Google Video has been added to Google Alerts, letting you subscribe to email alerts of the latest videos featuring a keyword of your choice. Toss in a “site:” command, and you can get seperate alerts for YouTube videos, Metacafe videos, wherever you want to keep an eye on.
As Philipp points out, The links in these emails point exclusively to the page with the Google Video wrapper, so every time you click on one you get a page with Google video stuff in a frame at the top, which is getting really annoying. Google should give you an option in the preferences to turn the damn thing off, a benefit at the least for signed-in Google Account users.
Also, expect sploggers to begin using these alerts to create crappy spam blogs filled with videos, just like they’ve been doing for years with Google Web Alerts and News Alerts and Blog Alerts.
Google realized that giving short-term Google Checkout credit and disabling videos by the end of the month was pissing off a lot of people, so it has apologized and decided to more than double the compensation.
Besides promising to keep the videos working for an additional six months, Google is refunding to the credit cards of anyone who bought anything from Google video, and letting them keep their Google Checkout credit. That means that if you bought a video from Google, you get six more months to watch it, you get your money back in full, and you get an equal amount of credit at stores like Buy.com. What a deal!
Good of Google to fix this problem, but boy are they taking a hit. They are giving up 200% of all revenues from the Google Video store, making it an obscenely unprofitable enterprise. The only hope: That the store was such a colossal failure that the actual dollars being refunded aren’t that high. My, what a sad ending to this story.
Ionut Alex spotted a new ability of Google Video’s often-ignored closed captioning feature. Turns out you can attach multiple closed captioning files to a single video, and users can choose the one they want. In essence, you get to provide subtitles in multiple languages, if you’re willing to do the work, and a simple arrow next to the CC logo lets the user pick the right one for the job.
A video with a ton of available CC languages:
Google has announced it is closing down the Google Video Store, which sold videos to a very small audience for the last year and a half. Users who paid for the videos will not only not be able to buy new ones, but because of Google’s use of a proprietary DRM format, will have their videos stop working entirely and never, ever play again.
Clearly, this is part of Google’s plan to undermine others’ DRM strategy by making consumers so angry, they’ll never buy DRM music and video from Apple or Microsoft, right? Because no company could be this stupid?
As of Wednesday, DRM video will stop running (Google stopped selling them a month ago. Google is giving previous purchasers a Google Checkout coupon based on how much they purchased to sorta make up for it, but the coupon expires in 60 days. Presumably the coupons are 100% refunds, since anything else would be tantamount to robbery and back up Boing Boing’s call for a class action lawsuit. As Profy says:
Also, it should provide full refunds for the amount users spent in the marketplace, at least for purchased videos. When you buy a DVD from a store, you get to keep it, unless it is defective in which case you are offered a full refund or exchange. A store does not simply say, “Sorry, we will take that movie back and give you a $5 store credit.” Just because the content is digital does not mean that it should not be subject to the same terms that apply to retail purchases.
Ars explains how Google just made a great anti-DRM argument:
Yet now Google Video has given us a gift—a “proof of concept” in the form of yet another argument against DRM—and an argument for more reasonable laws governing copyright controls. How could Google’s failure be our gain? Simple. By picking up its marbles and going home, Google just demonstrated how completely bizarre and anti-consumer DRM technology can be. Most importantly, by pulling the plug on the service, Google proved why consumers have to be allowed to circumvent copy controls.
Poor Charlie Rose. It seemed like he was the only one really using the damn.
I suspect this is the last post in the Google Video Store category. Where do I retire dead categories?
