Google offers Video Store
As strongly expected, Google is to go up against Apple in creating a commercial pay-per-download video service. During his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week founder Larry Page announced that he had signed up CBS to provide recent and classic shows, news from ITN, music videos from Sony BMG, cartoons and coverage of games from the US National Basketball Association.
There will be no fixed price for the content. Each provider will be able to set their price for each video and have the choice to offer the content with or without copy protection
The CBS content will include some of its most popular recent output such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, NCIS, Survivor and The Amazing Race as well as hoary old shows such as ‘The Brady Bunch’ and ‘I Love Lucy’. Cartoons available will include ‘Felix the Cat’ and ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost’.
A little surprisingly, Google Video Marketplace will also be supplied with news clips from Britain’s ITN. While this might sound like a laudable attempt at internationalising the service, it is more likely that the popular US news channels like Fox News and CNN did not want to play ball or that Google got a good deal from the cash-strapped ITN, which has just had to close its 24 hour news service in the UK. However, Google is promising a range of historical clips going right back to the 1896 coronation of Tsar Nicolas II.
In total Google says there will be thousands of titles for sale in the Google Video Store and promises that more titles will be added every day. It has already done deals with a number of other smaller educational and entertainment producers and presumably is in talks with many more. The company will be in a race with Apple to sign up as many content providers on exclusive deals as it can, as both companies will want to establish themselves as the prime site to obtain video downloads in the same way that Apple has established itself in the music market with iTunes.
Google will be offering a new free player along side Google Video from any playback page. It will support the usual playback options such as play, pause, stop, as well as a ‘thumbnail’ navigation feature that enables users to browse through an entire video, or frames at a time via a mouse. The company also says that iPod and Sony Playstation Portable users will also be able to download and watch any non-copy-protected content from Google Video optimised for playback on their devices.
If Larry Page was annoyed about the leaks in the press that meant that Video Marketplace was already common knowledge before everyone sat down for his keynote speech at the CES, he did not show it. As expected Google’s founder not only announced the commercial video service but also the widely trailed ‘Google bundle’.
Google says that the Video Store will be ‘available soon’.