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Google Launches Pay-Per-View Web Video 217

Posted by Hemos
from the yes-it-is-true dept.
Elliot Shepherd writes "According to John Batelle, on Monday Google is launching in-browser video playback based on VLC. Google has been accepting video uploads in April, including allowing the video owner to specify that payment is required, through the Google Payment Program." Update: 06/27 22:21 GMT by T : An anonymous reader writes "Google Video is now up. The about page describes what kinds of content has been uploaded to their servers so far -- mostly a random assortment of stuff from Gamespot's archives, a few things from Greenpeace, a Google recruiting video, some breakdancing videos, and other randomness. The in-browser video plugin works seamlessly (although Windows only for now). Looks like it has potential." Check the top entry on Google Blog for a few more words on it, too.
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Google Launches Pay-Per-View Web Video

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  • Mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by Broke Mirror (862603) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:01AM (#12919155)
  • Scary... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:04AM (#12919165)
    Google is providing their infrastructure free of charge to let anyone upload video and have it be found.

    So no matter what you search for, you're likely to come across a movie of someone etching "penis" in the snow
  • by dannyitc (892023) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:06AM (#12919169)
    With VLC's ability to play pretty much any codec under the sun (including microsoft and realmedia's proprietary formats), maybe we'll begin to see more out-of-box compatibility with competing video players. I bet a lot of end-users are tired of codec searching any time they want to watch a certain video.
    • by D-Cypell (446534)
      maybe we'll begin to see more out-of-box compatibility with competing video players

      or maybe we will see video player vendors creating new codecs, modifying existing ones and threatening patent enforcement to try to stay ahead of the game...

      Show of hands?
      • I thought VLC was under threat from software patents. Not just because of the codecs it handles, but because it can play DVDs. Doesn't that mean it has something to do with the whole DeCSS mess?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        The point is that it's not the codec makers that decide what formats are used in the end.

        The content distributors will use what people have access to. So far that's been Real, WM, and Quicktime. And if they had to choose one, they cut out a large batch of users that didn't have the right player.

        Now, when everyone finally has easy access to a universal player like VLC thanks to Google (no, it wasn't exactly popular before), why would the content distributors try to use some obscure new codec and LOSE viewe
    • by interiot (50685) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:27AM (#12919267) Homepage
      Kind of reminds me of the time when your main source of porn was BBS's, and every once in a while, a really intriguing filename would be sufficient motivation to go off and find a viewer for that image format.

      And then along came webbrowsers, and suddenly every image produced was either JPEG or GIF. And it was good.

    • That's actually not true.

      VLC only includes open source code, including codecs. There are no open source RealMedia codecs or WMV 9 or 10 codecs, hence they are not supported in VLC.
    • by Saeger (456549) <> on Monday June 27, 2005 @09:13AM (#12919527) Homepage
      Actually, VLC doesn't play proprietary codecs unless you install them separately -- the same deal with linux's MPlayer.

      The legal way to get those codecs is to download and install each official player+codec combo, and then use your choice of player to use the codec; even then their EULA may say you can't use the codec separate from THEIR player.

      Howerver the best way to get the codecs -- but not technically legal way, because of software patent BS -- is to google for and download what's called a "codec pack". The best one for Windoze is called the "K-Lite Mega Codec Pack" [], which comes with Media Player Classic, BSPlayer, as well as almost every video/audio codec under the sun. For Linux, the best (and only?) codec pack available is the MPlayer essential codec pack [], which is actually just an archive of windows .dll codecs, which MPlayer, VLC, and other players will fall back on if there is no open source alternative codec to use.

  • Content control? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mister Impressive (875697) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:07AM (#12919176)
    What kind of content control does Google have in place for this service? (I haven't looked into it)

    Is every file looked through to make sure it's not copyrighted? Or if the file depicts illegal activity, etc?