In memory of the Google Video Store:
Google Video Upload Program - April 2005
Google Opens Video Store For VOD - January 7, 2006
Google’s Copy Protection Technology - January 7, 2006
Google Video Updated - January 9, 2006
Google Video Store Updated - January 10, 2006
Unimpressed With The Google Video Store - January 11, 2006
Movie Debuts On Google Video - January 11, 2006
Google Video Home Gets Redesign - January 25, 2006
CBS To Sell TV Shows, Cutting Out Google Video - February 2, 2006
Google Video Store To Open For More Sellers - March 2006
Google Video Loses NBA, Gains Free NHL Videos - November 5, 2006
Such a shame. All those posts in the beginning, and then it fades away. Will we be writing the obituary of Google Video soon? Don’t be surprised.
Catching up: I had a crazy week, with me and my wife going on a short wedding anniversary vacation, one of my best friends getting married, and my aunt and her family moving forever to another continent. There’s a lot of stuff filling up the queue, so we’re going to go through it double time
Google Acquires Aerial Image Firm, ImageAmerica
Google bought another company, this time ImageAmerica, an aerial imagery company. ImageAmerica provided the high-res imagery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and can be used to provide high quality imagery of any area in a hurry, an excellent boon for Google Earth/Maps. They’ve got a “Beech Starship” aircraft that can get into an area quickly, get high, fly fast and with great stability, and get great images for Google to use.
Google Maps Now Shows Popular Searches
Google Maps has a new feature that shows the popular searches for a particular area. Search for a city, town, state, or whatever, and you’ll find out what people are searching for in that area. For example, I know that in my area, people are looking for:
- subway station
- map quest
- car service
- laguardia airport
- elmhurst hospital
- new york hall of science: administration
- st johns university
- flushing meadow park
While popular searches in Manhattan are:
- penn station
- port authority
- duane reade
- w hotel
- madison square garden
- car service
YouTube Antipiracy Tool Coming This September
Google is expected to finally release YouTube’s antipiracy system this September, 10 months after buying the company, and many months after getting sued by Viacom and watching competitors take similar major measures at stopping the widespread uploading of copyrighted material. The technology will fingerprint videos so it can recognize when a previously deemed infringing video is uploaded again, and will allow copyright holders to embed a digital fingerprint in videos so the system will never let them be uploaded.
This couldn’t come a moment too soon. Google Video, which shares some of the same infrastructure as YouTube (when watching YouTube videos, I’ve seen them streaming from video.google.com) and presumably will share the same antipiracy system, is a hotbed of piracy. My wife and I have gotten some movies still in theaters from Google Video, something we normally never bother with, because it’s too damn easy to find.
Google Using Community To Grow Indian Maps
Google has decided that the best way to get good maps of India is to ask the locals for help. They’ve sent out GPS kits to some Indians, asking for their assistance in creating more accurate maps of the area, comparing the multiple data points for verification. The program has done 50 cities, complete with driving directions, using the GPS and special software that allows users to literally draw the roads on top of the satellite imagery.
DoubleClick Running Illegal AdWords Ads
Looks like future Google unit DoubleClick has been running some AdWords campaigns that break the terms of service. DoubleClick is running ads on Google search targeted to the term “AdBrite”, a competing web advertising company, actually using the competitor’s trademarked term in the ad copy. While Google has been embroiled in lawsuits protecting the advertiser’s right to target trademarked terms, it clearly bans the use of those terms in the ad itself. Someone should tell DoubleClick.
Take a look at Google Video’s top 100 videos, and you’ll see what appears to be a sea of hardcore pornography. It’s not, but it lets you know how many people are searching Google Video and YouTube for videos of naked women. Video after video features provocative titles like “sex hardcore xxx”, “arab sex”, “Youtube Sex” and “Thong Comes Off”, along with thumbnails that sometimes seem to have been taken mere seconds before some real sexy action starts off.
YouTube is partly to blame for this cluttering of their search results, letting users have too much control over which frame of the video is chosen as the thumbnail. It’s been known for a while which frame gets chosen by the system, and you can also choose from two others if you need to. Look through the top 100, and there are quite a few videos with completely inaccurate thumbnail frames. Why you would make it possible to manipulate the most important SEO portion of the video, I have no idea.
