Google Video marches on

by Giles Turnbull

Apple and Google operate in very different ways. Apple like to announce things with a bang, preferably with Steve standing in front of a whooping crowd, music thumping, a stage full o' Macs behind him.

Google, on the other hand, might update its Labs page, or maybe post something on the corporate blog. It has a far more laid-back approach.

And ever since the announcement that it would start to sell video content online, Google has been gradually building on the features of Google Video.

In recent weeks, they've added the basic store on the front page:

Take your pick

And made it easy to grab the video files you want, even for use on your iPod:

Win, Mac and iPod. Oh, and PSP

What they're doing seems very evolutionary, iterative. Small changes, frequently made. Apple does not tend to work this way. Usually Apple will release something, and aside from minor tweaks via Software Update, the product will remain static until the next keynote opportunity to release it with all the fanfare Apple thinks it deserves.

So why am I making these quibbling comparisons on a Mac-oriented weblog?

Well, because I'm of the opinion that digital video is a wide-open market, and that Google's rapid progress on improving and updating the Google Video Store is something that Apple should be worried about. Google has an excellent opportunity to beat Apple at its own game, to do to Apple with video what Apple did to the music industry with the iTunes Music Store.

There's still much work to be done before any company can claim to dominate the digital video space. Watching which one will succeed is going to be an interesting pastime for the next year or so.

Right now, Google has wider reach to more computer users. But Apple need not worry about it gaining ground among Mac users just yet; not with little alerts like this appearing on the Video Store:

Oh. Ok then.

Which is weird, to say the least. When did Macs have trouble coping with online payments?


2006-01-19 05:09:05
Clunky UI
They could certainly polish up ther UI a bit... They have quite a way to go to match Apple on that one.
2006-01-19 13:08:46
Pogue covered this just yesterday...
David Pogue of the New York Times wrote up a pretty succinct and accurate article about the current state of affairs on Google Video, which I think sums things up rather well. As a rather notable Mac user, it also seems to offer the perspective I think more than a few people would share after getting accustomed to the iTMS format.

For those interested, you can find the article here:

2006-01-20 07:22:07
Clunky UI
Polish up the UI?

What UI? Do you mean the carefully crafted 'drop down' form menu? Not really a UI as such, more a form element!

The system sucks, and they've had to start issuing refunds to people who never got their emails with the download links after they were billed.

What's really odd is that the slug of this blog post used the text:

"[...snip] Can Apple move fast enough to keep up?"

Keep up? Keep up with what? HTmL form development! hahaha

Has O'Reilly stooped to sensationalist slugs to grab eyeballs?Shame on you.

2006-01-20 07:33:06
Clunky UI
The point I was trying to make was that Google has many, many more *potential* customers than Apple does, because Google is (in most respects) cross-platform and has many more users than Apple does.

I agree with you; the UI is nothing special. But the fact that many more people are likely to see this than are likely to set their eyes on any iTunes-based video store is something Apple needs to think hard about.

2006-02-11 03:07:57
Is there any way for a Mac user (OX 10.4.4) to get video from Google?