    On the same note, would Google take files out if someone paid them to (eg. insulting clips, though not illegal, may tarnish a reputable name or something)
    • "Is every file looked through to make sure it's not copyrighted? "

      All content is copyrighted by default. Doesn't your comment just reflect the tyrany that copyright has become? Aren't you suggesting Google becomes judge jury and pre-censors all to avoid the risk of a copyright infringement?

      Or did I misunderstand your comment?
      • You've probably misunderstood my comment, partially my fault with ambiguous wording.

        I meant will Google check through all the files to make sure things like hollywood films, tv shows, etc...
        • You mean will Google check through the files to find out if any are copyrighted by an entity that could sue the crap out of Google, but ignore the rest?

          It'd be nice if whatever stand Google takes is consistent and treats ALL material the same, REGARDLESS of how deep the copyright holder's pockets are.

          It's unfortunate that that's essentially what copyright boils down to now. I'd love to see that change.
          • Re:So precensorship? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by cecille (583022)
            I doubt the parent was trying to say that google should pander to big business and walk all over smaller copyright holders...

            Yeah, you hold a copyright for your material by far as I understand it (and IANAL), when you upload that material to a service and offer it for download for free, you are extending authorization for people to use it. If it's not a default extension of authorization, I'm almost certain that google would have looked into this and required the use of some type of ag
            • I think that if they are offering to allow people to pay for downloads of their uploaded content, that they may have to perform these checks not only for major content, but all content. It's the charging part that I think makes this more complicated.

              Someone uploads a video that they hold the copyright to. Someone pays to download it, then immediately re-uploads it and either a) attempts to charge for it themselves or more likely b) provides it for free.

              Doesn't matter anymore who the copyright holder is, b
      • well, since the google cache already violates copyright on a massive scale I don't think they're too worried about that one.
    • Re:Content control? (Score:3, Informative)

      by ckuhtz (87644)
      Read the FAQ. [] PS: Why did the preceeding post get modded Interesting? It's a troll at best the more I think about it. :(
  • Very interesting move. Thanks Google again :-)

    TFA says nothing about patents problems that VLC and other media players are facing (see []). But with Google in the bandwagon, I guess this problem can be solved with a win on the open source front :-)

    • "But with Google in the bandwagon, I guess this problem can be solved with a win on the open source front :-)"

      Or realistically google will just create a special version of VLC in which they license the proprietary codecs and OSS and VLC gain nothing. That or they will transcode everything into an OSS and patent friendly format that VLC can play without running into any patent issues.

      Either way there are no guarantees that this will help OSS in any way or help VLC with its patent issues. Sorry to be negati
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:08AM (#12919181)
    Something about Mission Impossible.

    After viewing the video: "This message will self destruct in 5 seconds".
  • Misleading Title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by irokie (697424) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:11AM (#12919189) Homepage
    The title of this story is completely misleading. Google aren't releasing a pay-per-view thing. In fact, TFA said that those videos which were tagged free were the ones that would be available at first...

    "Plenty of folks uploaded video to Google with a payment option, and that has yet to roll out"
  • by dissillus (806067) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:12AM (#12919198) Homepage
    ...PPV pr0n on Google?

    Sign me up.
  • by mister_llah (891540) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:12AM (#12919199) Homepage Journal
    This would depend fully on the content, I think... who would pay to see TV shows and such when they could use a TV?

    Movie "rentals" aren't out of the question, to be sure... ... but if the service is akin to, say, a subscription to or something... I am not sure how well it would do (heck, any pay-for-video service on the web, I just am not sure on how it would do) ...


    Admitedly, I've tried one (albeit for free, as the network was in beta) ... []

    Essentially its needs its own web browser, so I guess technically Google's got a leg up (and their video format is different, Ruckus uses WMV) ... but in the end, would I pay for them?

    Probably not.

    Someone might, I suppose, but how many need to before it becomes profitable?
    • I ask what they intend to use because as a 'pay to use' service' (when it goes) ... they are vague as to what has been uploaded for video hosting and any future plans...

      I doubt people are going to pay to see the Leeeeroy Jenkins video, let's say...