At least one blogger was fooled into thinking that the whole page was filled with hardcore porn. No, real porn gets removed from YouTube; fake porn clutters up the search results and ruins the user experience.
I find it hilarious that Getty Images is the worst obvious offender on the page, using sexy titles to sell stock video.
(via NoPornNorthhampton > Digg)
At least I found this video, which is pretty funny:
Engadget reports that Google Video is working out quite nicely for iPhone users. While video can’t be watched on Google Video, and embedded Google Videos don’t work as well, because of the iPhone’s lack of Flash support, Google Video is the rare video service that lets you download the videos. You can download most videos, but not all, and get them in “iPod/PSP” format, and play them in the iPhone’s video player. Pretty convenient, and just another reason I like to upload videos to both YouTube and Google Video.
Two things I’m wondering:
- What does Google gain by building these applications for the iPhone? I mean, two of the best and unique things on the iPhone are the improved Google Maps application and YouTube, and in the case of YouTube, Google is giving up bandwidth from a money-losing service, in a method that makes even less money than the standard website!
- Why hasn’t Adobe gotten Flash on mobile devices? Flash was going to become the de-facto standard for easy internet video, but the lack of Flash on smartphones is forcing YouTube to re-encode into H.264. I think Adobe just missed their chance, big time.
Do you like the Google Video frame? You know, the one that appears above anything clicked from Google Video search results, letting you tab through search and related results, but also eating up a lot of screen real estate? Well, MySpace doesn’t like it. Click a video on MySpace Video, and the top frame will load, but when the MySpace page loads at the bottom, it takes over the page and redirects you to the MySpace page, sans Google Video frame.
Watch it happen by clicking this link.
Doesn’t look like MySpace does it for Images, and it could just be a bug, or a general workaround for framed pages, but I’m sure Google doesn’t love it. I wonder if they have an agreement with MySpace over the video indexing that includes the frame.
Blogger has launched a new platform for beta features they are testing, calling it Blogger in Draft. Blogger in Draft is how they can release new features that aren’t quite ready yet, giving users a chance to try out what they are working on. Not only is it cool, it shows us that indeed Blogger has grown up and is again a live platform with active development and new features. Thank god, because a little while back, I was calling Blogger dead and chastising Google for letting it happen.
The first Draft feature (announced on the Blogger in Draft blog) is video uploading, letting you hit a button while writing a post to choose a video and upload it to Google Video.
Philipp points out one ridiculous thing, not that there’s Blogger in Draft:
*To recap, when a Google product or feature is in early status, it’s called: Labs, Experimental, Draft, Test, or Beta.
Jeez, that’s crazy.
If you haven’t looked at Google Labs in a while, check out Mashable, which has a feature on all the Labs products, including quite a few we haven’t heard from in a while.
Controversial documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has been in the news this past weekend because his latest film, “Sicko”, about the U.S. health care industry, has been leaked to torrent sites and file-sharing networks, two weeks ahead of its June 29 theatre release date. Well, the situation is just a little bit worse, because those afraid of prosecution or just too lazy or without the technical skills to use Bit Torrent can even watch the movie on Google Video, and have been able to for the last four days.
If you can still play the movie above this paragraph, that means Google has yet to take down the two hour three minute unreleased motion picture, practically the most visible example of modern internet movie piracy. For Mr. Moore’s sake (not related to his political opinions, but rather any filmmaker’s ability to sell a film to audiences), I hope it doesn’t last too long. As is, you can watch it at Google Video, embed it in a blog, or even download the entire video as a 722 megabyte AVI file.
What a mess.
Does it seem like Google Video takes longer to remove copyright infringements than other services, even Google’s own YouTube?
Just noticed a Grouper video in the results for Google Video, which means Google is now indexing Grouper videos as well as its own, YouTube, and MetaCafe. The index keeps growing. Nice. Google doesn’t play the videos in the search results, like it does with other sites, but I’m sure the extra traffic will make Grouper happy.
