Google’s two-week young online video store, which offers reruns of TV shows from CBS, PBS and the NBA among others, has already been getting complaints and poor reviews. Some of the reasons cited by bloggers like Brad Hill, who runs the Unofficial Google Weblog, are that the video offerings are “embarrassing.”
Aside from the sparse collection of titles—the site is lacking such names as My Three Sons, Mannix and Rocky and Bullwinkle—users are complaining that the strict usage rules prevent prime-time shows from being viewed offline and that many of the shows that were promised initially aren’t available.
What may explain the lack of digital video offerings is CBS’s arrangement with Google for its prime-time shows; they will only allow one episode to be sold at a time. CBS spokesman Dana McClintock explains to USA Today, “This is the arrangement we wanted. We’re trying lots of different scenarios, [and] testing the new media waters.”
The site is also still in beta, giving the search company a bit of breathing room. However, with Apple’s graphic-rich and user-friendly TV offerings in its popular iTunes store, Google’s video store -with its thumbnails and lack of TV show details – isn’t looking as hot.
Yesterday, USA Today noted the site’s skimpy offerings including: 16 episodes of The Brady Bunch, four of The Ed Sullivan Show, five of MacGyver, Star Trek: Voyager and The Twilight Zone, seven of Have Gun Will Travel, 10 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and 16 episodes of I Love Lucy.
Some bloggers are hopeful Google’s video offerings will pick up soon. John Battelle, who runs the Searchblog website, says, “People expected for Google to change the world of video overnight, and it didn’t. Google Video is perfectly serviceable, but just one percent of what it’s going to be.”