Overhype

by Mike Masnick




We Sat Around Waiting For Google Video And All We Got Was This?

from the needs-a-bit-of-work-it-appears dept

Remember the good old days when Google used to "wow" people with their new products? AdSense. Gmail. Google Maps. These were products that took what was apparently a mature market and completely changed the game -- and did so in a way that made people say "wow." Last year, we noted that Google seemed to forget the "wow" part when it launched Google Talk, and it appears they may have really misplaced the magic pixie dust with Google Video, if the reports we're seeing are to be believed. We've been discussing our disappointment with Google's very traditional take on copy protection for Google Video, but we at least expected the the actual Google Video store to be at least somewhat worthwhile. All weekend long we saw bloggers and commentators wondering where it was and when it would launch, while getting increasingly concerned by the delays. Perhaps that made Google rush the product out, but reading through the early reviews, you might think that Google would have been better off telling Robin Williams to skip his trip to Las Vegas because the product clearly isn't ready for prime time. Sure, it's "beta." But just because it's "beta" doesn't mean it should be terrible. In fact, part of Google's charm was that, even though all their products were in beta, many of them still had that wow factor. So, cruising around the early reviews of Google Video -- mainly from people who tend to be Google supporters -- suggests something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.
  • Davenetics: "Hey, is it my imagination, or is the first really bad product Google has launched?... There are about 9 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."
  • Brad Hill: "only three episodes of each! The hell? Are their digital converters driven by gerbils? What's the freakin' problem? I have no idea where the bottleneck is, but man, I cannot stand meaningless delays.... Lame on CBS; lame on Google; lame on whoever--it's just lame... Man, this thing is painfully disappointing."
  • Meanwhile, Gary Price discovers that for all of Larry Page being totally dismissive of the details concerning Google's copy protection, it really does matter: "I've now downloaded the video after paying $.99, installed the player, and still can't watch the video. Why? It seems that at the moment (2 am EST) I'm unable get my Google account to authenticate so I'm unable to view the show. I keep receiving an error message."
  • Andrew Goodman over at Traffick.com may have the best analogy concerning what's happening here, comparing Google's video efforts to billionaires who invest in sports teams or other "trophy businesses" that have little financial value other than publicity: "people keep expecting Google to do something earth-shatteringly iPod-like in the entertainment biz, completely transforming the way people think about the company. Do they have it in them? Maybe, but the new Google Video Store certainly isn't it."

Ouch. Hopefully this is just a botched launch, but there are going to be many pieces to pick up -- and hopefully Google can rapidly improve on the offering, while learning from their mistakes on this one.


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2006 @ 6:27am

    No Subject Given

    As far as TV shows are concerned, some kind of episode numbering scheme would be *greatly* appreciated.

    "Brady Bunch, S01E01, Show Title" type of thing.

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