Another thing: Click on search results in Google Video, and you are taken to a split page like the one used by Google Images, with Google Video placing a bar at the top with related videos, arrows to page through search results, email sharing, and the page with the video taking up the bottom 80% of the screen. I think a lot of people are going to find this annoying. Hopefully, Google will let you set a preference to turn the frame off.
UPDATE: MySpace Video is also there. Wow!
Google Video now indexes Google Video itself, YouTube and MetaCafe, with more sites set to be added in the future. The real question, though, is how many in total? Haochi tried to find out by running a number of searches, and running those same searches plus a few extra, the biggest number I’ve gotten Google Video to admit indexing is:
However, if you use the site: command, Google divides the indexed videos by site, and you get:
That’s pretty damn impressive. Not a billion videos (and not anywhere near all of YouTube, since I’m sure YouTube has more videos than the others), but a really great start.
Weird little thing discovered by Ionut Alex: Google Video, which now indexes Metacafe and displays Metacafe results in its search results, has a preview feature that previews Metacafe videos in Google Video results. The weird thing is that the preview uses the familiar Google Video player, instead of using Metacafe’s video player, and it works just fine. I wonder if this could be used for embeds, letting sites use the Google Video player for both Google Video and Metacafe videos?
For some reason, the link still reads “Go To Google Video”, but it goes to Metacafe. Also, Metacafe videos rank really, really bad on Google Video, almost impossible to find. Plus, Metacafe videos get a preview thumbnail in Google Web Search, but Google Video and YouTube videos get a preview thumbnail and the abillity to play the video right from the results page.
It’s official, we are definitely in the middle of a massive multi-industry war on the level of the RIAA/filesharing and other major technology wars of recent memory. Today, the war entered its third major stage, with many of the opposition joining forces to announce a YouTube competitor, coming this summer.
Pre-war ops: Various companies and startups enter the video sharing arena. YouTube (2/15/2005), Revver (11/2005), Break(1/2006), Blip (5/2005), Metacafe (7/2003) and many others form, hoping to gain the user base to eventually make money. Google Video (4/13/2005), MySpace Video (1/23/2006), MSN Soapbox (10/2006), and other major companies try to gain a foothold into the emerging market, and other small players get bought up by large companies trying to gain a share of the pie, including iFilm (acquired by MTV 10/15/2005) and Vimeo (acquired by IAC 8/2006).
Catalysts: December 17, 2005: Saturday Night Live presents Lazy Sunday. Spurred by the popularity of the video, which NBCU later demands be removed, YouTube gains many new users and media attention. YouTube has hit the mainstream, and has never looked back.
Stage I - The Alliance: November 13, 2006: Google annexes YouTube. Mere hours after both Google’s own Google Video and YouTube signed treaties with major music companies, Google trades $1.65 billion in stock for control of YouTube’s mindshare and army of loyal users.
Stage II - First Strike: February 2, 2007: Viacom demands Google remove over 100,000 videos, and March 13, 2007, Viacom sued Google for one billion dollars, striking at the popular YouTube, which is rapidly becoming a significant competitor for its audience. Viacom’s lawsuit, if successful, would open the door for similar lawsuits by every video copyright holder on Earth, burying YouTube and bankrupting the service. It is a battle YouTube cannot afford to lose.
Stage III - The Coalition: March 22, 2007 (today): NBC/Universal (NBC, General Electric) and News Corporation (FOX, MySpace), two of the largest forces in television, announce a competitor to YouTube. The service, a joint effort of the two, will launch this summer, will pool content from TV shows on NBC and FOX networks.
The joint service will give preferred access to those videos to Google’s main competitors, Microsoft’s MSN and Yahoo, as well as Time Warner’s AOL and News Corp.’s MySpace, shutting out Google from important content, and opening it up to more lawsuits if users upload NBC/FOX content to YouTube.
