Who Would Believe That AOL May Have The Most Innovative Online Video Offering?

from the well,-look-at-that dept

Putting “innovative” and “AOL” in the same sentence may shock some people, but MIT’s Tech Review makes a convincing case that with all these new broadcast online video offerings AOL is really the one to watch. While Google may be barking up the wrong tree by focusing on a system reliant on incompatible copy protection, AOL is focusing on the type of video that people have made clear they like: free. At the same time, they’ve been improving video search through acquisitions — basically attacking Google on their home turf. That’s a bit surprising since many expected Google and AOL to team up on video rather than compete (Time Warner so far has declined to take part in Google’s video offering). Of course, AOL’s offering isn’t perfect. In the past we pointed out that it was a step in the right direction, but still too limited, since it’s just streaming (no moving it to a portable device). How hard is it to recognize what most people want and deliver it to them? They don’t want limits and they don’t want to pay — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity. AOL is almost there by offering these shows up for free with commercials, but if they made it downloadable and portable they’d be much further ahead than the competition. People are already downloading shows using BitTorrent, so that’s what these companies have to compete with. Locking things up and charging for them is offering a worse product. Of course, the response from Google (and others) may be that they don’t care so much about traditional broadcast video, and the focus is on providing the platform for others to host and share video. However, so far, it doesn’t seem like Google is pushing that aspect of their offering. Perhaps they should, instead of focusing so much attention on a tiny selection of expensive locked-down broadcast content.


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Comments on “Who Would Believe That AOL May Have The Most Innovative Online Video Offering?”

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10 Comments
Lance Laifer (user link) says:

Google video

Couldn’t disagree more. Google’s video system is elegantly designed and great to watch not to mention that it is fully supportive of their own blogger ecosystem. Years from now Google video will be even bigger than Google search.
Yesterday was the first day I watched Google TV – pretty soon it will add comcast to a list of companies and services that have or are becoming Googlekill.

Joshua (user link) says:

Re: No Subject Given

While the idea of googles system is something I like (let the creator decide if it is free or to charge, and how much to charge) there simply isn’t enough content within the store side. They should have at least enough interesting movies. Even Vongo has about a 1000 movies to choose from. And that selection becomes small after a couple days. Movielink, also has some interesting movies, though not nearly enough.

I don’t think any of us will be happy until we have one stop shopping, and multiple payment options, ownership options, etc to fit the need we have, which may be different from our neighbor.

Jere (user link) says:

Why ya gotta be a hater?

Mike, I certainly understand that you’ve been quite underwhelmed by the Google Video launch. CES theatrics aside, the announcement really isn’t a huge deal….this we know. I will submit, however, that it will be noted as a watershed moment in Internet history.

Google is doing what they do – roll out products as they become available and continue to evolve the Google “brand”. While January 06’s offerings on GVideo may be sparse, June 06’s GVideo may be an entirely different beast – especially if they can deliver HD content.

I think TD should take a step back and try to get the long view here, rather than beat on the “Google has stumbled” drum.

I certainly don’t think you should adopt the other extreme of gushing breathlessly over every widget that says “Google,” but don’t be so quick to judge them “lame”, either.

It’s not like they’re out suing people for infringment of obvious patents..

-j

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Why ya gotta be a hater?

Hmm. I think I must have done a really bad job explaining my position. It wasn’t that “Google had stumbled” with this launch.

I think Google’s video offering has a ton of potential and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see much of it realized eventually. My surprise was that they launched it in such a skimpy way. That’s not standard practice for Google, despit what you say.

I’m also disappointed in their moves on copy protection, which I think were way too in-the-box thinking for a company like Google, and which only help to SHRINK the opportunity by adding another incompatible copy protection system.

As I said in the post, none of these systems are perfect, and hopefully they’ll change over time. However, what’s wrong with us nudging all of the players to go in the right direction?

Jeremiah (user link) says:

Re: Re: Why ya gotta be a hater?

Mike speaketh: “My surprise was that they launched it in such a skimpy way. That’s not standard practice for Google, despit what you say.”
I disagree – GMail was pretty skimpy when it came out (no Rich Text, no spellcheck, no virus checking…), and don’t even get me started on how skimpy Froogle was/still is.
I think this rollout is absolutely par for Google; although I’d concede the CES sideshow gave the announcement a veneer of “OMFG!!11!!1 G00GLE R TEH R()X)()RZ!111!”
Personally, I would have liked to see HD samples at launch – that would have gone a long way to cementing my conviction in Google. In time, I’m sure…

Jeremiah (user link) says:

Re: Re: Why ya gotta be a hater?

Mike speaketh: “My surprise was that they launched it in such a skimpy way. That’s not standard practice for Google, despit what you say.”

I disagree – GMail was pretty skimpy when it came out (no Rich Text, no spellcheck, no virus checking…), and don’t even get me started on how skimpy Froogle was/still is.

I think this rollout is absolutely par for Google; although I’d concede the CES sideshow gave the announcement a veneer of “OMFG!!11!!1 G00GLE R TEH R()X)()RZ!111!”

Personally, I would have liked to see HD samples at launch – that would have gone a long way to cementing my conviction in Google. In time, I’m sure…

Tess Dickerson says:

youGottabelievemystory

i’ve heard that when you go in the bathroom and turn off all the lights and put candles around the sink and fill the sink with water then put your hands in the water and look into the meer,wile doing that say bloodymueer about five times you will see a dark figure behind you..ahh

YouGottaBelieveMe!!

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