We have been playing with the Google Video offering, and first impressions are that it is a disaster. Today, for example, it lists CSI episodes on as being available from CBS, but when you click on CSI, there aren't any. Also the video quality is rather poor -- significantly poorer than watching real TV. Compare this with Apple's video offerings that actually look decent on a 42-inch plasma display, even though they are only 320 by 240 pixels.
Don't get us started on the digital rights management lurking under the covers that requires you be online to view the videos (how is that going to work with video iPods? It won't). And finally, since we don't use Windows here, we can't download and buy any of the paid content anyway (we can see their general availability fare).
The bottom line: we're disappointed. Compared with the mind-blowing quality of the Google Earth beta we've been running (we love it, especially the ability to watch the 3D paths of airplanes in flight), it feels like a half-hearted attempt. If we were CBS or the NBA offering videos via Google, we'd be rather upset, because Google isn't going to deliver a great experience to purchasers, and that's going to hurt their sales figures. If I were them, I'd start programming Steve Jobs' phone number into their cell phones today; they're going to need it.
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