August 11, 2007 |
Google Video was supposed to be Google's answer to the popular Apple iTunes video marketplace where users can download movies and television shows. Apple has had far more success though, while Google's lackluster offerings have kept a quiet status.
Yesterday, Google announced that it would be shutting down its Google Video marketplace and that any downloaded videos will no longer be accessible after August 15. This will include both rented and purchased videos.
Yes, that means that if you paid to “own” videos offered by Google, you will no longer be able to watch them. Oh, and don't expect a refund, because Google has come up with another plan to reimburse customers to keep them happy? Users will be getting a 60 day credit on their Google Checkout accounts instead.
How can Google expect to keep its customers when it only wants to provide a small $2 – $5 credit to each person, when the majority of them probably spent much more than that?
Google contacted users of the service via email (copied below) to let them know that they will no longer be able to watch any of their videos.
As a valued Google user, we?re contacting you with some important information about the videos you?ve purchased or rented from Google Video. In an effort to improve all Google services, we will no longer offer theability to buy or rent vi deos for download from Google Video, ending the DTO/DTR (download-to-own/rent) program. This change will be effective August 15, 2007.
To fully account for the video purchases you made before July 18, 2007, we are providing you with a Google Checkout bonus for $5.00. Your bonus expires in 60 days, and you can use it at the stores listed here: http://www.google.com/checkout/signupwelcome.html. The minimum purchase amount must be equal to or greater than your bonus amount, before shipping and tax.
After August 15, 2007, you will no longer be able to view your purchased or rented videos.
If you have further questions or requests, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you for your continued support.
The Google Video Team
Google is a multi-billion dollar company that should have handled this announcement in a better way. How?
For one, it should have given users more than a 5 day notice. A 2 week notice is standard for employees who are leaving their employer and Google should have handled this issue in the same way… like business.
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.
This news will keep me wary of future Google services, even YouTube, if Google tries another route with video on the web. As a consumer, I do not continue to funnel money into a service or company that has failed or disappointed me, and I am sure that several of Google?s video purchasers will feel the same way. a mistake not to fully refund every dollar in video purchases. As TechCrunch put it, “Users are going to be hesitant to try out Google services in the future if they can?t believe that something they are buying is really theirs to keep.”