      So they have to have some sort of plan...


      [and conversely, I doubt people will pay Google for them to host the Leeeroy Jenkins video, but then again, people do crazier things every day]
    • by Ensign Zatrole (895082) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:19AM (#12919229)
      This would depend fully on the content, I think... who would pay to see TV shows and such when they could use a TV?
      I would. There are a lot of TV shows that'll never make it to the country where I live, and if they do, it'll take me several years. Now, I do download this stuff off bittorrent already, but I might be persuaded to pay a reasonable fee to download it legally, if the people producing the TV shows would allow it. Also, I don't have a TV, because the socialist country I live in requires me to pay a license fee to even own a television, even if I never watch the crappy government-owned free-to-air channels.
    • by grahamm (8844) <> on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:27AM (#12919271) Homepage
      who would pay to see TV shows and such when they could use a TV?
      1) People who cannot receive the station which airs the show and where the show will either never been shown by stations they can receive or there will be a long delay before the show is shown. This applies especially to shows from stations in countries other than that where the would be viewer lives. 2) When you miss the show and there is not an imminent repeat.
    • This would depend fully on the content, I think... who would pay to see TV shows and such when they could use a TV?

      I would. I don't own a TV, nor do I feel like paying for cable or satellite to watch the few shows I'm interested in. An iTMS-like service offering TV shows would go over quite well. I'm actually surprised Apple hasn't released one already. I'd be even more suprised if they aren't working on one now (IMHO it'd be the legal crap holding them back as the technology is already there).

  • Pr0n (Score:3, Funny)

    by king-manic (409855) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:12AM (#12919201)
    Ahh google, tapping deeper into what really runs the internet.
    • Actually if you read the faq you will see that they will not carry "Adult" content.
      No Porn for YOU!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:14AM (#12919209) I'll have to try out the upgrade :)
  • by aendeuryu (844048) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:17AM (#12919219)
    I think I've started figuring google out.

    Microsoft and Linux and MacOSX might actually be on the way out, or at least on the way to obscurity. All of these offer interfaces to the computer, and that's useful in its own way, but I think one thing that Google has figured out is that mastery of the computer is a means to an end, not an end unto itself. It's throwing an abstracted layer over the top of it all and owning that layer, and making it useful enough that people eventually aren't going to care what OS they're running, so long as it'll give us what google has to offer.

    Google maps. Translation services. Multimedia access. Shopping/Pricing comparison. News. Wikipedia (well, not exclusively, but you get my point). Limitless-space email. They're coming closer to giving us what we expect computers to give their users in Sci-Fi movies.

    Google's on the verge of becoming THE content broker. What's odd is that from this point of view, Yahoo is more of a player than Microsoft at this point. But they've got to be worrying. Most of what google's done has been collecting and mining, but with Google maps developing the way it is, it's obvious that they're doing more than just throwing a bunch of computer clusters at a problem.

    Anyways, if this is what they're about, the consistency behind all their new forays, then maybe Microsoft's already lost the battle to Google, but they're stuck on what no longer matters as much, which is people's relationship to the computer. Google, by focusing on people's relationship to the content, is miles ahead now.

    Yeah, yeah, -1 full of shit or totally obvious, but I really think this is the way it's going.
    • Anyways, if this is what they're about, the consistency behind all their new forays, then maybe Microsoft's already lost the battle to Google, but they're stuck on what no longer matters as much, which is people's relationship to the computer.

      Yes, Google is gaining a lot of momentum, and simply because of their good reputation, simple marketing tactics from a certain large company [] doesn't seem to work alone to beat them; the redesigned MSN Search seem to have hardly even put a dent in the natural associat
      • World coverage in high resolution?

