Tuesday, September 19

Google likely to partner with Apple on video?

Google's Eric Schmidt is an Apple board member, Apple is one of the few tech companies Google doesn't directly compete with for customers, and Google searches and indexes a whole lot of video content on the web.

According to ZDNet, that's enough to lend credence to speculation that Google-indexed streaming video content might be featured on Apple's pre-announced iTV product.

I don't think that's very likely to happen. Partly because Google and Apple are polar opposites when it comes to the importance of design. Say what you like about Google engineers, but they don't design attractive products. As an example, consider how Apple's logo has evolved from the same cheezy rainbow colour scheme as Google's into a thing of rarefied beauty, while Google's has remained a cheezy rainbow of clumsy typesetting. Consider how if Google updated their logo, it would cause outrage amongst Google's most loyal users. Consider the iTV interface showcased by Steve Jobs, versus the horrid default font nightmare which is Google Video. Enough said.

Consider your evening spent in front of the large plasma or LCD in your living room. You've laid out quite a bit of money for a surround sound system, comfy chair, big-screen TV. Now choose between a downloaded TV show from iTunes in high-resolution format, professionally produced, highly-rated by expert critics, running for about 30 minutes, or a series of 60 second home video clips indexed by Google Video, in glorious 480x320 (each pixel a foot high on your big TV screen), with low-fidelity sound, produced by amateurs, selected for you by the high school students of the world. As if you want to spend that much time with your finger on the remote control!

If that weren't enough of a hurdle for Eric and Steve to get together on this, imagine Jobs explaining to the TV and movie studios that if they agree to licence their content to iTunes, their biggest competitor will be the vast, free video indexes of Google Video.

Are TV studio execs likely to want the competition? Will they be comfortable seeing their precious content brands cheek-by-jowl with home-produced spoofs of their own expensive productions? Will they be able to keep it all in perspective?

If they can, it will be for the first time!

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