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Google today emailed customers who had purchased videos from Google Video to let them know that the company will be discontinuing paid rentals and downloads five days from now. Not only will videos no longer be available for rental or download, but previously purchased videos will no longer be playable. By way of apology, Google is offering $2 coupons for Google Checkout (or at least that’s the amount on the notice we saw; see below; update: refunded amount seems to be however much the customer spent on Google Video).
Google Video went through many revisions before taking the state it has today — a video search engine — at one point offering TV screen caps, at another trying to match YouTube feature for feature, and now fading away as a destination now that YouTube is owned by Google. Interestingly, the ability to make purchases through Google Video actually preceded the company’s launch of its payment service, Google Checkout. [digg=http://digg.com/tech_news/Google_Shutting_Down_Paid_Video]
I’ve been tracking the Google Video RSS feed of items for sale since about the time we started NewTeeVee, and literally the only thing that comes across is episodes of the Charlie Rose Show. I don’t think the payment option was a very heavily used (or promoted) service.
On the other hand, it’s not like iTunes is stepping up to help independent video producers sell their wares, so it’s somewhat disappointing to see this go away.
Below is the reprint of an email sent out to Google Video purchasers today (thanks Jakob).
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.
To fully account for the video purchases you made before July 18, 2007, we
are providing you with a Google Checkout bonus for $2.00. Your bonus
expires in 60 days, and you can use it at the stores listed here:
http://www.google.com/checkout/signupwelcome.html. The minimum purchase
amount must be equal to or greater than your bonus amount, before shipping
After August 15, 2007, you will no longer be able to view your purchased
or rented videos.
If you have further questions or requests, please do not hesitate to
contact us. Thank you for your continued support.
The Google Video Team
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043