        Well currently Microsoft already offers mapping for Europe and Brazil, which Google doesn't. It also offers more detailed satellite imagery for these parts of the world. Google really only beats it currently in its AJAX implementation.
    • As soon as I can have:
      • A Full-fledged Word Processor/Spreadsheet
      • Full-fledged Image manipulators (vector, raster, 3D)
      • An IM client
      • Lots of games
      • IDE for any [or all] languages
      • Various other niche-market software

      I'll still care about what OS I have, and my OS will not be obsolete or fade into obscurity.

      Oh, and don't forget about those people out there that would rather not rely on one source for all of their content/tools (even if for now the source is not evil).

    • Google is nowhere near being THE content broker. For instance, Factiva has more than 9,000 newspaper, major trade publications and market research providers. I can think of many other aggregators such as Lexis-Nexis, Thompson that have been operating in the space for decades - and Google can't touch them for usefulness.

      This is not to say Google may not be developing a whole new content set - which will make them a more useful content provider. However, if you are in a position to have to answer any questi

      • Sounds to me that Factiva would make a great subsidiary of either Yahoo or Google, along with all of the other companies you've mentioned.

        Google's large enough now to start doing what Yahoo did back when it first went public; mass acquisition. There are hundreds of smaller companies that have a lot to offer Google now, and I'm sure Google's got their eyes open.
        • To put this in perspective, Dow Jones had more than $1.6 billion in sales. Reuters had $5.5 billion. LexisNexis had $2.4 billion.

          Google had $3.1 billion. Most of the companies that dominate the content space are the same size or bigger than Google and any acquisition on that scale would probably pave the way for another AOL/Time Warner like debacle.

    • Hate to harp on this:

      Can google be your highly optimized data warehousing solution? Can it provide customized applications for the countless stores and factories and businesses of the world? Can it offer a flexible data interchange solution? I didn't think so. Whereas they may very well have the recreational user market cornered, almost all of those recreational users pay for their internet connection. They pay using money they make at their jobs. They make money at their jobs most likely using a com
      • Whenever you come up with a theory about america in general, you have to put $ first. And nobody does that better than M$.

        I hate to point out the obvious here, but if M$ but $ first as you suggested, then you would in fact be named $M.

    • []

      A foreshadowing of what may lie ahead..

      Remember, you're only as dense as the content you consume.
  • Few details (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:18AM (#12919221)
    Google approached my company about uploading our content. We ultimately decided against it since they couldn't tell us what the terms were going to be. For example:

    Me: How are you going to protect copyrighted material from being copied?
    Google: We're working on that.

    Me: You say video can be free or fee based. How does that work?
    Google: We'd prefer free content, but you can also charge a fee. We will have a payment mechanism in place.

    Me: In a fee-based scenario, what "cut" does Google want?
    Google: We haven't decided.

    Me: What if I upload free content and a LOT of people like/view it? How does Google make money?
    Google: We reserve the right to charge the uploader if the content becomes "very popular."

    Me: Define "very popular".
    Google: We don't know yet.

    Me: Why should I upload content if you can't answer these basic questions?
    Google: You just should.

    So unless they're just planning to get lots of home videos, I didn't see any real incentive for a content provider to participate. It costs real money to produce content so companies aren't going to just give it away.

    • Re:Few details (Score:3, Informative)

      by slashkitty (21637)
      from their FAQ: You can also set the price to zero and allow users to access and play your video for free. This will potentially give you wider distribution than those who choose to charge a price. If our costs to play your video on Google are extraordinary, we may charge users a fee (if you've specified zero as the price for your video) or take a larger revenue share of the price (if you've set a price greater than zero for your video) to cover some of these costs. For example, if you upload a high definit
  • by MarsDude (74832) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:21AM (#12919239) Homepage
    It has been days since they launched a new service ;-) I was starting to get worried.

  • Paying for it... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by corneliusagain (810256) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:26AM (#12919262)
    This does seem to back up the picture of the google Wallet / G-Money initiative as a way of allowing google to provide services funded not by advertising but by something close to micro-payment [].

    Call it an iTunes for everything that's not music, an Amazon for self-published eBooks, or an eBay for digital content, whatever you call it, there might well be space there for a big player...?