This mega-coalition, NBC/U-NewsCorp/FOX/MySpace-MSN-Yahoo-AOL, represents a huge threat to Google/YouTube. They have the media clout, advertising partners, web traffic, and money to beat back YouTube, which has not (and thus far cannot) developed the revenue streams for Google to use in this combat. While Microsoft and Yahoo have not found a way to beat Google at search, the keys to the internet, they can use YouTube to bleed Google dry, and thus making this a win-win for every single internet company that joins the fight.
The fact is, you may like Google, but Google is bad news for every large internet corporation. It is too large, too scary, too capable of being a threat in other companies backyards. Google has one hit, but in it holds the keys to creating future ones, by designing or buying companies and taking over verticals. It is in the best interest of every Microsoft/Yahoo/AOL/IAC/MySpace on the internet that Google just go away. Superpowers make competition difficult, while a splintered market is great for all to compete in.
Can Google win this one? Can Google outspend its rivals? Can Google someone not have to spend away all its cash on a defense? Was YouTube Google’s biggest mistake? We’ll see.
I can’t wait for Stage IV. My guess: YouTube wins a deal with the only remaining network, ABC. Google CEO Eric Schmidt uses his position on Apple’s board to leverage negotiations with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, a Disney board member, to put Disney/ABC content on YouTube. Possible future moves: An iTunes collaboration for Google, and a settlement with Viacom that saves Google from a dangerous legal precedent.
Google Video’s homepage now has a sidebar showing off the videos that are getting the most traction in the blogosphere, both inbound links from Google Blog Search and embeds. Due to the popularity of YouTube, and the fact that YouTube is in Google Video’s index, every single video in the top 10 is a YouTube video. Here’s the current top 10:
Also, Matt Cutts says Google is going to do the right thing and remove YouTube search results from Google search results. This means, if YouTube shows up when searching on Google Web Search, it will only be YouTube videos and users in the results, not dynamically generated results pages. This is a good thing, something Google tries to do for all its search results, since indexing other search engines provides no value to the user (especially if that search is already available on video.google.com).
Maybe Google could do something to get all those awful product search engines and eBay search results out of their index. There’s nothing more annoying that trying to find something and just being sent through a loop to yet another search engine.
What? I had more than one story about integrations and such, and that was easily the worst title I could think of. Who would have thought there was a way to include “stuff” in a title four times, and have it vaguely make sense?
Google Notebook is now integrating with Google Docs, letting you one-click export your entire notebook. Considering that Google is slowly acknowledging it is releasing too many products, and that Yahoo has received criticism for having multiple products with the same function, I could see Google closing Google Notebook eventually. Wouldn’t Notebook serve more of Google’s purposes as a plugin for Google Docs, then as a seperate product? Probably.
You can now send Twitter updates from Google Talk, by sending messages to email@example.com. Frankly, it doesn’t work, since it created a new Twitter account for me, instead of letting me post to my regular Twitter account. I’ll stick with posting through the Twitter Windows Vista Sidebar Gadget. Speaking of which, add me as a friend if you are on Twitter.
Valleywag wonders if Dodgeball is now completely over with Twitter gaining steam. Yeah, probably.
Google has effectively closed the Google Video Blog, telling readers to start relying on the YouTube blog. That’s a shame, since they found some pretty interesting videos, and the YouTube blog ignores Google Video and isn’t updated as often.
Here’s a real shame: Google hasn’t updated Google Trends since November. I liked Google Trends, even if it had many limitations, and I’d hate to see it so neglected. They neglected Google Images for awhile once, and it met with a lot of criticism. I don’t think Google Trends ever had that many loyal users, but it presented a useful peek into the thoughts of the Google-using public.
UPDATE: Oh, and Google Finance now has videos on the front page full of financial news, all from Google Video.
UPDATE 2: Google Finance also added data on extended hours trading. Good for them.