Google has announced that it will shut down its video purchase and rental service, only 19 months after it was launched, and by doing so anyone who bought videos from the site won't be able to play them any more after this Wednesday. Here’s an excerpt from the e-mail Google sent to users:
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 the ability to buy or rent videos for download from Google Video, ending the DTO/DTR (download-to-own/rent) program. This change will be effective August 15, 2007.
So what do customers get in return? The company said it would issue Google Checkout credit in an amount equal to what customers had spent at the Google Video store. However, to take advantage of the credit, users will need to spend an equal or greater amount with a merchant that supports Google Checkout, leaving many disgruntled customers hanging in the air.
The video purchase service, which offered programs such as Survivor, CSI and Star Trek for about $1.99, never really took off. Furthermore, the success of YouTube has made Google Video increasingly irrelevant and may have prompted the company to focus on an ad-supported strategy instead. Also worth noting, as Ars Technica points out, since the reason purchased videos will no longer work is because Google’s Internet-based DRM system will no longer function, the shutdown actually provides a strong argument on just how completely anti-consumer DRM technology can be.