Google Opens Video Store, Online Payments

It’s possible Google surprised absolutely no one: at his keynote today at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, Google co-founder Larry Page took the wraps off the Google Video Store, officially putting the Internet giant in the content distribution business.

Expected to be available “shortly,” the Google Video Store will enable users to buy or rent video content provided by independent producers and film makers, along with programming from CBS and the National Basketball Association, plus music videos from Sony BMG, and other programming. The Google Video Store is an expansion of the Google Video service, for which the company has been accepting uploads since April 2005. Unlike services like Apple’s iTunes Music Store, which only offers video from selected content partners, independent content producers can upload video to Google Video and, if they like, enable users to download it for a fee. Google will make the video searchable, provide the hosting, and collect a 30 percent cut of the sale price.

Google Video uses the Google Video Player, which will incorporate Google-developed digital rights management technology. Currently the Video Player is only compatible with Microsoft Windows, although Google says versions for Mac OS X and Linux are coming. Users will pay for video using the new Google Payments System, which ties to individual Google accounts and uses the same technology Google originally developed for Google Answers and its astonishingly successful AdSense advertising program.

“Google Video will let you watch lots of high quality video on the web for the first time. You can search and browse, and we make it fast and easy for you to watch,” Larry Page. “For video producers and anyone with a video camera, Google Video will give you a platform to publish to the entire Google audience in a fast, free and seamless way.”

Initial content offerings on the Google Video Store will include: