Gaming

Google Tests Free Video With Ads

Like numerous other large Internet, technology and media players, Google is getting more into video, now testing a free video offering supported by advertising that accompanies sports, animated, amateur and other videos.

Google said video normally selling from between 99 US cents and $15 is now available for free, thanks to banner ads across the top of the videos from supporting sponsors, which include Burger King, Netflix, and Hewlett-Packard.

The Internet search star brings its advertising and brand prowess to the developing video market, but is arriving late to a space that is being led and shaped by others, such as YouTube and Break.com.

“Google’s concern is someone else is out there that could be the next Google,” Basex CEO and Chief Anayst Jonathan Spira told TechNewsWorld, noting the immaturity of the online video business. “It may not be YouTube. All bets are off.”

TV Time

Google’s new free videos, made possible “thanks to our sponsors” Google states on its site, include mostly obscure, older television programming, such as “Charlie Rose Show” episodes, vintage film including Charlie Chaplin, “Mr. Magoo” and “Felix the Cat” cartoons, and sports footage such as wrestling and the USA Rugby Super League Final from 2005.

Google’s offering marks one of many online video experiments that range from totally free, to advertising-supported, to fee-based video, including Apple’s iTunes video content for iPods.

The services are also coming from a range of players, including television networks, mobile phone carriers and software providers.

“Everyone’s busy trying to find the right approach to video,” Spira said.

Video Offline

Although Google has found success beyond its popular Internet search software, which is also supported by advertising, the online video world is “fraught with peril,” according to Spira.

Issues of copyrights and control over what is posted, particularly with amateur video enthusiasts contributing and creating community, could be very difficult, Spira said.

“Once you open the flood gates, how do you go back?” he asked.

While Google may be able to comprehensively cover documents and data available on the Internet, the world of video is mostly offline, Spira added.

“Most of it is not on the Web,” he said.

Increasing Touchpoints

Google’s approach to offer the video free to users with advertising is not new, and the company may struggle to find success in online video, according to Gartner Research Director Michael King.

He told TechNewsWorld that despite some potential in discovery and indexing of video, Google does not have the “self-created content” that has driven the popularity of YouTube and Break.com.

Efforts such as Google’s strategy and experimentation with video will be increasing, with all of the players trying to reach into video, King said.

“Not necessarily a whole lot of new content, but extensions to the brand, increasing the number of touchpoints — that’s really what you’re trying to get to with all of this,” he said.

King added that the PC is unlikely to be the place for viewing video, and mobile video is much more likely to win mass appeal.

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