Clicking on a paid video, like Survivor, brings you to the usual video playback page. But as opposed to free video content, you will now only see a 30 seconds excerpt of the full video. Note that the 30 seconds are in higher-than-average quality, so the loading takes quite a bit. Also, you will now see a “Buy” button to the right side of the video, along with the price. The price for a single Survivor episode was $1.99... these are clearly instinct-buys in the spirit of iTunes (which also DRMs/ copy-protects its content, bringing with it a whole bunch or problems, but for some it’s hard to resist for prices like $0.99).
Next to buying the episode online, Google also offers a link to “Buy DVD from cbs.com”. They seem to cut the middle-man here, e.g. Amazon... even though I think it would be a good service to users to also display alternative links in that space (I would prefer buying from Amazon, because I have an existing Amazon account).
The full list of paid content as shown on the front-page is this:
Note the price for music videos is $1.99 as well, even though videos are of course much shorter than say a full TV series episode. There were only 9 (!) music videos for purchase when I checked. About 29 were available when searching for any kind of music video, paid or not. This is ridiculously little to choose from, and I suppose Google wants to build on that to add more. Choosing “Movies” from the category list returns 349 videos, which is a little better. The video store’s search syntax displayed after you click a category – in_label:type=movie – seems a little too cryptic/ developer-oriented for many users... I wonder how long it takes until Google realizes that and changes the interface to something a little more friendly.
Movie aficionados need not apply, unless you want to hunt for a few classics with pulp appeal...
Browsing through the movies, such as “Last Woman on Earth”, “Endless Summer”, an old black-and-white “Oliver Twist” or “The Mysterious Mr. Wong” you can see a great variety of video content, with different prices ($4.99, $7.99, $9.98, and higher). Real blockbusters of late seem to be missing from the list. In that way, Google’s offering resembles CinemaNow.com and others like it; there are some hidden gems, but certainly not much you’ve heard of (“Five Coolest Things: Road Racing”, “ Beavers/ IMAX”, or “America’s Most Hunted Inns” are certainly not movie classics). Unfortunately, when browsing through Google’s usual “1 2 3 ...” list, the same video will appear multiple times on different pages.
As for the actual buying process, I leave this to some of you to test... currently, only US residents can shop (even when you find a work-around to use Google Video outside the US, such as the Google Web Accelerator, you will only be able to buy in the US).
Also, InsideGoogle notes Google Video now also has a download option for videos. I currently can’t playback videos or see the download link, even with Google Web Accelerator on (I’m in Germany). While you are able to view the playback and download link when you translate individual Google Video pages using Google Translator, as Peyo notes in the forum, the GVP that would end up on my computer still wouldn’t play (it’s only a small text file).
[Thanks Brinke Guthrie, Jtdgrz.]
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