flag
"don't throw the baby out with the bath water"
I respectfully disagree with your generalization attacking the quality of the roll out by Video Google. For those of us who are independent producers of cost and commercial free content we are very pleased to have access to this worthy public service. Currently we have over 12 unique and informative programs on Google. Check out our Caspar Weinberger, Bob Dornan or DNA at 50 shows and see for yourselves what Google and Cutting Edge freely offer to viewers worldwide.
Larry Gilbert, investigative reporter, Cutting Edge a talk show
Posted by ontarget (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just What I'm Looking For
Casper freakin Weinberger, Bob Dornan or DNA at 50! LOL

No I'm sorry to say that while a SMALL market may be interested in THIS stuff... most people as can be seen from other comments are looking for MAIN STREAM items... TV &#38; Movies

While this new Google product is certainly a great tool for independant producers to put out their own content. And hopefully they will get some play due to it being on Google instead of some personal web space.

However, I believe that Google's intent was to provide a service that would appeal to the MAINSTREAM CONSUMER... and unfortunately that means episodes from actual TV and a video store selection of movies.

Also iTunes model stops consumer unhappiness by making ALL content available to all USERS... no "sorry this is not available to your country" and no outrageous prices for limited fair and limited interest selections...

Sorry....
Posted by The user with no name (259 comments )
Link Flag
Google will legitimize horrendous videos
The "most popular" bit - do we need this? I thought they would do no evil, but the most popular video today is a helicopter crash. Will it be explosive dismemberment tomorrow? Now our darkest curiosities are legitimized by a rating system, which really is nothing more than a rating of human pathology.

Steve Hynes
Posted by shynes (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google will legitimize horrendous videos
The "most popular" bit - do we need this? I thought they would do no evil, but the most popular video today is a helicopter crash. Will it be explosive dismemberment tomorrow? Now our darkest curiosities are legitimized by a rating system, which really is nothing more than a rating of human pathology.

Steve Hynes
Posted by shynes (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Way to much for cheesy movies!
Wow - those are some of the cheesy movies from my youth. They were terrible then, but they're so bad you can't help but look. And laugh a lot. But hey, for an average of $10 bucks? No way. Maybe at 99 cents each. Let's face it, we're not talking oscar material here. Charge cheap and go for volume.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
that's what happens when CP's set price
content providers ALWAYS think that the crap they are making is PRICELESS.... and so they slap $10 on Attack of The Killer Tomatoes (dont actually know if its listed or not and for what price... this was just an example lol)

And while Google is correct that they can lower the price if no one 'buys' it (or rents it as the case may apparently be) all this is going to do is hurt google and hurt the service.

If I want to see a movie NOW I'm not going to wait for the price to drop.. I'll hop in the car and slap 4 bucks on the counter at local video store...or use my netflic account in which case it's probably already on its way to my door!

yeah google really only has succeed in search (unless you count their g-mail which I stopped using as soon as I realized they were keeping all my deleted mail and tracking me like some wild animal... now they can see what entertainment you like too... what a database they will have on their users...)
Posted by The user with no name (259 comments )
Link Flag
Way to much for cheesy movies!
Wow - those are some of the cheesy movies from my youth. They were terrible then, but they're so bad you can't help but look. And laugh a lot. But hey, for an average of $10 bucks? No way. Maybe at 99 cents each. Let's face it, we're not talking oscar material here. Charge cheap and go for volume.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
that's what happens when CP's set price
content providers ALWAYS think that the crap they are making is PRICELESS.... and so they slap $10 on Attack of The Killer Tomatoes (dont actually know if its listed or not and for what price... this was just an example lol)

And while Google is correct that they can lower the price if no one 'buys' it (or rents it as the case may apparently be) all this is going to do is hurt google and hurt the service.

If I want to see a movie NOW I'm not going to wait for the price to drop.. I'll hop in the car and slap 4 bucks on the counter at local video store...or use my netflic account in which case it's probably already on its way to my door!

yeah google really only has succeed in search (unless you count their g-mail which I stopped using as soon as I realized they were keeping all my deleted mail and tracking me like some wild animal... now they can see what entertainment you like too... what a database they will have on their users...)
Posted by The user with no name (259 comments )
Link Flag
great concept poor execution
Google should be come a distributor for independents and leave the consumer store experience to others.

For example as an independent producer I would like to see the Google upload program remain, but have them function as an 'aggregator' and distribute through iTunes and/or another Store that knows how to present entertainment content for sale!

Either that or hire the most professional web designers possible, because apparently there is no one with an artistic bone yet employed at Google. Sad I really looked up to Google, even Microsoft would have done better than this.
Posted by df561 (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
great concept poor execution
Google should be come a distributor for independents and leave the consumer store experience to others.

For example as an independent producer I would like to see the Google upload program remain, but have them function as an 'aggregator' and distribute through iTunes and/or another Store that knows how to present entertainment content for sale!

Either that or hire the most professional web designers possible, because apparently there is no one with an artistic bone yet employed at Google. Sad I really looked up to Google, even Microsoft would have done better than this.
Posted by df561 (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No to Google Big Brother, Yes to AnooX people based search engine
I agree with Sandra, what we need, speaking for
myself as a small business owner, is not another
Big media/technology outlet like Microsoft, AOL-Timewarner-CNN, etc., which is what Yahoo &#38;
Google are becoming or are already. And as a result they will end up being in 1000's of different businesses and becoming competition to our
businesses, if not today certainly tomorrow.
What we need is a pure play search engine, that is
a search engine that does search only and nothing else, and one that is people driven.
And one that offers click through Advertising rates at a fraction of Google or Yahoo.
That is why I also say it is time to stop being brain washed by the Hype about Google and switch to
AnooX, switch to a search engine that is driven by the People.
Go people power, Go AnooX: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.anoox.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.anoox.com/</a>
Posted by Cyrus_K (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good work
Another fake review by another fake person. But where has the first guy went? Or is it all still the first guy....
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.