Search giant Google has announced that it is to begin a trial of a new service that will provide movie downloads and other video clips for free. The content on offer includes videos that normally cost around $10, but will be free thanks to advertisers including Burger King and Hewlett Packard getting involved. Initially on offer for trial in the US, the service will be available in the UK, and will initially include old movies, cartoons and television shows. Movies such as Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps or classic Charlie Chaplin sketches will be part of the offering. Felix the Cat also makes an appearance.

A Google spokesman said: "We are always looking for ways to show targeted and engaging advertising to users and we think that Google Video is a natural extension of this ongoing effort."
Currently, it is still a matter of debate whether internet users are willing to pay for download-to-own videos or one-time streaming. Could an advertisement-funded model work out? Many parties are very interested in offering such a service, not just Google, including Disney-owned ABC, maker of Desperate Housewives and Lost, who experimented with free online streaming of some shows.