  • by putko (753330) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:37AM (#12919310) Homepage Journal
    TFA mentions some really neat stuff: Google is giving away the code. That means that folks will be able to take open source browsers, and extend them to use the video streaming code. You could set up your own streaming service too.

    When I first heard about the Google's video hosting service, I thought, "SO WHAT."

    But if others set up compatible porn video streamers, and others make firefox work with the video service well, then suddenly the combination of the video streaming and the video features (built in to browser) suddenly make them "gotta have" features --- esp. if porn video sites pop up.

    Suddenly IE and WMV start looking totally behind the times. MicroSoft won't be able to integrate those features cheaply if they are done under a GPL: they are totally hosed, and have to play an expensive catchup game. Fine -- they do "embrace and extend", but it will cost them a lot of time and money.

    In the meanwhile, pornlovers will have switched over, and M$ will be looking pretty useless.

    If the people at Google are doing this on purpose, you have to give them credit for doing to Billy what he's done to so, so many others!
    • I hope this doesn't burst your bubble, but I've been using mplayer and vlc with my browser for *years* now on my home Linux box.

      VLC is a well-established project.
  • Buy my video!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Diakoneo (853127) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:39AM (#12919318)
    This reminds me of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. He had a sub-plot centered around these techno-nerds that wired themselves up with a suit of computers and cameras.
    They would run around everywhere there might be something remotely interesting going on and capture it. Then they'd copyright it and offer it for sale. If someone wanted it, they paid a royalty and could download it. It was all centered around some big company with lots of storage that made money off of hosting the video and getting it copyrighted. Kind of a higher-tech paparazzi, I guess.
  • From TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rbarreira (836272) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:52AM (#12919390) Homepage
    The company also intends to make its VLC code available to the open source community as part of their Google code project.

    Of course they do, VLC is a GPL license project...
  • [] Checkbox makes you certify that it is your material or that you have the right to upload it. It also makes you certify that you're not uploading pr0n.
  • I was looking at VLC and I heard you could "carry" your codecs around. I was looking for software at one point to put onto a USB drive that would allow me to play my media anywhere I wanted. Is there any good VLC specific codec packs?

    I am happy to see google going to this pay per view system on the web, they look like they might actually pull it off and we can start seeing the real value of some video going on the internet.

  • Why back in my day peoples annoying stories about their cats were in ASCII and they were 1KB...

    Then came the web, and peoples stories about their cat got pictures, and it was 100KB, and still noone cared.

    Then came the podcast about the cat, at 10MB, still annoying, but for broadband.

    Now comes the video about the cat, 100MB, but now even the cat is pissed off.

    How is this progress???
  • hmmm...wonder if the grokster ruling will have any effect on their plans to release this. I know they're not really promoting illegal activity, but what bad timing....
  • I have used their uploader and have a video for download right now.

    1. Select a video and upload it to their servers. Add associated text, type of video (documentary, comedy etc), and authors.

    2. They review the video for obviously infringing content and pornography. They except neither.

    3. Your video is listed at using any text you supply during the upload process.

    4. Free videos appear in the listings with the universal play symbol next to the title.

    This process is not very quick since r
  • From their welcome note:

    gamespot, Greenpeace, AdWords,
    badminton, PS3, cattlemen, Hortus, sarong, breakdancing, capoeira

    Source: o ogle-Video/browse_thread/thread/1c3c182f2cc7215d/5 4db938f56c6904e#54db938f56c6904e []
  • you cannot download the (free) videos for playback later. i'll stick with yahoo video []...

    which works better for you? eg Yahoo concorde [] vs Google concorde []

    on top of which, google is returning 90% Fox tv news results. how is that not evil??!

  • by Fr05t (69968)
    From the article: "Update: I neglected to mention that all the video in the "free" category has been "human scanned" for adult content and copyright violations, I'm told by a good source."

    I was hoping there would be a "Safe Search" option like

"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." -- G. B. Stearn